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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

Reena Jana

(b Cologne, Germany, 1969).

American mixed-media artist of German birth and Asian descent. Ezawa studied at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf (1990–94) before moving to San Francisco in 1994. He received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute (1995) and an MFA from Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA (2003). Ezawa is not a photographer, but his work centers around photography; he has used a variety of media, from digital animations to paper collages and aquatint prints, to revisit some of the world’s most familiar, infamous and historically significant news photographs, television broadcasts and motion-picture stills (see The Simpson Verdict). All of Ezawa’s work utilizes the artist’s signature style of flat, simple renderings that are cartoonlike and also suggest the streamlined and colorful style of Pop artist Katz, Alex.

Ezawa’s project, The History of Photography Remix (2004–6), exemplifies his approach to exploring the power of photographs as a mirror of reality and yet also a force that can manipulate memories of events and people. The project consists of images appropriated from art history textbooks, such as American photographer Cindy Sherman’s ...

Article

Julia Robinson

Term used to describe a mid-20th century art movement in America. First used in May 1957, in Robert Rosenblum’s “Castellli Group” article for Arts Magazine, and then, more dramatically, in January 1958, in ARTnews with Jasper Johns’s Target with Four Faces (1955) on its cover. Between 1958 and 1963 the “Neo-Dada” moniker was picked up and used extensively by critics worldwide. Initially intended to describe the attempts of artists in the late 1950s—between Abstract Expressionism and Pop art—to transform a subjective painterly field through collage and assemblage strategies that incorporated everyday objects. The concept “Neo-Dada,” used mostly in the context of art criticism, suggested that the new generation was reprising the strategies of the Dada movement. The original term Dada defined a spirit of protest initiated by an international group of artists who came together in 1916, at the height of World War I, in Zurich in neutral Switzerland. The complexity of this historical background suggests the fallacy of reusing the concept of “Dada” to refer to the work of American artists at the dawn of the 1960s, most of whom seized found materials with an unbridled optimism....