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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

Deborah Cullen

(Henry) [Spinky]

(b Charlotte, NC, Nov 29, 1907; d April 27, 1977).

African American painter, sculptor, graphic artist, muralist and educator. In 1913, Charles Alston’s family relocated from North Carolina to New York where he attended DeWitt Clinton High School. In 1929, he attended Columbia College and then Teachers College at Columbia University, where he obtained his MFA in 1931. Alston’s art career began while he was a student, creating illustrations for Opportunity magazine and album covers for jazz musician Duke Ellington.

Alston was a groundbreaking educator and mentor. He directed the Harlem Arts Workshop and then initiated the influential space known simply as “306,” which ran from 1934 to 1938. He taught at the Works Progress Administration’s Harlem Community Art Center and was supervisor of the Harlem Hospital Center murals, leading 35 artists as the first African American project supervisor of the Federal Art Project. His two murals reveal the influence of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera (1886–1957). His artwork ranged from the comic to the abstract, while often including references to African art. During World War II, he worked at the Office of War Information and Public Information, creating cartoons and posters to mobilize the black community in the war effort....

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

Eva Meyer-Hermann

(b Sonthofen, Allgäu, Aug 1, 1944).

German painter, sculptor and environmental artist. He studied in Kassel between 1964 and 1967, first at the Werkkunstschule and then at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste with Arnold Bode. In 1969 he moved to Cologne. His first journey to Morocco in 1970 was decisive for the course of his artistic development, and thereafter Marrakesh was his second home. At Documenta 5 in Kassel (1972) Buthe was one of the artists whose work was grouped under the heading of ‘Individuelle Mythologien’, exhibiting the environment Homage to the Sun (see von Weise, p. 21).

Buthe’s works cannot be characterized by one style, but rather they emerge from an attitude that makes no differentiation between art and life. The artist builds spaces (for himself), using a large variety of materials, which may be transitory, ‘poor’, or precious (e.g. gold), as well as trivia: everyday objects as well as keepsakes become cult objects, fetishes, linked to folk myths and fairy tales. Murals or installations were built up on a collage principle, and earlier works could be reworked with a new status. Sumptuous colours and imagery such as stars, suns, palm-trees and stylized flowers reveal the influence of Africa, for example ...

Article

Annika Öhrner

(b Stockholm, Aug 30, 1888; d Stockholm, April 28, 1973).

Swedish painter, designer and sculptor. Derkert studied at the Kungliga Akademien för de Fria Konsterna (Royal Academy of Fine Arts), Stockholm. She went to Paris in 1913 where she visited the Académie Colarossi, Académie de la Grande Chaumière and Académie Russe. In 1914 she travelled around Algiers with some female artist friends. The same year she met the Finnish artist Valle Rosenberg (1891–1919); their son Carlo was born in Italy in 1915. From 1915 to 1916, influenced by urban life and the avant-garde scene in Paris, Derkert developed a fine Cubist idiom in landscape paintings and portraits (see fig.). During this period Derkert, together with Rosenberg, also took an interest in fashion design (see sig.). Derkert returned to Stockholm in 1916 and the following year she staged a modern dance piece at the Theatre Intiman, in which she also danced and designed the costumes (together with Rosenberg who sent drawings from Italy). Her visionary designs were discovered by the fashion house Birgittaskolen (directed by Elisabeth Glanzberg) in Stockholm and she received a contract for two annual collections for women’s fashion. She worked with them until the house went bankrupt in ...

Article

Renato Barilli

(b Rosario, Santa Fé, Feb 19, 1899; d Comabbio, nr Varese, Sept 7, 1968).

Italian painter, sculptor and theorist of Argentine birth. He moved with his family to Milan in 1905 but followed his father back to Buenos Aires in 1922 and there established his own sculpture studio in 1924. On settling again in Milan he trained from 1928 to 1930 at the Accademia di Brera, where he was taught by the sculptor Adolfo Wildt; Wildt’s devotion to the solemn and monumental plasticity of the Novecento Italiano group epitomized the qualities against which Fontana was to react in his own work. Fontana’s sculpture The Harpooner (gilded plaster, h. 1.73 m, 1934; Milan, Renzo Zavanella priv. col., see 1987 exh. cat., p. 118) is typical of his work of this period, with a dynamic nervousness in the thin shape of the weapon poised to deliver a final blow and in the coarse and formless plinth. Soon afterwards, together with other northern Italian artists such as Fausto Melotti, Fontana abandoned any lingering Novecento elements in favour of a strict and coherent form of abstraction. In ...

Article

Deborah A. Middleton

(b Berkeley, CA, Nov 4, 1944).

American sculptor, painter, and printmaker. Heizer’s earthworks erected in the vast desert expanses of the American Midwest marked the beginning of the Heizer, Michael movement of the 1960s and liberated art from the confines of the art gallery. Heizer’s early experience and exposure to desert landscapes and Native American culture was influenced by his father Robert Heizer, an important American archaeologist, and his maternal grandfather Olaf P. Jenkins, who was an important early American geologist. He attended the San Francisco Art Institute (1963–4) to study painting and moved to New York (1966). In 1967 Heizer left New York to return to the American Midwest with colleague Walter De Maria, and began artistic collaborations with James Turrell and Robert Smithson to explore the making of land art.

Heizer’s early paintings explored the interaction of two-dimensional and three-dimensional geometric forms influenced by the Abstract Expressionists of the late 1940s and 1950s. By ...

Article

Kristina Van Kirk

(b Long Beach, CA, Sept 12, 1928).

American painter and sculptor. He studied at the Otis Art Institute (1948–50) and at the new and progressive Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles (1952–4), where he adopted an Abstract Expressionist painting style. Through his association with the Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles (1959–66), he came into contact with such artists as Ed Moses (b 1926) and Billy Al Bengston. Irwin disdained his early paintings for their lack of ‘potency’. In the early 1960s he began a continuous series of experiments. He broke with figuration, searching like Minimalist artists for a way to make the work of art autonomous in content, that is representing nothing but itself, as in the Disc series that he began in 1966 (exh. 1968, Pasadena, CA, Norton Simon Mus. A.). Designed to exacting dimensions, colour tones, and lighting criteria, the Discs appeared suspended, free from the wall and comprising an uncertain mass that dematerialized into its environment....

Article

Vanina Costa and Lin Barton

(b Bristol, June 2, 1945).

English sculptor, photographer and painter. He studied at West of England College of Art in Bristol (1962–5) and from 1966 to 1968 at St Martin’s School of Art, London, where his fellow students included other artists who were redefining the terms of sculpture in England, among them Hamish Fulton, Jan Dibbets, Gilbert and George, and John Hilliard. Within a year of his departure from St Martin’s, Long was closely associated with the emergence of a new art form, Land art, having already produced such works as A Line Made by Walking (1967; London, Tate), a photograph of the trail left in the grass by walking back and forth in a straight line; another work, England (1968; London, Tate), consists of an X shape made by cutting off the heads of flowers in a field, again presented in the form of a photograph.

Long made his international reputation during the 1970s with sculptures made as the result of epic walks, sometimes lasting many days, to remote parts of the world, including desert regions of Africa as well as Australia, Canada, Japan, Switzerland and Norway. Guided by a great respect for nature and by the formal structure of basic shapes, especially circles, he never allowed facile exotic connotations to intrude into his work, although some of his sculptures evoked the mysterious connotations of ancient stone circles and other such monuments. Different modes of presentation, sometimes combined, were used to bring his experience of nature back into the museum or gallery. These included, above all, photographs documenting the sculptures left behind in their original setting, such as ...

Article

Suzaan Boettger

(b Passaic, NJ, Jan 2, 1938; d Amarillo, TX, July 20, 1973).

American sculptor, painter, and writer. In his brief professional life Robert Smithson originated a new genre, Earthworks, which led to ensuing forms of Land art and equally influentially, wrote pungent essays. As Andy Warhol exemplifies the United States’ expansive, driven commercial optimism of the early 1960s, Smithson’s oeuvre makes him the icon of the abject Post-minimalist, anti-Establishment, Vietnam War era of the late 1960s through early 1970s.

As with most sculptors of the time, Smithson trained as a painter, beginning at the Art Students League in New York City while a junior at Clifton High School, New Jersey, and after his 1956 graduation, continuing at the League and briefly at the Brooklyn Museum School. Following a year in the Army Reserves and hitchhiking trips around the United States, he resided in Manhattan. Eschewing college, Smithson’s début solo show was at the Artist’s Gallery, Manhattan, in 1959. Smithson and Nancy Holt, who attended Clifton High concurrently, met in ...