1-20 of 37 results  for:

  • Contemporary Art x
  • Public Art, Land Art, and Environmental Art x
Clear all

Article

Andrew Cross

(b Isleworth, Middx, 1947; d June 5, 2014).

English sculptor. A graduate of St Martin’s School of Art and a contemporary there of Richard Long and Hamish Fulton, he has often been considered in relation to British land art, but his work stands apart from that movement’s direct involvement with the landscape or with the romance of nature. It is more closely allied to the rigorous abstraction of Minimalist painters such as Alan Charlton (b 1948). Ackling’s work remained remarkably consistent from the time that he first started making art in the 1960s, particularly in its reliance on a single exacting process by which fine burn-marks are made onto small pieces of wood or cardboard by focusing the sun’s rays through a magnifying glass. This work, which is always executed outdoors, demands an intensity of concentration that borders on the ritualistic. His very early drawings included shapes reminiscent of figures or clouds, but from the early 1970s his drawings were made using only straight horizontal lines etched into the surface from left to right. Ackling always draws on found objects marked by previous use, such as cardboard from the back of a notepad or wood from a chair leg, either gathered from around the world or discovered washed ashore near his coastal home on the Norfolk coast. Since his art continued to be defined by his chosen method of mark-making, there was little overt development or stylistic evolution. Instead, it was the particular surface characteristics of chosen objects—their shape, size and surface texture—that dictated in each case the placement and banding of the scorched lines, allowing the work its own inner logic....

Article

Sofia Hernández Chong Cuy

American installation artists, active also in Puerto Rico. Jennifer Allora (b Philadelphia, Mar 20, 1974) graduated with a bachelor’s degree in art from the University of Richmond, Virginia (1996), and Guillermo Calzadilla (b Havana, Cuba, Jan 10, 1971) graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Escuela de Artes Plastica in San Juan, Puerto Rico (1996). Allora and Calzadilla met in Italy in 1995 during a study abroad program in Florence. They then lived together in San Juan for a year before moving to New York City where they started working collaboratively while each participated in different residency and study programs. In 1998–1999, Allora participated in the year-long Whitney Independent Study Program, while Calzadilla participated in the P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Center National Studio Program.

Allora & Calzadilla’s first important international exhibition was the XXIV Bienal de São Paulo in 1998 curated by Paulo Herkenhoff, which investigated the idea of cultural cannibalism known in Brazilian literature as ...

Article

Margo Machida

(b New York, Aug 16, 1949).

American printmaker and installation artist. Born and raised in New York City, Arai, a third-generation Japanese American printmaker, mixed-media artist, public artist and cultural activist, studied art at the Philadelphia College of Art and The Printmaking Workshop in New York. Since the 1970s, her diverse projects have ranged from individual works to large-scale public commissions (see Public art in the 21st century). She has designed permanent public works, including an interior mural commemorating the African burial ground in lower Manhattan and an outdoor mural for Philadelphia’s Chinatown. Other works include Wall of Respect for Women (1974), a mural on New York’s Lower East Side, which was a collaboration between Arai and women from the local community. Her art has been exhibited in such venues as the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, International Center for Photography, P.S.1 Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art, all New York and the Library of Congress, Washington, DC. She is the recipient of awards and fellowships from National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, and Joan Mitchell Foundation....

Article

revised by Margaret Barlow

(b Harrisburg, PA, Nov 20, 1946).

American sculptor, draughtswoman, and installation and environmental artist. She studied liberal arts at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ (1964–8), and obtained an MA in studio art at Hunter College, City University of New York (1968–71), where she worked under Robert Morris and became familiar with systems theory. From the 1960s Aycock developed phenomenologically site-orientated works to include metaphor and simile, referring to machinery and construction sites, archaeological sites, models, children’s play areas and funfairs, and other public or social settings. For example in A Simple Network of Underground Wells and Tunnels (1975) six concrete wells (1.62 sq. m) with connecting tunnels were sunk into an area of ground c. 6.1×12.2 m at Merriewold West, Far Hills, NJ (destr.). The curious sense of authority within her sophisticated, well-made structures is simultaneously articulated and undermined by a nonsensical, non-functional, and fantastical element. Her works are often a synthesis of diverse elements. The imagery of the ...

Article

Anne K. Swartz

(Francisca )

(b East Los Angeles, CA, Sept 20, 1946).

American muralist, activist and teacher. Born to Mexican–American parents, Baca is recognized as one of the leading muralists in the USA. She was involved from a young age in activism, including the Chicano Movement, the antiwar protest and Women’s Liberation. She studied art at California State University, Northridge, where she received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Baca started teaching art in 1970 in East Los Angeles for the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks and became interested in the ways murals could involve youth, allowing them to express their experiences. She founded the City of Los Angeles Mural Program in 1974, which evolved into the Social and Public Resource Center, a community arts organization, where she served as artistic director. She held five summer mural workshops from 1976 through 1983 for teenagers and community artists to help her paint a huge mural on the ethnic history of Los Angeles, called the ...

Article

Banksy  

Elizabeth K. Mix

(b Bristol, ?1974).

English graffiti and interventionist artist. Banksy is best known for stencilled graffiti that sometimes mimics government posts. His graffiti, both freehand and stencil, started appearing on trains and walls around Bristol in 1992–4. He apparently left Bristol for London late in 1999. The name ‘Banksy’ became formally associated with his work with the publication of his first book, Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall (2001).

Banksy’s text-based graffiti has included the phrase, ‘caution, concealed trap doors in operation’, on London’s Millennium Bridge; ‘designated riot area’ in Trafalgar Square, and ‘this is not a not a photo opportunity’ at various tourist sites including Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, and the Sydney Opera House. Many were fooled by his official-looking stencilled declaration that walls on Marylebone and Bayswater Roads in Westminster were ‘a designated graffiti area’. Other works contained unusual appropriations of public property—vandalized street signs, traffic cones, telephone booths, vehicles, and even farm animals. Banksy has termed his appropriation and manipulation of public advertisements ‘Brandalism’. A subtle use of found objects involves the painting of frames or dotted lines and scissors around the edges of objects, making the outlined objects appear to be either artworks or coupons ready to be clipped. In addition, Banksy has mimicked British pound notes (‘Banksy notes’ featuring Princess Diana) and oil paintings by William Bouguereau and Claude Monet, among other artists, by inserting incongruous objects (bombs, iPods, shopping trolleys) into copies of well-known paintings in a series of ‘Vandalized Oil Paintings’....

Article

Francis Summers

(b Glasgow, 1967).

Scottish installation artist and sculptor. Boyce studied at Glasgow School of Art, in the Department of Environmental Art, from 1986 to 1990, and, after a break of five years returned to Glasgow School of Art to complete his MA (1995 to 1997). He also visited the California Institute for the Arts, Valencia, in 1996. An early work Around Every Corner (1996; see 2000 exh. cat., pp. 18–19), made whilst still at college, is a wall painting that uses a grid and the words of its title. Combining the utopian tropes of the Modernist project with a sense of menace, Boyce made more wall drawings employing words and grids, such as Over Your Shoulder and Disappear Here (both 1999; see 2000 exh. cat., pp. 40–41 and p. 33 respectively). Other works directly reference Modernism by incorporating International Style design products. For example, Boyce used the classic Eames storage unit in ...

Article

(b Brooklyn, NY, Nov 4, 1940).

American graphic designer, installation artist and design educator. De Bretteville attended Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, NY, and was included in the school’s Art Squad by teacher and artist Leon Friend, who submitted his students’ work to national competitions. She received a prestigious Alex Award, named after the designer Alex Steinweiss, also a former member of the Art Squad. She received a BA in art history from Barnard College, New York in 1962 and received her MFA in the graphic design program at Yale University’s School of Art in 1964. She joined the faculty of the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and founded the first design programme for women in 1970. In 1981 she founded the communication design programme at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles (now the Otis College of Art and Design), which was at the time affiliated with the Parsons School of Design in New York. In ...

Article

Eva Meyer-Hermann

(b Sonthofen, Allgäu, Aug 1, 1944).

German painter, sculptor and environmental artist. He studied in Kassel between 1964 and 1967, first at the Werkkunstschule and then at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste with Arnold Bode. In 1969 he moved to Cologne. His first journey to Morocco in 1970 was decisive for the course of his artistic development, and thereafter Marrakesh was his second home. At Documenta 5 in Kassel (1972) Buthe was one of the artists whose work was grouped under the heading of ‘Individuelle Mythologien’, exhibiting the environment Homage to the Sun (see von Weise, p. 21).

Buthe’s works cannot be characterized by one style, but rather they emerge from an attitude that makes no differentiation between art and life. The artist builds spaces (for himself), using a large variety of materials, which may be transitory, ‘poor’, or precious (e.g. gold), as well as trivia: everyday objects as well as keepsakes become cult objects, fetishes, linked to folk myths and fairy tales. Murals or installations were built up on a collage principle, and earlier works could be reworked with a new status. Sumptuous colours and imagery such as stars, suns, palm-trees and stylized flowers reveal the influence of Africa, for example ...

Article

Mary M. Tinti

(b Houston, TX, 1951).

American sculptor, installation and conceptual artist. His multimedia works investigate the pathology of contemporary culture. Mel Chin was born and raised in Houston, Texas to parents of Chinese birth and received his BA in 1975 from the Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. The works in Chin’s oeuvre are diverse in both medium and subject, but a consistent undercurrent of social, political, and environmental responsibility runs throughout. Whether a sculpture, film, video game, installation, public project or earthwork, Chin’s artworks consistently targeted a broad spectrum of pressing cultural and ecological interests and spread their message in subtle, if not viral ways.

In the 1980s, Chin produced a number of sculptures that set the stage for his ever-evocative artistic journey. The Extraction of Plenty from What Remains: 1823 (1988–9) is a frequently referenced piece from this period. It is a symbolic encapsulation of the effects of the Monroe Doctrine, referencing the complicated dealings between the US (represented by truncated replicas of White House columns) and Central America (represented by a cornucopia of mahogany branches, woven banana-tree fiber, and a surface layer of hardened blood, mud, and coffee grinds). From the 1990s, however, Chin moved away from strictly gallery-based installations and began creating works that directly engaged contemporary culture in a variety of physical and theoretical landscapes....

Article

Margo Machida

Asian American mixed-media and installation artist and cultural activist. Ken Chu came to the United States from Hong Kong in 1971, settling in California where he received a BFA in film studies from San Francisco Art Institute (1986). Relocating to New York City after graduation, his encounters with local Asian American artists, activists and cultural organizations supported his artistic efforts, in which he often drew upon subjects that emerged organically from personal experience in the US as a gay Asian man. Adopting popular cultural idioms from film and comics, while also drawing upon symbols and motifs from Chinese and other Asian cultures, his imagery from this pivotal period featured Asian men cast as prototypically American masculine figures, such as California surfers and cowboys, who populate colorful, imaginary scenarios of cross-cultural contact, mixing and desire. In Western societies, where the dominant norms are non-Asian and few viable role models for Asian men exist, Chu’s art strongly asserted their collective presence and place. His socially inspired work has since also engaged matters of anti-Asian violence, internalized racism, stereotyping, homophobia and the impact of AIDS on Asian diasporic communities....

Article

Beryl Graham

(b Ibadan, 1961).

American computer artist, technologist, writer, and researcher of Nigerian birth. Goldberg grew up in Bethlehem, PA. He received dual BS degrees in Electrical Engineering and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984, and a PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1990. His work is notable for operating across science, art, and social disciplines; in 1999 he was Visiting Professor at San Francisco Art Institute and in 2000 at MIT Media Lab. He was co-founder of the Berkeley Center for New Media, and co-founder and Director of the Data and Democracy Initiative of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society. His early artwork emerged from his interest in how robotics, automation, and remote control could make live connections between people, data, and machines. Telegarden, which operated between 1995 and 2004 in the lobby of the Ars Electronica Museum, Linz, Austria, was co-directed by Ken Goldberg and Joseph Santarromana, and enabled people to control a robot arm remotely via the Internet in order to water and tend a real growing garden (Goldberg, ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Cheshire, July 26, 1956).

English sculptor and photographer. He studied fine art at Bradford School of Art (1974–5) and at Preston Polytechnic (1975–8). Goldsworthy works in the open air with natural materials such as stones, leaves and ice. Like other artists associated with ‘Land Art’, such as Richard Long and Hamish Fulton, he uses photographs as permanent documents of the ephemeral structures left in isolated locations. His sculptures are, as he puts it, ‘there all the time’, their aesthetic and formal qualities revealed by his work in and with the landscape. Changing seasons and weather conditions play a large part, often dictating the possibility of making a work, as well as its final appearance. The changeable British weather gives both transience and urgency to sculptures that can melt, topple over or be blown away. Goldsworthy records his work photographically before such damage occurs. Although most are created outdoors in isolation, he has also produced sculptures for galleries (...

Article

(Mark David)

(b London, Aug 30, 1950).

English sculptor and draughtsman. He studied archaeology, anthropology and art history at Trinity College, Cambridge (1968–71) and Buddhist meditation in India and Sri Lanka (1971–4), experiences that profoundly inform his work. Influenced by the ideals of Indian sculpture as much as by those of modernism, his sculptures use the human form to explore man’s existence in and relation to the world. He is primarily known for the lead figures cast from his own body. Free of individualizing surface detail, with welding lines emphatically exposed, these remain physical casings rather than imitative representations of the universal human form. His belief that the spiritual and physical selves are inseparable is reflected in works such as Land, Sea and Air II (1982). Three figures, crouching, kneeling and standing, were placed on the seashore, embodying the process of Buddhist spiritual awareness. The work also referred to the earthly condition of the body and man’s relationship with his surroundings. These concerns are further reflected in Gormley’s full use of installation space, with sculptures suspended from ceiling and walls. Many works were made specifically for natural environments, most controversially ...

Article

Klaus Ottmann

(b Lima, OH, June 22, 1956).

American installation artist, photographer, and video artist. Hamilton is known for creating complexly structured, highly sensual, site-specific environments that investigate visual and aural relationships with the human body. Hamilton studied textile design at the University of Kansas in Lawrence and sculpture at Yale University School of Art in New Haven. Using a wide range of metaphorical and associative materials, her installations function in the chasm between immediate experience and memory and frequently address the antinomy of creation and destruction in art.

In Privations & Excesses (1989; San Francisco, CA, Capp Street Project), Hamilton sat in a room whose floor was covered with 750,000 pennies, while obsessively wringing her hands in a hat filled with honey and, in an barred space behind her, several sheep grazed. In topos (1993; New York, Dia Center for the Arts), a figure seated in the midst of an expansive sea of interwoven horsehair, fastidiously erased printed letters from a book with a heating coil. In ...

Article

Deborah A. Middleton

(b Berkeley, CA, Nov 4, 1944).

American sculptor, painter, and printmaker. Heizer’s earthworks erected in the vast desert expanses of the American Midwest marked the beginning of the Heizer, Michael movement of the 1960s and liberated art from the confines of the art gallery. Heizer’s early experience and exposure to desert landscapes and Native American culture was influenced by his father Robert Heizer, an important American archaeologist, and his maternal grandfather Olaf P. Jenkins, who was an important early American geologist. He attended the San Francisco Art Institute (1963–4) to study painting and moved to New York (1966). In 1967 Heizer left New York to return to the American Midwest with colleague Walter De Maria, and began artistic collaborations with James Turrell and Robert Smithson to explore the making of land art.

Heizer’s early paintings explored the interaction of two-dimensional and three-dimensional geometric forms influenced by the Abstract Expressionists of the late 1940s and 1950s. By ...

Article

Francis Summers

(b Worcester, MA, 1938; d New York, Feb 8, 2014).

American land artist. Holt completed a Bachelor of Science degree at Tufts University, Medford, MA, before becoming an artist. Her interest in science became a key element in her art, in which she investigated the physical attributes of perception. Early works, such as Views through a Sand Dune (1972; see T. Castle, ‘Nancy Holt, Siteseer’, A. America, March 1982, p. 88) were simple interventions into the landscape that enhanced or altered the viewer’s experience of that environment. Holt’s first major work, the mighty Sun Tunnels (1973–9, see ‘Sun Tunnels’, Artforum, 15, April 1977, pp. 32–7), was constructed in the Great Basin Desert in north-west Utah. Consisting of four huge tunnels made from highway conduit, they are aligned in an axis to frame the rising and setting sun on the horizon on the two yearly solstices. Continuing the astrological theme, each tunnel was drilled through with a pattern of holes, each in the configuration of a star constellation: Draco, Perseus, Columba, and Capricorn. Holt also made several videotapes and films, some with her husband, ...

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b Gallipolis, OH, July 29, 1950).

American installation and conceptual artist. Her studies included general art courses at Duke University, Durham, NC (1968–70), and then painting, printmaking, and drawing at the University of Chicago before completing her BFA at Ohio University, Athens (1972). In 1974 she took summer courses at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, entering its MFA programme in 1975 and beginning her first work with language, installation, and public art. Holzer moved to New York in 1977. Her first public works, Truisms (1977–9), appeared in the form of anonymous broadsheets pasted on buildings, walls, and fences in and around Manhattan. Commercially printed in cool, bold italics, numerous one-line statements such as ‘Abuse of power comes as no surprise’ and ‘There is a fine line between information and propaganda’, were meant to be provocative and elicit public debate. Thereafter Holzer used language and the mechanics of late 20th-century communications as an assault on established notions of where art should be shown, with what intention and for whom (e.g. ...

Article

Courtney Gerber

(b Greenville, MI, Aug 6, 1945).

American painter and installation artist. She studied first at the Memphis Academy of Art (1965), then at the University of the Americas, Mexico City (1966–7) and finally at the St Martin’s School of Art, London (1968–9). She had her first solo exhibition in 1977 at the Holly Solomon Gallery in New York. Jaudon completed numerous permanent public art commissions and her paintings are represented in collections throughout the USA and Europe. In the 1970s Jaudon was linked most closely to the pattern and decoration movement (P&D). Her participation in this movement demonstrated her engagement with issues that were also understood as being at the core of the contemporaneous feminist art movement: disrupting the modernist definition of fine art as non-decorative, strictly formal, and, generally, produced by white men from Western cultures. In the painting Bellefontaine (1976; see 1996 exh. cat., p. 52), Jaudon fused modernism’s geometric abstraction with the interlacing curves and angles found in Islamic or Celtic ornamentation from the Middle Ages. She consciously takes care that the Western idiom of abstract painting does not overpower the non-Western decorative motifs, so that they coexist in a cross-cultural, non-hierarchical collaboration....

Article

Joan Marter

(b New York, Sept 8, 1940).

American environmental artist. Johanson is known for art projects created in the natural landscape that solve environmental problems. She is considered a pioneer in ecological art and has made permanent installations in gardens and parks in the United States and abroad. Johanson was born in New York City, where she was a frequent visitor to parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. She graduated from Bennington College where she studied with sculptor Tony Smith. While at Bennington (1958–62) she also met artists Kenneth Noland, David Smith, Helen Frankenthaler, Franz Kline and Philip Guston. In 1964 Johanson completed a master’s degree in art history at Hunter College.

A publishing project offered her the opportunity to catalogue the art of Georgia O’Keeffe, who became her mentor. Johanson’s paintings from the 1960s were Minimalist, as she explored the optical effects of colors. In 1966 she began producing large-scale sculpture, also Minimalist in style. ...