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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

Erika Billeter

(b Salvador, Bahia, 1947; d Salvador, Bahia, Aug 9, 2009).

Brazilian photographer and sculptor. In 1964 he trained as a photographer in Berlin, returning to Brazil in 1966. He worked with the photographer Hans Mann in Rio de Janeiro, and as Fulvio Roiter’s assistant on the latter’s journey to Bahia. In 1969 he visited New York, and in the 1970s worked as a sculptor and photographer in São Paolo. In 1980 Cravo Neto won the prize for the best photographer of 1980 from the society of Brazilian art critics. This was in recognition of his extraordinary work in portrait studies, which he produced in front of a dramatic black background, as in Tep, the Indian (1980; see 1988 exh. cat.).

Cravo Neto, Mario La Ciudad de Bahia (Brasília, 1980)Mario Cravo visto da Mario Cravo Neto (Brasília, 1983) Brasil, fotografie di Mario Cravo Neto (exh. cat., intro. J. Amado; Venice, Pal. Fortuny, 1988)Cartographies: 14 artistas latinamericanos...

Article

Mary M. Tinti

[Mary Joan]

(b Hanover, NH, March 31, 1929; d Oakland, CA, Nov 11, 1989).

American sculptor, painter and photographer. Although born in New England, DeFeo moved to the San Francisco Bay Area with her family in 1931. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art from the University of California at Berkeley in 1950 and 1951, respectively. Honored with a university traveling fellowship, DeFeo spent a year and a half in Europe before returning to California. She married artist Wally Hedrick (1928–2003) in 1954 and the couple resided in San Francisco alongside fellow Beat-era, avant-garde talents Wallace Berman, Bruce Conner, Allen Ginsberg, and Michael McClure.

Despite the myriad of drawings, paintings, and photographs that made up her oeuvre, much of DeFeo’s career and reputation were subsumed by The Rose (1958–66; originally titled Deathrose, and briefly The White Rose; New York, Whitney), a monumental abstract painting whose legendary creation spanned the better part of a decade. For eight years, DeFeo painted, contoured, stripped, layered, worked and reworked the surface of her canvas, which eventually grew to 3.27×2.34 m. Fan-like folds of paint radiated from the center of ...

Article

Elizabeth Johns

(Cowperthwaite)

(b Philadelphia, PA, July 25, 1844; d Philadelphia, June 25, 1916).

American painter, sculptor and photographer. He was a portrait painter who chose most of his sitters and represented them in powerful but often unflattering physical and psychological terms. Although unsuccessful throughout much of his career, since the 1930s he has been regarded as one of the greatest American painters of his era.

His father Benjamin Eakins (1818–99), the son of a Scottish–Irish immigrant weaver, was a writing master and amateur artist who encouraged Thomas Eakins’s developing talent. Eakins attended the Central High School in Philadelphia, which stressed skills in drawing as well as a democratic respect for disciplined achievement. He developed an interest in human anatomy and began visiting anatomical clinics. After studying from 1862 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where instruction was minimal, Eakins went to Paris to enrol at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, in the studio of Jean-Léon Gérôme. From 1866 to the end of ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

[González-Torres, Félix]

(b Guaimaro, Cuba, Nov 26, 1957; d New York, Jan 9, 1996).

American sculptor and photographer of Cuban birth. He moved in 1979 to New York, where he completed a BFA in photography at the Pratt Institute (1983) and an MFA at the International Center of Photography, New York University (1987), as well as enrolling in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. In 1987 he joined Group Material, a New York-based group of artists whose intention was to work collaboratively, adhering to principles of cultural activism and community education. His own engagement as a gay man with socio-political issues, as well as his exploration of the way in which politics can infiltrate personal life, forms the background to his work, centred around the interaction of public and private spheres. In 1989 he presented his first stacked-paper work, Untitled (Memorial Day Weekend) and Untitled (Veterans Day Sale), exhibited together as Untitled (Monuments) (L. and R. Plehn priv. col., see ...

Article

Robert Saltonstall Mattison

(b New York, March 10, 1917; d Dec 21, 1992).

American sculptor, painter, and photographer. Throughout his career he was devoted to Surrealist ideas. He had no formal training, but at schools in New York, Colorado, and California he graduated in biology and chemistry, which may have influenced his interest in primal origins and the biomorphic shapes in his sculptures and paintings. He worked briefly as a commercial photographer in New York around 1940, experimenting in 1941 with a thermographic technique invented by the Surrealists in which the negative was melted to distort the image. From 1941 to 1944 he was one of the Americans most closely associated with the European Surrealist emigrés, and he edited the Surrealist magazine VVV with assistance from Duchamp, Breton, and Ernst. He became committed to the Surrealists’ exploration of psychic automatism and to their use of mythological subjects.

Hare’s first sculptures were plaster works produced in the mid-1940s and exhibited at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century Gallery in New York in ...

Article

G. Lola Worthington

(b Buffalo, NY, 1950).

Tuscarora artist, writer, educator, and museum director. Hill studied at the Art Institute of Chicago (1968–70), and was awarded a Master of Arts degree from SUNY, Buffalo, NY (1980).

Intrigued with Seneca General Ely Parker (General Grant’s Military Secretary), Hill investigated Parker’s life, which took him to Washington, DC, for two years. Hill began to identify with Parker’s experience and realized he would devote himself to enlightening others about Native American arts, knowledge, education, and culture.

Hill was skilled in painting, photography, carving, beading, and basket weaving, and many of these works are located at the Canadian Museum of Civilizations, Quebec; the Woodland Indian Cultural Center, Brantford, Ontario; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, OK; the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, Washington, DC; and the Seneca Iroquois National Museum, Salamanca, NY. He taught at McMaster University, Mohawk College, Six Nations Polytechnic, and SUNY at Buffalo. Hill developed a culturally based Seneca Language curriculum and training models for teaching....

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

Roberto Pontual

(b Kozienice, April 12, 1921).

Brazilian sculptor, printmaker, painter and photographer of Polish birth. He left Poland in 1943 to study in Minsk and Leningrad (now St Petersburg), followed by further study with Willi Baumeister in Stuttgart (1945–7). In 1948 he moved to Brazil, living in São Paulo and later in Paraná (1952–6) and Rio de Janeiro (1956–8). The Paraná jungle aroused an interest in nature that was first expressed in paintings and drawings of vegetable forms. After leaving Brazil for Ibiza (1963) he made reliefs in earth and stones, using nature as a raw material rather than merely as a subject. His subsequent engraved reliefs of leaves or sand furrows, and wooden sculptures of the Bahian coast mangrove trees or the Amazonian jungle, were as much an ecological as an aesthetic statement. He frequently used photography to draw attention to such issues as the scorched Brazilian forests, for example in his book ...

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

Morgan Falconer

(b New York, June 22, 1943; d New York, Aug 27, 1978).

American sculptor, film maker, photographer and draughtsman. The son of painter Roberto Matta, he studied architecture in Ithaca, NY, at Cornell University (1962–8), where he mixed with artists and showed little ability for his chosen subject. There he met Robert Smithson, whose interests in land art and the theory of entropy (concerned with dissipating energy) were a significant influence on him. On completion of his studies he moved to New York and became a well-known figure among artists in SoHo. He is best known for a series of ‘building cuts’ (1972–8) in which he carved sections out of old buildings, treating them (in the manner of modern sculptures) as spatial compositions; see Splitting, 1943–1978. Calling these transformations ‘Anarchitecture’, Matta-Clark carved the buildings up with a chain saw, documenting the changes in films and photographs subsequently exhibited in galleries, often alongside fragments of the buildings themselves. His most celebrated work, ...

Article

Tom Williams

(b Salt Lake City, UT, Aug 4, 1945).

American sculptor and performance artist. He studied at the University of Utah between 1966 and 1968 before receiving a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1969 and an MFA from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, in 1973. He is best known for the series of scatological and self-consciously perverse performances in which he has adopted such roles as a chef, an Abstract Expressionist painter, and even Santa Claus to explore complex psychoanalytic themes.

McCarthy’s early work participated in the late 1960s trends towards phenomenologically oriented installations and body art, but during the 1970s his work became increasingly preoccupied with transgressive bodily actions. In many of these performances, he would paint with his penis, insert objects into his rectum, or smear himself with ketchup or other viscous fluids. Such gestures often served to degrade and devalue conventional figures of authority or to expose the psycho-sexual underpinnings of contemporary culture. In his famous ...

Article

Terence A. Senter

(b Bácsborsod, Mohol Puszta, Hungary, July 20, 1895; d Chicago, Nov 24, 1946).

American painter, sculptor, photographer, designer, film maker, theorist, and teacher, of Hungarian birth. Moholy-Nagy’s importance in the 20th century is based as much on his theories as on his practical work. His ideologies related to the relationship between space, time, and light, and the interaction of man with these forces. His great achievement was that he applied his mystical outlook to highly practical enterprises and always recognized the purpose behind his creativity.

Moholy-Nagy’s ambition developed when he exchanged village life for the city of Szeged after his father left his family. Academically outstanding, Moholy-Nagy read law for a year at Budapest University before joining the artillery in World War I. Influential praise for his war sketches converted his aspiration from literature to art. His Expressionist style, social conscience, and investigation of light paralleled trends in the Hungarian avant-garde, from ...

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

Deborah A. Middleton

(b Fort Wayne, IN, Dec 6, 1941).

American conceptual artist. Recognized as one of the most influential, innovative, and provocative 20th century American artists, Nauman extended the media of sculpture, film, video, photography, and sound with performance and spatial explorations. Nauman attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1960 to 1964, with early studies in mathematics and physics, which broadened to the study of art under Italo Scanga (1932–2001). He received a master’s degree in Fine Art from the University of California, Davis in 1966 under William T. Wiley, Robert Arneson, Frank Owen (b 1939), and Stephen Kaltenbach (b 1940) and honorary degrees from the San Francisco Art Institute (1989) and California Institute of Art (2000). In 1966 he began to teach at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Nauman’s interactive artworks and performances explore the syntactical nuances of language, text, and figurative gesture to create material culture and in-between places, which often result in a heightened sense of physical and emotional awareness. Nauman’s artistic explorations of spatial perception, bodily consciousness, physical and mental activity, and linguistic manipulation were demonstrated in interactive spatial compositions that accentuated various relationships between the human body and built environments. Early works included body castings and holographic self-images with subsequent works situating the viewer within their own mental and bodily perceptions. In ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Jalapa, Veracruz, April 27, 1962).

Mexican sculptor, photographer and video artist. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City (1981–4) and at the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid (1986–7). In 1995 he worked in Berlin on a Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst (DAAD) grant. On his arrival in Berlin, Orozco bought a yellow Schwalbe (Swallow) motor scooter. This featured in a series of 40 Cibachrome photographs, Until You Find Another Yellow Schwalbe (1995; London, Tate), each of which shows this scooter paired with the identical models he came across in Berlin. The Schwalbe appears as a symbol of the recently defunct East Germany, where it had been produced, but also as a more general symbol of obsolescence. The strategy of reframing found objects (often as banal as pieces of fruit) is central to Orozco’s work, providing a connection between public and private spheres. This reframing is usually based on formal alignment or coincidence, for instance with ...

Article

W. Jackson Rushing

(b St Paul, MN, June 8, 1916; d New York, Oct 25, 1992).

American painter, sculptor, and photographer. His father, Nathaniel Pousette-Dart (1886–1965), was a painter and critic. Pousette-Dart grew up near Valhalla, NY, and moved to New York in 1936, where, as a self-taught artist, he had his first one-man show in 1941. He taught at the New School for Social Research (1959–61), the School of Visual Arts (1964), and Columbia University (1968–9), all in New York; at Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY (1970–74), and at the Art Students League, New York (1980–85).

Pousette-Dart’s early paintings, typified by Desert (1940; New York, MOMA), are a synthesis of Cubism, the organic Surrealism of Miró, archaic pictographs, and indigenous American and African art. The zoomorphs, totemic forms, and elemental signs of his early paintings and sculptures are related to an interest in a Jungian primal consciousness. The youngest of the Abstract Expressionists, he was the first to paint on a heroic scale, as in ...

Article

Klaus Ottmann

(b Panama Canal Zone, Aug 6, 1949).

American painter, sculptor, and photographer. An enigmatic, tight-lipped artist whose biography consists mostly of fictional accounts, he is best known for his Cowboys series (1980–84), photographic appropriations of Marlboro cigarette advertisements that glorified the American West. Prince may have gotten the idea to create collages and rephotographed ‘copies’ of existing images while he was working in the Time-Life Building in New York in the 1970s, cutting texts out of magazines for copywriters. Works made during the 1980s also include the Gangs series, rephotographed images of biker girls and fashion models, usually framed (or ‘ganged’ together) in groups of nine or twelve. Together with Sherrie Levine, Prince constituted the second generation of appropriation artists (after Elaine Sturtevant and Richard Pettibone (b 1938) who began appropriating works by Pop artists in the 1960s), as part of the so-called ‘pictures generation’.

In the late 1980s Prince began making Joke...

Article

Marco Livingstone

(Milton Ernest)

(b Port Arthur, TX, Oct 22, 1925; d Captiva Island, FL, May 12, 2008).

American painter, sculptor, printmaker, photographer, and performance artist. While too much of an individualist ever to be fully a part of any movement, he acted as an important bridge between Abstract Expressionism and Pop art and can be credited as one of the major influences in the return to favour of representational art in the USA. As iconoclastic in his invention of new techniques as in his wide-ranging iconography of modern life, he suggested new possibilities that continued to be exploited by younger artists throughout the latter decades of the 20th century.

Rauschenberg studied at Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design from 1947 to 1948 under the terms of the GI Bill before travelling to Paris, where he attended the Académie Julian for a period of about six months. On reading about the work of Josef Albers he returned to the USA to study from autumn 1948 to spring ...