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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

Andrew Cross

(b Lansing, MI, Sept 17, 1953).

American photographer and installation artist. Casebere made his first photographs of constructed models in 1975 while completing a BFA at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. This method of image-making, a kind of no-man’s land between reality and constructed fiction, became his trademark. By the time he graduated from the California Institute of Fine Arts in Valencia, CA, he was part of a generation of American artists, including Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince, that was redefining the use of photography in art. Casebere’s early work directly referenced Hollywood films and television, depicting scenes in American domestic interiors or the popular conception of the Wild West. His primary concerns at that time were the exploration of personal and collective memories and the presentation of myths of a past that continue to inhabit the present. Always showing places without people in them, these images take on a charged atmosphere reminiscent of ...

Article

Tom Williams

(b East Orange, NJ, March 29, 1947; d Falls Village, CT, June 25, 2013).

American photographer and conceptual artist. Charlesworth received a BA in art history from Barnard College in New York in 1969. During her undergraduate years, she enrolled in a number of studio courses, including those taught by conceptual artist Douglas Huebler, and her work was decisively shaped by late 1960s debates about conceptual art. In 1974–5 she joined with Joseph Kosuth and others to establish and edit the combative conceptualist journal The Fox, to which she made several contributions, including ‘Declaration of Dependence’, her well-known essay about the artist’s place in the larger society. Her photo-conceptualist practice is often associated with the so-called Pictures Generation that included other photographers such as Barbara Kruger, Louise Lawler, and Cindy Sherman, and in this context, she is often regarded as a key figure in the development of appropriation art during the late 1970s and early 1980s. From 1992 she taught at the School of Visual Art in New York and from ...

Article

Xiao Situ

(b Tuscaloosa, AL, Nov 5, 1936).

American painter, photographer, and sculptor. Born and raised in Tuscaloosa, AL, Christenberry received his bachelor’s degree in fine arts in 1958 and his master’s degree in painting in 1959, both from the University of Alabama. He began his artistic career by painting in an Abstract Expressionist style, but soon turned his attention to the landscape of his native Alabama as the primary subject of his art. His photographs, paintings, and sculptures focus on the vernacular architecture, rural roads, commercial signs, and decorative gravesites that characterize the region. As an entirety, his works address themes such as the personal attachment to place and culture, the effects of the passage of time, and the simultaneous fragility and endurance of memory.

After teaching art for six years at Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis), Christenberry moved to Washington, DC, in 1968 to accept a professorship at the Corcoran College of Art and Design. He continued making annual summer pilgrimages to Alabama to photograph local sites and structures such as ...

Article

Francis Summers

American photographers and conceptual artists of Irish and Israeli birth. Collaborating under a corporate-sounding name, Michael Clegg (b Dublin, 1957) and Martin Guttman (b Jerusalem, 1957) began making photographs together in 1980. Using corporate group portraits as their resource material, they made constructed photographs in the manner of 17th-century Dutch paintings. A Group Portrait of the Executives of a World Wide Company (1980; see 1989 exh. cat., p. 33) shows five suited men seated in a brooding darkness, their heads and hands illuminated in a chiaroscuro effect. The reference to historical paintings is made particularly explicit in The Art Consultants (1986; see 1989 exh. cat., p. 37): the figures are posed directly in front of a canvas so as to mirror the painted figures, illustrating Clegg & Guttman’s proposition that within the hierarchies of power, the essential nature of pose, emblems and dress have remained relatively unchanged for centuries. Pushing these images to the point of indetermination, Clegg & Guttman also occasionally carried out actual commissions (although not always successfully), as well as creating collaged and altered portraits such as ...

Article

Constance W. Glenn

(b Worcester, MA, Oct 7, 1943).

American photographer and conceptual artist. He studied painting at the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston (1961–5), and the University of Illinois, Urbana (1965–7). He first won recognition for his 8×10 view camera photographs, for example Chair Trick (1973; see Alinder, pl. 12). In such works as these, where he constructed the objects and their settings and then photographed them, Cumming explored perception, illusion, logic, time and motion. In the 1980s he began using drawing, printmaking and colour photography, for example X-ray Crystallography Mounts (DNA Molecule Research) MIT (photograph, 1986; Cambridge, MA, MIT; see 1988 exh. cat., pl. 24), with the same attention to pragmatic detail and often magical humour. His interest in narrative fantasies first provided storylines for photo-sequences and later led him to write, illustrate, and publish five books including Discourse on Domestic Disorder (Orange, CA, 1975).

J. Alinder: Cumming Photographs: Untitled 18...

Article

Lauren O’Neill-Butler

(b Boston, MA, 1966).

American photographer and installation artist. Deschenes studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI, where she was awarded a BFA in photography in 1988. Beginning in the 1990s, she exhibited widely across various continents. With a focus on materiality and site-specificity, her work examines light, perception, architecture, and photography. Yet often she worked without a camera, adopting a post-conceptual and post-minimal stance that walks a fine line between abstraction and representation. Instead of making straightforward photographs that depict a given past event or a vision of the world, Deschenes posed real-time questions about the philosophical potentials of the medium, stripping its apparatus bare while pushing at its traditional definitions and emphasizing the constantly changing nature of photography. For her Green Screen series (2001), Deschenes took a green screen—typically used as a special effects tool in film-making and television—as her subject, photographing and scanning these large-scale monochrome backdrops. In her ...

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

Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander

(b Santa Maria, CA, Sept 19, 1967).

Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander

American social practice artist.

He was awarded a BFA in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1990 and an MFA from California College of the Arts in 1994. Not confined to any particular media, his work is characterized by its collaborative, socially engaged, and interdisciplinary nature; the thematic focus of his art ranges from exploring personal narratives to engaging with larger global conflicts. In addition to his formal artistic training he also received a certification in Ecological Horticulture at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he studied organic farming. His interest in agriculture is a reflection of his larger involvement with communities and food systems, and has manifested in his work as both an artist and a pedagogue through the establishment of an outdoor classroom at an organic farm with his students at Portland State University, where he established the second MFA programme in social practice in the USA. His work often challenges notions of the ‘passive viewer’ or ‘singular artist’, by creating projects that are generated primarily by viewer/artist interaction. Fletcher instead acts as a kind of facilitator; for example, for ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant and Margaret Rose Vendryes

(b Cleveland, OH, 1959).

American printmaker, film maker, installation and conceptual artist and writer.

Green, of African descent, has worked primarily with film-based media, and has published criticism and designed installations that reveal her commitment to ongoing feminist and black empowerment movements. She earned her BA from Wesleyan University in 1981 and also spent some time at the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1980, returning in the late 1980s to study in the Whitney Independent Study Program, graduating in 1990. At the age of 24 she began exhibiting her comparative compositions containing found objects, images, and texts that question recorded history.

Green’s work deals with issues of anthropology and travel. By undertaking projects via the methodology of the 19th-century explorer, she exposed the arbitrary and prejudiced nature of classification, as in Bequest (1991; see 1993 exh. cat.), an installation she made at the invitation of the Worcester Museum of Art to commemorate their 50th anniversary. Using the museum as a ready-made stage set, she installed works of art alongside 19th-century texts explaining stereotypes of whiteness and blackness. Green characteristically intervened in the history of her chosen site to produce a fiction that included her own responses as an African American woman to her findings. In ...

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

Klaus Ottmann

(b New York, Sept 24, 1955).

American sculptor, installation artist, draughtsman, photographer, and writer. Horn studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and at the Yale University School of Art. From 1975 she began to travel frequently to Iceland, whose primordial, unstable landscape influenced her artistic practice.

Always intent to maintain the integrity of her chosen materials, be it solid glass, literature, or the volcanic topography of Iceland, Horn created complex relationships between the viewer and her work. She was less interested in the meaning of the work (the ‘why’ and ‘what’) and more in the interaction of action and being the ‘how’, ultimately creating art that unites both.

Her series of aluminium sculptures, which feature fragments from the writings of Franz Kafka and Emily Dickinson, such as Kafka’s Palindrome (1991–4) or Keys and Cues (1994), are reminiscent of the Minimalist sculptures of Donald Judd and Michael Fried’s famous definition of Minimalist art as ‘literal art’. However, Horn’s ‘literal’ transfer of words onto matter changes the meaning of both the original words and the materials used: taken out of context, the meaning of the original words becomes amalgamated with the meaning embedded in the material. By adding literacy to matter, the sculpture becomes nonliteral, but not devoid of content....

Article

Sarah Urist Green

revised by Julia Detchon

(b Santiago, Chile, Feb 5, 1956).

Chilean architect, public interventionist, installation artist, photographer, and filmmaker, active in the USA. He first studied architecture at the Universidad de Chile in Santiago, then filmmaking at the Instituto Chileno-Norteamericano de Cultura, Santiago, concluding in 1981. Throughout his career, Jaar’s works have taken many forms in order to address global themes of injustice and illuminate structures of power. In over fifty projects he termed “public interventions,” Jaar conducted extensive research around the world to create site-specific works that reflect political and social realities near and far from his sites of exhibition. He created works—in gallery spaces and in public, often engaging spectator involvement—that present images critically and confront the social and political interests they serve.

Jaar’s first public intervention was Studies on Happiness (1979–1981), a three-year series of performances and exhibitions in which he asked the question, “Are you happy?” of people in the streets of Santiago. Inspired by ...

Article

(b Newark, NJ, Jan 26, 1945).

American conceptual artist, designer, and writer. She enrolled at Parsons School of Design, New York, where her teachers included the photographer Diane Arbus and Marvin Israel (1924–84), a successful graphic designer and art director of Harper’s Bazaar, who was particularly encouraging. When Kruger’s interest in art school waned in the mid-1960s, Israel encouraged her to prepare a professional portfolio. Kruger moved to New York and entered the design department of Mademoiselle magazine, becoming chief designer a year later. Also at that time she designed book covers for political texts. In the late 1960s and early 1970s she became interested in poetry and began writing and attending readings. From 1976 to 1980 she lived in Berkeley, CA, teaching and reflecting on her own art. Kruger later taught at Art Institute of Chicago and joined the visual arts faculty of the University of California San Diego in 2002, and later the University of California Los Angeles, dividing her time between Los Angeles and New York....

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b Bronxville, NY, 1947).

American conceptual artist and photographer. She studied at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (BFA 1969), and became known for her museum-based installations, which call attention to the physical, economic and social trappings that define works of art in the West. Her pieces often include the works of other artists. In one series Lawler photographed certain works as they hung in the homes of collectors, along with their domestic surroundings and trappings: Pollock and Tureen (Cibachrome photograph, 1984; New York, Met.) shows the bottom edge of a Jackson Pollock painting and below it an 18th-century Chinese tureen with an ornate flower pattern on a wooden sideboard; the similarity of the colouring further encourages comparisons that can be made between such objects and questions of artistic sensibility. Lawler presented exhibitions in which she incorporated her own works within museum collections, including statements, photographs and questions: for example, in Enlargement of Attention (...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Liberty, NY, Sept 29, 1961).

American photographer, installation artist, film maker and writer. She dropped out of school at the age of 15, and began to take photographs after borrowing her mother’s camera a year later. Her early photographs were mainly aerial and landscape shots taken while travelling around America working at a variety of odd jobs. In the late 1980s and early 1990s Leonard took a number of photographs concerned with the control and representation of women, including a series of images of catwalk models taken from an low angle so that the model’s underwear is revealed, literally ‘undressing’ them; see for example, Legs, Geoffrey Beene Fashion Show (1990; see 1994 exh. cat.). She also continued to take pictures of the urban environment, sometimes focusing on graffiti, as in Blow Me (1994; see 1997 Basle exh. cat., p. 3). In 1993 Leonard collaborated with the Liberian-born American film maker Cheryl Dunye (...

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b Hazelton, PA, April 17, 1947).

American photographer and conceptual artist. She studied at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (BA 1969, MFA 1973). Biographical information on Levine is limited, since she has refused to participate in ‘myth-making’ associated with art production. She first gained critical attention in the early 1980s, when she was associated with Cindy Sherman, Robert Longo, David Salle and others known as Appropriationists for drawing on existing imagery from ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture. Her works have been interpreted as a commentary on the death of Modernism and its ideals, notions of artistic originality, the authenticity and autonomy of the art object and its status as a commodity. In Untitled (after Walker Evans) (10×8 photograph, 1981) Levine re-photographed a reproduction of a photograph by Evans. Such works articulated her fascination with the photographic process and its reproduction, while raising poststructuralist discourses on authorship, originality and history, from which they partly derive (...

Article

Susan Snodgrass

(b Madrid, Spain, 1961).

Chicago-based American sculptor also working in photography, video and installation. He received a BA in art and art history and a BA in Latin American and Spanish literature from Williams College in 1983. In 1989 he earned a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Manglano-Ovalle’s hybrid practice emerged with Tele-vecindario: A Street-Level Video Block Party, a public art project created for Culture in Action, a community-based art program in Chicago in 1992–3. Working with Latino youth in Chicago’s West Town community, an area often challenged by substandard housing, drugs and gang violence, the artist facilitated a multimedia portrait of their lives in which these youth constructed their own images and concept of self. Issues of identity, community and migration, as they relate to both cultural and geographic borders, have been explored throughout his prestigious career that includes collaborative modes of working, as well as individual works sited within the museum or gallery. For Manglano-Ovalle, culture encompasses a broad network of systems—artistic, political, environmental, scientific—in constant dialogue, negotiated by both artist and viewer....

Article

Lee Fontanella

(b New York, Nov 4, 1946; d Boston, March 9, 1989).

American photographer, sculptor and collagist. In the early 1970s, after studying at the Pratt Institute of Art in Brooklyn (1963–70), he produced a number of assemblages and collages from magazine photographs often altered by spray painting. In one such work, Julius of California (1971; Charles Cowles priv. col., see Marshall, p. 21), he drew a circle around the male figure’s genitals as a subversion of the usual practice of censorship. He soon began to take his own black-and-white photographs with a Polaroid camera, incorporating them into collages (e.g. Self-portrait, 1971; Charles Cowles priv. col., see Marshall, p. 17) or arranging them in sequences, as in Patti Smith (Don’t Touch here) (1973; artist’s col., see Marshall, p. 27), a portrait of the poet and singer who was one of his favourite models. Within a year of showing his Polaroids in his first solo show (New York, Light Gal., ...

Article

Celia Stahr

(b Bugok, South Korea, April 29, 1953).

American photographer and installation artist of Korean birth. Min came to the USA when she was seven and went on to study art at the University of California, Berkeley, receiving her BA in 1975, her MA in 1977 and her MFA in 1979. She has described herself as a child of Cold War politics and a member of the 1.5 generation who are Korean-born Americans. She occupies a liminal space, something that is often explored in her art. In Make Me (1989; see Cahan and Kocur, p. 85), she placed various texts, such as ‘Model Minority’, over four different bisected photographs of her face. These cut photographs with text force the viewer to confront common stereotypical images of Asian Americans.

In much of Min’s art, personal issues are tied to international power struggles, deCOLONIZATION (1991; see Neumaier, pp. 134–7), for example is a mixed-media installation that examines the social and psychological impact of colonialism on Korean women. In the centre of the installation a traditional Korean dress, on which there are handwritten excerpts in Korean and English from Won Ko’s poem ...