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Article

Horacio Safons

(b Federal, Entre Ríos, Aug 22, 1928; d Buenos Aires, Feb 19, 1996).

Argentine painter, draughtsman and collagist. He studied under Juan Batlle Planas from 1950 to 1953 and quickly established the terms of his work, rooted ideologically in Surrealism and indebted in particular to the work of René Magritte and Giorgio de Chirico. All the elements of his mature art are evident in an early painting, Burning of the Hasidic School in Minsk in 1713 (1954; artist’s col.): architecture, space, light and ordered series. He developed an essentially intellectual approach, working in a variety of media (paintings, drawings, gouaches and collages) in rigorous sequences and picturing objects in cold impersonal light that confers on them a sense of distant majesty. The most common motif is that of a geometric, almost abstract structure, often in the form of a tower pierced by rows of large plain windows. Aizenberg’s work, while far removed from the Surrealist presumption of achieving a synthesis of wakefulness and dream, acquires its strength through the ordering of the unreal and the strange in the search for a transcendent essence capable of perturbing and jolting the viewer by bringing into play the archetypes of silence and solitude....

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

Francis Summers

revised by Martin R. Patrick

(b Antwerp, Aug 22, 1959).

Belgian-born interdisciplinary artist, active in Mexico. He studied architecture at the Institut d’Architecture de Tournai in Belgium (1978–83) and at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura in Venice (1983–6). Alÿs moved to Mexico in 1987 and his art practice initially concentrated on Mexico City as a laboratory of urban living, often documented in the form of evocative, conceptually layered photographs, sculptures, and videos. In the slide series Ambulantes (Pushing and Pulling) (1992–2002), Alÿs photographed street vendors and workers as they passed by carting a wide variety of goods within a ten-block vicinity of his studio. For his project entitled The Liar, The Copy of the Liar (1997) Alÿs created small images of suited men inspired by the commercial sign painters of Mexico City, and subsequently commissioned from them larger versions in their own styles. In this process Alÿs deferred authorship into a semantic chain. Hovering between the banal and the surreal, these works have an uncanny theme, of individuals observed in situations that defy explanation....

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

J. Harwood

(b Havana, 1959).

Cuban painter and installation artist. He graduated from the Escuela de Artes Plásticas ‘San Alejandro’ in Havana in 1976, and in 1981 from the city’s Instituto Superior de Arte. Later in 1981 Bedia participated in the groundbreaking exhibition Volumen I, the aim of which was to create a more open, outward-looking art, free from official constraints. Liberalization of Cuban society allowed Bedia to visit many countries throughout Africa, Europe and the Americas, eventually returning to his country’s own Afro-Cuban culture and religion. Bedia’s early archaeological and ethnographical interests resulted in the creation and documentation of fictious finds and in the use of photographs of Amazonian Indians, such as those on amate (native bark) paper in the untitled work from the series Crónicas Americanas (1982, Havana, Mus. N. B.A.). This perspective gradually developed into anti-colonialist paintings, drawings and installations. Bedia’s initiation into the Afro-Cuban Palo de Monte religion in 1983...

Article

Cecilia Suárez

(b Quito, Sept 8, 1939).

Ecuadorean painter, graphic designer, sculptor, installation artist, architect and teacher. He studied architecture at the Universidad Nacional de Bogotá, Colombia. He worked for the Graham Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, DC, and received a grant to attend the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, where he worked with György Kepes. Later he became a professor at the arts faculty of the Universidad Central, Quito. Bueno worked first in graphic design before going on to experiment with the incorporation of technology into art, using laser beams, mechanical pumps, plastic, glass and such elements as water, fire and air, for example in 49 Tubes, exhibited at the Bienal de Arte Coltejer in Medellín in 1972. He also combined visual art with music in such works as Flame Orchards, with music by Paul Earls, which won joint first prize with Kepes in the same exhibition. Exploration into ecological and environmental art led him to experiment with the idea of an aerial view of the urban landscape incorporating military camouflage sheets....

Article

Jorge Glusberg

(b Paraná, Entre Ríos, Dec 28, 1942).

Argentine painter, draughtsman and collagist. She studied at the Escuela Provincial de Artes Visuales in Paraná and at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes ‘Ernesto de la Cárcova’ in Buenos Aires. Taking the cue for her well-crafted works from Surrealism but concentrating her attention on fortuitous encounters in everyday life, she fluctuated between a meticulously detailed photographic realism and an artificial imagery of old porcelain dolls and turn-of-the-century postcards, posters and advertising handbills. Generally working in series, she combined the sinister and the humorous, sometimes in a single work, as in Sublime Portrait of my Mother (1978; see Glusberg, p. 455), a frontal view of a masked woman with a vacant and enigmatic smile. An early triptych, the Family of the Condemned (1974), is in the national collection in Buenos Aires (Mus. N. B.A.).

J. Glusberg: Del Pop-art a la Nueva Imagen (Buenos Aires, 1985), pp. 455–8...

Article

Isobel Whitelegg

(b La Vega, Mantanzas, 1959).

Cuban painter, photographer, installation and performance artist, active also in the USA. Campos-Pons studied at the Higher Institute of Art, Havana (1980–85). Initially a painter, her graduation show Acoplamientos (1985; Havana, HIA) was concerned with representations of the female body as a device for prohibition and control, and her early work focused on the role of women in society and their representation within the history of art. In 1988 she went to the USA as a visiting artist at the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, and in 1991 she settled permanently in Boston. Using shaped canvases, her first works displayed an interest in the interrelationship between painting and three-dimensional media. While living in the USA she also expanded her interest in sculpture and installation to include elements of video and performance.

Living abroad also brought her relationship to Cuba into sharper relief; work produced in the early 1990s addressed her own displacement in relation to the enforced migration of her ancestors as slaves, and the way in which an imagined Africa is collectively created in contemporary Cuba by story-telling, the cultivation of traditional medicinal plants and the practice of the Afro-Caribbean Santería religion. Using performance and video as a form of self-portraiture, another aspect of her practice focuses on her attempt to build a coherent identity as an Afro-Cuban woman living in the USA. With the aim of achieving simultaneity between performance and its immediate capture in the production of an unalterable image, her self-portraits employ large-format colour Polaroid photography, as in the diptych ...

Article

Denise Carvalho

(b Belo Horizonte, Oct 23, 1920; d Rio de Janeiro, April 25, 1988).

Brazilian painter, sculptor, interactive artist and art therapist. She was a cofounder in 1959 of the Neo-Concrete movement, whose members laid the foundation for much of Brazilian contemporary art. The Neo-Concretists broke with the rigidity of the rationalism of Concrete art and advocated a more sensorial, interactive art. Lygia Clark and her creative soul-mate, Hélio Oiticica, created participatory works that challenged not only longstanding artistic dogmas, but also the role of the art object itself, as well as the role of the artist, the spectator, and the art institution. Their most groundbreaking works required the viewer to be part of the artwork and thereby experience it sensorially, all of which made their work difficult to categorize. Clark came to see even her exhibitions at major art events as meaningless, and her emphasis on person-to-person dialogue eventually led her into art therapy. Without a therapeutic license, she devoted her last decades solely to treating patients with her own form of art therapy....

Article

Jesús Fuenmayor

(b Caracas, May 25, 1949).

Venezuelan painter, draftsman, multimedia artist, and installation artist. He studied at the Escuela de Artes Cristóbal Rojas, Caracas, from 1967 to 1968. Between 1971 and 1973 Fuenmayor exhibited in Caracas at the Galería Estudio Actual, Galería Banap, and Sala Mendoza as part of a loosely affiliated generation of artists that explored and questioned the theoretical and political consequences of abstraction modernist formalism. After a series of experiments with monochrome paintings, Fuenmayor was invited to present his first solo exhibition at Sala Mendoza in 1973. The single work he presented consisted in painting the walls of the gallery with a yellow industrial paint, which was widely in use at the time in house interiors. He used the paint’s name to title both exhibition and installation: Amarillo sol KY7V68 (Sunshine Yellow KY7V68), and also placed labels with the color’s name on the walls. In so doing, Fuenmayor intended to transform the aesthetic nature of the art space into one of reflection and mediation for the viewer....

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

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

Lelia Delgado

(b Caracas, June 16, 1948).

Venezuelan painter, installation artist and printmaker. He studied fine art at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Aplicadas ‘Cristóbal Rojas’ in Caracas. From 1970 Lucena lived in Milan and took part in salons and biennial exhibitions in Europe. In 1980 he held his first one-man show in Venezuela at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Caracas. His work includes a series of experiments involving the spectator, whereby environments were created aimed at demonstrating the falsehood of daily visual appearances, simultaneously using both real and illusory weights, masses, colours and temperatures. He also distinguished himself with the quality of his graphic design for a series of books for the Fundación Boulton in Caracas.

Proposiciones de Víctor Lucena, 1969–1980 (exh. cat. by A. Boulton, Caracas, Mus. A. Contemp., 1980)

Venezuela, §IV, 3: Painting, graphic arts and sculpture, after c 1900...

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

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

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

Sarah Lack

(b Bogotá, Colombia, March 16, 1956).

British painter and sculptor of Colombian birth. She studied at the Academia Arjona, Madrid (1975–7) and the Bath Academy (1978–81). Her paintings and installations are concerned with architecture as a bearer of meaning and as a symbol of stability revealing how the everyday is rapidly changing. Pool Painting at Burrell’s Wharf in London (acrylic on plaster and board, oil on steel, 1991) dematerializes interior architecture into planes of colour. In a collaborative work with the architects McGurn, Logan, Duncan & Opfer, at 9–15 Bellgrove Street (light fittings, glass filters, 1996), Turnbull added other dimensions to architecture that went beyond prescriptive meaning: the glass windows of a stairwell in a Glasgow housing block were transformed into a series of coloured panes of light and reflections at night. Similarly Houses Into Flats (2000) is a series of 28 paintings in acrylic on canvas based on original building plans taken from books, maps and the internet. As an archaeologist reads ancient building plans in order to understand lost civilizations, so Turnbull invites the viewer to analyse the plans. Commenting on the globalization and cyclic nature of modern society, Turnbull alludes to both public and private buildings, from past centuries as well as the present; the varied references have included a 16th century villa, Calcutta Zoo, a North African oasis and an American apartment. Turnbull has received the Pollock-Krainer Foundation award (New York, ...