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Article

Ruth Bass

(b Buffalo, NY, July 8, 1896; d New York, Nov 23, 1989).

American dealer, collector, and writer. He first worked as a professional ballroom dancer, aeronautical mechanic, and businessman. During business trips to New York he began visiting museums and art galleries in the 57th Street area. He moved to New York in 1924, married Harriet Grossman (1898–1963) in 1925 and in 1926 founded the M’Lord Shirt Company. He began collecting art in 1926, acquiring one of the finest collections of the Ecole de Paris in the USA. On successive trips to Europe, he met Fernand Léger, Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, Constantin Brancusi, Marcel Duchamp, and other major European artists. After acquiring The Dream by Henri Rousseau (New York, MOMA) he became interested in American naive painters, including Grandma Moses and Morris Hirshfield, on whom he published a study in 1942.

Having dissolved his business in 1939 to devote himself full-time to writing and lecturing on art, in 1949 Janis opened the ...

Article

Christina Lodder

(Vasil’yevich)

(b Nizhny Novgorod, 1861; d Leningrad [now St Petersburg], Oct 14, 1934).

Russian painter, patron, musician, writer and publisher. He pursued a highly original line of artistic thought and practice and developed an organic perception of the world, deriving his inspiration from nature rather than machines, unlike many of his Russian Constructivist contemporaries.

Matyushin trained initially as a musician at the Moscow Conservatory (1878–81) and played the violin in the Court orchestra in St Petersburg from 1881 to 1913. In 1889 he began to attend the School of the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts in St Petersburg, where he studied painting with Yan Tsionglinsky (d 1914). In Tsionglinsky’s studio he met the artist and writer Yelena Guro, whom he married. Later (1906–8) he studied with the World of Art (Mir Iskusstva) painters Léon Bakst and Mstislav Dobuzhinsky at the Zvantseva School of Art in St Petersburg.

In 1909 Matyushin briefly joined the circle around Nikolay Kul’bin and the following year he founded the ...

Article

Deborah Cullen

[MoMA] (New York)

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was founded in 1929 by patrons Lillie P(lummer) Bliss, Cornelius J. Sullivan and Rockefeller family §(1) to establish an institution devoted to modern art. Over the next ten years the Museum moved three times and in 1939 settled in the Early Modern style building (1938–9) designed by Philip S. Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone that it still occupies at 11 West 53 Street. Subsequent renovations and expansions occurred in the 1950s and 1960s by Philip Johnson, in 1984 by Cesar Pelli and in 2002–4 by Yoshirō Taniguchi (b 1937). MoMA QNS, the temporary headquarters during this project, was subsequently used to provide art storage. In 2000, MoMA and the contemporary art space, P.S.1, Long Island City, Queens, announced their affiliation. Recent projects are shown at P.S.1 in Queens in a renovated public school building.

According to founding director, Alfred H(amilton) Barr...

Article

Nadja Rottner

French critic and philosopher Nicolas Bourriaud adopted the term ‘relational aesthetics’ in the mid-1990s to refer to the work of a selected group of artists, and what he considers their novel approach to a socially conscious art of participation: an art that takes as its content the human relations elicited by the artwork. Its key practitioners, most of them emerging in the 1990s, include Rirkrit Tiravanija , Philippe Parreno (b 1964), Liam Gillick, Pierre Huyghe, Maurizio Cattelan, Carsten Höller , and Vanessa Beecroft . For example, Carsten Höller installed Test Site (2006) at the Tate Modern in London so that visitors could enjoy the amusement park thrill of large playground slides in the museum’s Turbine Hall, and bond with fellow viewers over their experience. Bourriaud’s collected writings in Relational Aesthetics (1998, Eng. edn 2002) helped to spark a new wave of interest in participatory art.

While Bourriaud omits acknowledging the historical roots of relational art, Marxist-influenced critiques of the changing conditions of modern life, and arguments for art’s ability to improve man’s relationship with reality have a long history in 20th-century art. Critics Walter Benjamin and Siegfried Kracauer were among the first to developed new models for an art of politicized participation in the 1920s. The relational art of the 1990s and early 2000s is a continuation and an extension of traditions of participatory art throughout the 20th century (such as ...