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Article

Eduardo Serrano

(b Cartagena, Oct 27, 1945).

Colombian painter, sculptor and conceptual artist. He studied at the Escuela de Bellas Artes of the University of Atlántico in Barranquilla, Colombia, from 1958 to 1960, and in Italy from 1966 to 1967 at the University of Perugia. In 1966, under the influence of Pop art, he made the first of a series of collages combining cut-outs of well-known individuals and comic strips with drawn elements. Two years later he added frosty effects and velvet flowers to his interpretations in black and red ink of figures with distorted bodies and the faces of film stars. In 1969 he began to present these in increasingly three-dimensional boxes or glass cases, accompanied by clouds of cotton wool, plastic figures and other additions that combined to make up fantastic or nostalgic scenes, dream-like and surrealist in appearance and tone.

Barrios was among those who introduced conceptual art to Colombia, for example by publishing in newspapers a series of ...

Article

Manuel Cirauqui

(b Mexico City, 1981).

Mexican conceptual artist. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Bonillas started his career before, and instead of, undertaking an official fine arts education. Widely and internationally exhibited before he reached age 20, his work began with highly analytical studies of ordinary photographic procedures such as printing (in his foundational piece, Trabajos fotográficos, 1998) or pressing the shutter (Diez cámaras documentadas acústicamente, 1998).

Bonillas’s work investigates the materiality and semiotic depth of the photographic medium in a somewhat topographic manner: starting, and never ending, in a periphery that stands ambiguously as both the material margins of photography as well as its self-reflective dimension. However, the “peripheral” nature of Bonillas’s inquiry quickly reveals itself as a strategy to address core aspects of a medium whose substance lies, precisely, on its surface. As the artist exerts infinite variations on generic aspects of the photographic practice, alternately related to structure and meaning (primary colors, family photographs, erasures, captioning, fiction, archival habits, etc.), he delivers a paradox with each of his works. In them, background becomes foreground, face becomes pigment, anecdote becomes the main theme, stain becomes signature, and vice versa....

Article

Julia Detchon

(b Lübeck, 1937).

Uruguayan conceptual artist, critic, educator, and curator of German birth, active in the USA. Of Jewish ancestry, he fled with his family to Uruguay in 1939. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1953–1957 and 1959–1962, working with students to reform the school’s curriculum. In 1961, a Guggenheim fellowship took him to New York to study printmaking. Though he retained his Uruguayan citizenship, he settled permanently in New York, where he taught at the Pratt Graphics Art Center; co-founded the New York Graphic Workshop in 1964 with Liliana Porter (b 1941) and José Guillermo Castillo (1938–1999); and in 1971 helped establish New York’s Museo Latinoamericano and its subsequent splinter group, the Movimiento de Independencia Cultural de Latino América. From the 1970s, political repression in Latin America inspired a series of conceptual installations that addressed such issues as language, identity, freedom, political violence, and the role of art. For Camnitzer, the task of the artist was to identify and express the problems that surrounded him, transforming art into a political instrument. His questioning of traditional values applied not only to the themes of his work, but to its material form; employing objects of little intrinsic value, he rejected traditional notions of art as beautiful and of commercial worth....

Article

Amy Rosenblum Martín

(b Miami, FL, May 12, 1968).

Cuban American conceptual artist. Known for her immersive installations and grand public art projects that represent natural phenomena, Fernández explored the potential of artifice to create authentic perceptual and psychological effects, and to reveal the degree to which reality is constructed. From 1997 she resided in Brooklyn, New York, and visited Japan for work almost yearly. She earned her BFA at Florida International University, Miami (1990) and her MFA at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond (1992). She received a MacArthur Foundation“Genius Grant” (2005) and was the first Latina to serve on the US Commission of Fine Arts (2011–2014).

In her installations and public sculptures Fernández made sublime, abstracted waterfalls, wisteria, fire, stars, pools, ocean, beach, sand dunes, sunset, aurora borealis, bamboo, gardens, snow, clouds, fog, and dew. Her clearly artificial “nature” uncannily feels more real than reality. The experience of viewing her work shifts from seeing paint fade up a wall to being overtaken by the feeling of standing on a misty ...

Article

Horacio Safons

(b Buenos Aires, Jan 14, 1915; d Barcelona, Oct 14, 1965).

Argentine painter, sculptor, performance artist, conceptual artist, poet and illustrator. After studying in Buenos Aires at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes and with Cecilia Marcovich and Tomás Maldonado, he quickly established a reputation for his scandalous views, attracting extreme disapproval and equally strong support. After delivering a lecture at the Juan Cristóbal bookshop, Buenos Aires, entitled ‘Alberto Greco y los pájaros’ he was briefly imprisoned for his ‘Communism and subversive acts’. On his release in the same year he travelled to Paris on a French government grant, selling drawings and watercolours in the cafés and studying painting with Fernand Léger and printmaking with Johnny Friedlaender. Between 1956 and 1958 he lived in São Paulo, where he became aware of Art informel; he painted in this style in the late 1950s and early 1960s (Glusberg, pp. 284–5).

As early as 1959, when he had returned from São Paulo to Buenos Aires, Greco had expressed his corrosive vision of society through the form of his work. In his shows he exhibited tree trunks and rags for cleaning window gratings or floors. He moved again to Paris in ...

Article

Amy Rosenblum Martín

(b Havana, Jun 21, 1966).

Cuban conceptual artist, active in the Dominican Republic. Henríquez explored aesthetic politics by combining art and popular culture with design savvy and wit to counter neocolonialist, racist, and gender hierarchies. She studied under 1980s Cuban Renaissance artists and received her MFA from Instituto Superior de Arte, Havana (1992). She went on to collaborate with Consuelo Castañeda (1989–1996). Henríquez lived in Mexico and Miami (1991–1997), then returned to her intermittent home Santo Domingo. ARTnews (September 2007) named Henríquez one of twenty-five art world trendsetters.

Henríquez challenged center/periphery power dynamics, crossing northern art history with Dominican street styles or examining First and Third World intellectual exchange. Her conceptualism asked questions like whose aesthetic criteria counts, where. She also thought beyond center/periphery dualities to deconstruct power relations. She challenged gender and nationalist stereotyping together with her feminized collages of hyper-masculine newspaper images of Dominican baseball stars abroad. She compared foreign and local representations of “Dominicaness.” To address insider Dominican–Haitian tension, she videotaped two Haitian construction workers in the Dominican Republic playing catch with a cement block whose game devolves into exhaustion. In another series, she reoriented the geographical poles of marginalization from North–South to East–West by comparing California and New York art. Yet another artwork was a model of multiple, movable centers: viewers wheel around on stools emblazoned with a photograph of an umbilicus....

Article

Adrian Locke

(b São Paulo, 1961).

Brazilian printmaker and conceptual artist. She was introduced to contemporary art and artists from an early age by her collector parents, Fulvia and Adolfo Leirner. She went on to study art at the College of Fine Arts, Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado, São Paulo, between 1979 and 1984, and at the Licenciatura in 1984; she returned to teach at the Fundação from 1987 to 1989. From the 1980s Leirner made sculptures and installations using such products of modern life as devalued bank notes, airline tickets, cigarette packages and shopping bags. This involved a process by which these mundane items are removed from circulation and placed into the art world, often in a conscious inversion of the work of the Brazilian conceptualist Cildo Meireles. To this end Leirner remade Meireles’s Zero Cruzeiro (1978) and the work of another Brazilian artist, Dinheiro para treinmento (‘Money for training’; 1977) by Waltercio Caldas (...

Article

Sérgio B. Martins

(b São Paulo, 1960).

Brazilian multimedia artist and photographer. Mano graduated in 1984 from the Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo de Santos, São Paulo. In the late 1980s he was part of a group of photographers hired by newspaper Folha de São Paulo as part of an effort to renew its photojournalism. Between 1992 and 1998 Mano formed, alongside Eli Sudbrack (b 1968), Everton Ballardin, and José Fujocka Neto (b 1969), the group Panoramas da Imagens, which organized exhibitions and symposia discussing photography theory and practice. While Mano never abandoned photography, his work gradually began to encompass other media. He is better known for works in public space addressing urban experience, social practices, and landscape.

Mano’s earliest major work was detetor de ausências (1994), commissioned for the second edition of Arte/Cidade—an urban intervention project conceived by philosopher and curator Nelson Brissac Peixoto. It consisted of two military-grade reflectors whose light beams intersected with a flyover at pedestrian level, thus engulfing vehicles and passersby. Like ...

Article

Denise Carvalho

(b Rio de Janeiro, 1948).

Brazilian interventionist, multimedia, installation and conceptual artist, considered the most influential contemporary artist of his country. While international critics have compared his work with North American Minimalism and Conceptual art, Meireles insisted that art should be seductive. He studied at the National School of Fine Arts and at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro. Coming of age at a time of the military dictatorship in Brazil (1964–85), he circumvented strict state censorship with a series of interventionist works, adding politically charged texts and reinserting the works back into circulation.

Insertions into Ideological Circuits: Coca-Cola Project (1970) included Coca-Cola bottles with the added text ‘Yankees. Go Home!’ In Insertions into Ideological Circuits: Cédula Project (1970), the same message was printed on one dollar bills, and on the current Brazilian currency, the Cruzeiro. Some bills also queried ‘Who killed Herzog?’ referring to a Brazilian journalist who died while in police custody. Meireles’ series utilizes a mechanistic process of capitalistic insertion and circulation, adding phrases that question the methods and policies of the dictatorship. ...

Article

Joan Kee

(b Taichung, Feb 16, 1964).

Taiwanese conceptual artist, active also in the USA. Lee spent his childhood in Taichung, where he studied Chan Buddhism from the age of eight. At 12, Lee spent time among Taiwanese expatriates in the Dominican Republic, and two years later moved to the USA, where he later studied biology at the University of Washington, Seattle. He transferred, however, to the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA, where he focused on architecture and textiles (1993). During this time, Lee made work that originated from personal memories, such as One Hundred Days with Lily (1995), which he started after his grandmother’s death. This work was a long-term endeavour documenting the life cycle of a lily that Lee took with him as he went about his daily activities in San Francisco.

After graduating from Oakland, Lee went on to receive a master’s degree in sculpture from the Yale School of Art. At Yale, Lee expanded upon his interest in interpersonal communication, which resulted in the production of works such as ...

Article

Denise Carvalho

(b Belo Horizonte, Nov 12, 1967).

Brazilian painter, interventionist, installation, conceptual and video artist. She studied at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, and at the Royal College of Art in London. Some of her works invite comparisons with an earlier artist from the same city, Lygia Clark, as well as with fellow Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica.

Central themes in Neuenschwander’s work include relationships and communication—or lack thereof—and the role of chance and uncertainty. Gallery visitors were often welcome to participate in her works. In I Wish Your Wish (2003; exhibited at the Carnegie International in 2008; see image page for more views), hundreds of participants were asked about their wishes, which were then silkscreened on colourful ribbons and exhibited in the gallery. Visitors then tied ribbons on their wrists, leaving a wish behind; the wish would come true only when the worn ribbon fell off, an idea based on a popular tradition of votive exchange. In ...

Article

Lucius Grisebach

(b Antwerp, Feb 5, 1940).

Belgian conceptual artist. He adopted the pseudonym Panamarenko at the outset of his artistic career. He studied at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp (1955–60), and at the National Hoger Instituut, Antwerp (1962–4). He was active in various Happenings in Antwerp between 1964 and 1966. With friends Hugo Heyrman (b 1942), Bernd Lohaus (b 1940) and Wout Vercammen (b 1938) among others, he produced a photocopied magazine called Happening News (c. 1964–6). From 1966 to 1968 he made what he called ‘poetic objects’, which included such quiet, contemplative works as Snow (leather bag, rubber boots, twigs and snow, 1966; priv. col., see 1978 exh. cat., p. 98) and Moths in Reeds (moths, reeds and motor, 1967; Naarden, Becht Col., see 1978 exh. cat., p. 103), and also a large, bicycle-driven structure, Aeroplane (aluminium and mixed media, 1967...

Article

Sérgio B. Martins

(b Tiradentes, Jul 11, 1980).

Brazilian multimedia artist. Early in his career, Rocha Pitta practiced mainly photography, but soon turned to projects in which original and found images become juxtaposed with materials as diverse as earth, stone, food, newspapers cutouts, car parts, and cement. His interest lay not in the substantive sculptural quality of materials, but rather in their capacity to signify circulation, apprehension, conversion, and communal use, depending on the situation. His work often pits the commodity form against different conceptions of use and display drawn from universes as diverse as police photographs and religious art.

Provisional Heritage (2010), exhibited both at Sprovieri Gallery, London, and at the 29th Bienal de São Paulo, comprises photographs and a film recording the pouring of the contents of cans of expired tomato soup and coffee drink found at an abandoned factory in East London. The liquids act as tokens of failed commodity circulation in an area that was itself caught between dereliction and real-estate speculation. Failed monumentality is also a recurrent topic in his work. ...

Article

Jorge Glusberg

(b Buenos Aires, May 2, 1952).

Argentine painter. His production is multi-faceted, although his point of departure was in conceptual art. Such paintings as King Kong (1984; see Glusberg, 1986, p. 122) at first seem merely decorative—series of arabesques and squares with similar motifs and colours—but closer inspection reveals that they are a distinct expression of the new figuration. There is no repetition in the series of contiguous figures, they are traces of a creative process that subverts established canons and gives rise to new images. Prior develops his motifs with complete freedom, demonstrating that unexpected juxtapositions can transform a series of informal marks into an ideological structure. His images of buildings, some recognizable, show that the new figuration does not preclude historical references: in fact the creative process is related to traditional motifs, especially Aztec. Prior’s works are linked to a strong indigenous Latin American tradition, although he employs the international language of contemporary art. In ...

Article

J. Harwood

(b Barranquilla). Colombian painter and conceptual artist. Rodríguez trained in the Escuela de Bellas Artes at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá from 1964 to 1969. Between 1970 and 1972 she gained an MFA from Yale University, where she studied painting under Al Held and Lester Johnson. Although her early training was informed by Pop art, Rodríguez’s use of semi-abstract forms and bold contrasting colors, inspired by Colombia’s natural environment, often resulted in her work being stereotyped as “tropical.” The fantastic landscapes produced by the combining of these painted elements with added objects such as photographs or plastic toys earned her a reputation as a Surrealist. Within these imaginary landscapes mundane objects become magical, while the titles of such compositions hint at their deeper conceptual meaning. In later years, such additions figured more prominantly in Rodríguez’s canvases, as in Landscape with Red Live Tree (1990; Colchester, U. Essex, Coll. Latin Amer. A.), where the center of the work is occupied by a small cupboard containing a photograph of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, watched over by a plastic toucan’s beak. These objects also relate to the artist’s parallel production of Magic Boxes, small, brightly painted montages that recall the popular art of Colombia in their use of color. Both interior and exterior surfaces are adorned with an assortment of everyday objects through which these boxes emerge as both dreamlike worlds and reflections on the complexity of modern Latin American life....

Article

Eduardo Serrano

(b Bogotá, Aug 12, 1941).

Colombian sculptor, collagist and conceptual artist. He studied architecture at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá from 1959 to 1965 and began at this time to make collages influenced by Pop art. In 1966 he made the first of his Boxes, painted in strong flat colours, often red or yellow, to which he affixed industrial elements such as telephone handsets. Soon afterwards he began to make only white boxes, using the colour to complement the mystery of the objects they contained, such as the heads, arms and legs of dolls, machine parts, wooden eggs and domestic objects; the penetrating humour and arbitrariness with which he juxtaposed such things recalled the spirit of Dada.

In the 1970s Salcedo became involved for a time with conceptual art in mordantly critical and irreverent works, such as The National Coat of Arms (1973; Bogotá, Mus. A. Mod.). He subsequently returned, however, to sculptural objects, bringing together two or more previously unconnected elements into an unsuspected poetic unity when assembled. These in turn gave way to works concerned with the representation of water, for example a group of saw-blades aligned in wavelike patterns or rectangles of glass arranged to resemble rain. Some of these included human figures, bringing to bear a sense of solitude and anxiety that added to their poetry and suggestiveness....

Article

Amy Rosenblum Martín

(b Rio Grande do Sul, Mar 5, 1968).

Brazilian conceptual artist, filmmaker, and writer, active in the USA. Schneider’s art practice revealed, questioned, and often restructured the social aspects of art. She studied at the Universidade Federal of Rio Grande do Sul, where she earned a BFA; New York University, where she graduated with an MFA; and the European Graduate School, Saas-Fee, Switzerland, which she left before completing her doctorate in philosophy. In 1997 in New York she co-founded Union Gaucha Productions, an artist-run experimental film company that collaborated with people across disciplines. Later, in New York’s Lower East Side, Schneider co-founded Orchard gallery (2005–2008), a cooperatively organized exhibition and event space, then CAGE (2010–2014), a space for social and political gathering that created and expanded opportunities for art to exist beyond physical objects.

Art and theory were inseparable for Schneider, who considered her artwork a thinking process. Although her practice sometimes involved exhibiting real or virtual art objects or installations, she focused on art as social experience. She believed that a work’s meaning emerged from the dialogues that occurred between artist, viewer, and history—personal, political, and cultural. Her projects included leading collaborations, political movements, and radio stations, as well as designing a playground and creating other venues for gathering....

Article

Lelia Delgado

(b New York, March 1, 1940).

Venezuelan conceptual and performance artist. She studied psychology at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas, and sat in on classes at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas Cristóbal Rojas (now the Escuela de Artes Visuales Cristóbal Rojas) in Caracas, at which she later taught (1983–94). In 1962–6 she studied art at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), graduating with a degree in Plastic Arts (1966). Sosa returned to Venezuela in 1966 and combined her work with investigations into the expressive possibilities of the body. She was a founder-member of the dance group Contradanza (1973–6) and performed in Las cosas que nos pasan in Caracas. From 1970 she was highly active as a teacher of expression through movement and the plastic arts. In her work (examples in Caracas, Mus. B.A. and Ciudad Bolívar, Mus.) she reflected upon the surface and space and on the body as an instrument for the comprehension of such space. Sosa also used the chair as a structure from which to ponder the world, space and the role of the spectator....

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b Los Angeles, CA, Feb 10, 1938).

American conceptual artist, painter and draughtswoman. She studied at the Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles (1954–5), at the Instituto de Bellas Artes, Mexico City (1955–6), under Diego Rivera, and at the New School for Social Research, New York (1958–60). Her first exhibition was at Douglass College, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ (1973). As a child Stuart accompanied her father, an engineer, to survey and map water lines in the deserts of southern California. While working as a topographical draughtswoman and topographer for the Army Corps of Engineers she mapped the earth’s crust from Las Vegas, USA, to Korea. Stuart acknowledged the influence of such experiences on her work, which focuses on a celebration of human culture and its various artefacts, rituals, and monuments, often incorporating the arts of non-Western societies. Her early works took the form of large sculptural scrolls, made of paper impressed with site-specific earth and rocks, for example ...

Article

Tunga  

Adrian Locke

[De Barros Carvalho e Mello Mourão, Antonio José ]

(b Palmares, Pernambuco, Feb 8, 1952; d Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 6, 2016).

Brazilian conceptual artist. He graduated in architecture from the Universidade Santa Ursula, Rio de Janeiro in 1974. In 1976 he co-founded and edited the alternative art journal Malasartes, along with fellow Brazilian artists Cildo Meireles, José Resende (b 1945) and Waltercio Caldas (b 1946); Meireles and Tunga also founded another art journal together, A parte do fogo, in 1980. Tunga produced installation work involving both animate and inanimate objects, and also uses film and video, as in the 1980 Dois irmões (‘Two Brothers’) project and in his collaboration with Arthur Omar, O nervo de prata (‘The Silver Needle’). Large scale and repetition dominate Tunga’s work, which forms an alliance between the natural and the industrial. The result is often the presentation of seemingly desolate industrial landscapes where the initial appearance of sterility is off-set by natural elements that challenge the viewer’s perception. The presence of these organic elements gives life to the industrial forms, forcing the viewer to confront the reality of Brazil’s struggle to marry industrial development with environmental preservation. Huge plates of steel and magnets merge with what appear to be long, thick plaits of hair, a recurrent theme in his work. This hair is often real, attached to the heads of living people or, as in the ...