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Mary M. Tinti

(b Houston, TX, 1951).

American sculptor, installation and conceptual artist. His multimedia works investigate the pathology of contemporary culture. Mel Chin was born and raised in Houston, Texas to parents of Chinese birth and received his BA in 1975 from the Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. The works in Chin’s oeuvre are diverse in both medium and subject, but a consistent undercurrent of social, political, and environmental responsibility runs throughout. Whether a sculpture, film, video game, installation, public project or earthwork, Chin’s artworks consistently targeted a broad spectrum of pressing cultural and ecological interests and spread their message in subtle, if not viral ways.

In the 1980s, Chin produced a number of sculptures that set the stage for his ever-evocative artistic journey. The Extraction of Plenty from What Remains: 1823 (1988–9) is a frequently referenced piece from this period. It is a symbolic encapsulation of the effects of the Monroe Doctrine, referencing the complicated dealings between the US (represented by truncated replicas of White House columns) and Central America (represented by a cornucopia of mahogany branches, woven banana-tree fiber, and a surface layer of hardened blood, mud, and coffee grinds). From the 1990s, however, Chin moved away from strictly gallery-based installations and began creating works that directly engaged contemporary culture in a variety of physical and theoretical landscapes....

Article

James Smalls

(b Somerville, NJ, 1955).

African American sculptor, printmaker, and conceptual artist. He grew up in New Jersey and attended the Boston University School of Fine Arts, the School of Visual Arts and the Art Students League of New York City. Cole is best known for assembling and transforming ordinary domestic objects, such as irons, ironing boards, high-heeled shoes, lawn jockeys, hair dryers, bicycle parts and other discarded appliances and hardware into imaginative and powerful configurations and installations embedded with references to the African American experience and inspired by West African religion, mythology and culture. Visual puns and verbal play characterized his works, thereby creating layered meanings. The objects he chose were often discarded mass-produced American products that had themselves acquired an alternate history through their previous handling and use.

In 1989, he became attracted to the motif of the steam iron both for its form and for its perceived embodiment of the experience and history of the unknown persons who had previously used it. He referred to the earliest versions of these irons as ‘Household Gods’ and ‘Domestic Demons’. With them, he engaged with ideas utilizing not only the found object but also the repetitive scorch mark of the iron arranged in either purely decorative patterns or in such ways as to suggest a face or African mask (...

Article

Annie Dell’Aria

American painter, sculptor, conceptual artist, writer and curator. Hammond became active in feminist and lesbian art circles following her move to New York in 1969 after receiving her BA from the University of Minnesota in 1967. Hammond soon co-founded the feminist cooperative gallery AIR in ...

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b Gallipolis, OH, July 29, 1950).

American installation and conceptual artist. Her studies included general art courses at Duke University, Durham, NC (1968–70), and then painting, printmaking, and drawing at the University of Chicago before completing her BFA at Ohio University, Athens (1972). In 1974 she took summer courses at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, entering its MFA programme in 1975 and beginning her first work with language, installation, and public art. Holzer moved to New York in 1977. Her first public works, Truisms (1977–9), appeared in the form of anonymous broadsheets pasted on buildings, walls, and fences in and around Manhattan. Commercially printed in cool, bold italics, numerous one-line statements such as ‘Abuse of power comes as no surprise’ and ‘There is a fine line between information and propaganda’, were meant to be provocative and elicit public debate. Thereafter Holzer used language and the mechanics of late 20th-century communications as an assault on established notions of where art should be shown, with what intention and for whom (e.g. ...

Article

Pierre-François Galpin

(b Cincinnati, OH, May 21, 1937).

Pierre-François Galpin

American sculptor, performance and installation artist, and curator.

Marioni was a key figure in the conceptual art movement in the San Francisco Bay Area throughout the 1970s. After attending Cincinnati Art Academy from 1955 to 1959, he moved to San Francisco. Marioni created a large body of work exhibited around the world and in museums’ collections, and promoted fellow artists’ works through exhibitions and magazines. From 1968 to 1971 he was the curator of the Richmond Art Center in Richmond, CA, a northern suburb of San Francisco.

Marioni’s pioneering artworks included One Second Sculpture (1969), an art action in which he released a tightly coiled metal tape-measure into the air, letting it spread to then fall on the ground; the action and its result, between performance, sculpture, and time-based art, encompassed Marioni’s notion of ‘idea-oriented art’. His signature piece The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art...

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b Los Angeles, CA, Aug 4, 1944).

American sculptor. He did not have a formal art education. McCollum has stated that formative influence in his work included the Fluxus movement of the 1960s and the work of conceptual artists, such as Sol LeWitt and Daniel Buren. In 1975 he moved to New York. Departing from the notion of a work of art as a rare object of unique value, he introduced a procedure of studio manufacture of precast models made in unlimited editions. The series of Perfect Vehicles (exh. New York, Cash–Newhouse Gal., 1986) comprised small versions, cast in solid enhanced plaster (Hydrocal), of larger vessels that were sealed and painted in Moorglo on concrete, and first shown in the 1988 Venice Bienniale. Over 10,000 Individual Works (exh. New York, John Weber Gal., 1987) comprised precise rows of miniature units moulded from found objects, painted in enamel on solid-cast Hydrocal. McCollum scrupulously avoided aspects of ironical parody typical of Pop art. His works were not presented as decorative accessories or social commentary but as physical signs of the mechanical drives of existence—of repetitious behaviour and patterns of market-based relationships. For his ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Leicester, Feb 4, 1969).

English sculptor and painter, active in the USA. Monk came to prominence in the late 1990s for work situated, highly self-consciously, within the tradition of conceptual art. Taking up various strategies that had become popular in the 1960s, such as wall paintings, monochromes, ephemeral sculpture, and photography, his work has been consistently preoccupied with being part of the second generation of the movement. Hence the photographic series None of the Buildings on Sunset Strip reprised Ed Ruscha’s series of 1966, All of the Buildings on Sunset Strip: Monk’s images merely show the turn-offs on the road. While this is intended as a witty homage, it also betrays an anxiety about how to draw on work that was never intended to serve as a model or basis for a continuing movement. This preoccupation with development and appropriation has been furthered in other ways in Monk’s art: in the exhibition at Yvon Lambert, Paris, in ...

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b Ossining, NY, Aug 3, 1936; d Chicago, April 30, 1977).

American conceptual artist, draughtsman, and sculptor. She trained but never practised as a nurse. In 1960 she took her first art classes at the Jacksonville Museum, Jacksonville, FL. Morton then attended the University of Rhode Island, Kingston (1965–8), where she received her BFA, and the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia (MFA, 1970). Having first exhibited at the McLennon Community College, Waco, TX, in 1969, in 1970 she showed work in the Contemporary American Sculpture Annual at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. In 1972 Morton moved to New York. In her work she explored an interdisciplinary approach in installations. She acknowledged the influences of Morris family §(2), Bruce Nauman, Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois, Claes Oldenburg, and Richard Artschwager. Her formal concerns centred on spaces, enclosures, and boundaries, and included pictures, found objects, sculptures, and her signature trait—delineations of spaces with dotted lines, usually tape, on gallery walls and floors in loosely ordered arrangements. In many of her installations there are strong mythological and metaphorical suggestions, evocative of Native American ceremonies, mysterious rituals, and Japanese gardens. Her installation ...

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

Francis Summers

(b Midland, MI, Aug 8, 1952).

American painter, draughtsman, sculptor and conceptual artist. Rejecting the notion of a signature style, he instead occupies other styles in a chameleon-like way. Rather than taking codified notions of ‘pop’ culture as was done by the previous generation of American artists, or appropriating wholesale images or objects, in the manner of the New York Neo-Geo artists, Shaw has developed a methodology of mimicking styles and incorporating them into his encyclopaedically deranged projects. His primary interest seems to be in the overlooked creative production of the American public at large, as is attested to by his collection of thrift-store paintings, which he showed in both galleries and museums.

Inspired by the cut-up technique used by the American novelist William S. Burroughs, in his first major project, My Mirage (1986–91), Shaw used a fragmented and hallucinatory narrative to chart the changing psyche of his alter-ego Billy, charting his development from adolescence, through his discovery of sex and drugs, to his subsequent fall and finally to his rebirth through organized religion. In this project, Shaw kept each of the works to a standardized size (17×14 in.) in order to give cohesion to images produced in a wide variety of styles. Such works as ...

Article

(b Mamou, LA, July 31, 1941).

American sculptor and conceptual artist. He grew up in a rural, French-speaking Cajun community. He studied art and anthropology from 1959 at the University of South Western Louisiana, Lafayette (BA, 1963). Sonnier then travelled to England, France, and Italy and studied at the Academy in Paris with André Lhote. He then attended Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ (MFA, 1964), studying under Robert Morris and joining the Rutgers Group, an informal association of artists who had developed a type of Minimalism from found materials. Sonnier’s first exhibition was at Douglass College, New Brunswick, in 1966. During the late 1960s he produced wall reliefs and floor-based sculptures in cheesecloth, foam-rubber, and other soft materials. Sonnier consistently used a diversity of materials to evoke cultural, psychological and mystical associations. Neon Wrapping Incandescent Light: Triple Loop (neon and incandescent bulbs, 2400×1325×375 mm, 1969; Sylvia Perlstein priv. col.) is a multi-sensory, highly sensual installation, comprising both visual and auditory elements. Beginning in the 1970s Sonnier made numerous works composed of neon bulbs, plate glass, and mirrors. In the 1990s and 2000s he created neon works for gallery and architectural settings, including ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Lakewood, Ohio, 1930; d Paris, May 7, 2014).

American painter, sculptor and conceptual artist. Although notoriously reluctant to reveal biographical details including her date or place of birth, she went on record as having studied at a remarkable number of institutions including the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Art Students’ League in New York, the University of Iowa, the University of Zurich and Columbia University in New York. She quickly rose to notoriety in the late 1960s for her appropriation of famous images by contemporary Pop artists. Her choice of artistic models was carefully made, as the Pop artists had themselves mimicked the appearance of found objects and ready-made images from advertising, commercial art and photography. One of her first such works was a copy of Jasper Johns’s Flag exhibited at a group exhibition in 1965; in 1966 she held a solo exhibition consisting entirely of reproductions of screenprinted paintings from Andy Warhol’s ...

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b Holyoke, MA, Feb 12, 1943).

American photographer, video artist, conceptual artist, sculptor, draughtsman and painter . He studied painting at the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA (BFA 1965), and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (MFA 1967). During these years he produced Minimalist sculptures and paintings. In the early 1970s he used video and photography, primarily as a means of documenting such conceptual works as Untied On Tied Off (1972), a photograph of the artist’s feet with one shoe on, untied, the other with the shoe tied to his ankle. These documents gave way to photographs that took on greater artistic qualities in terms of composition and technique, while he continued to use concepts and approaches seen in the earlier pieces (particularly irony, humour and satire on both popular culture and the high culture of contemporary art). He was most well known in the 1970s for his photographic and video works featuring his Weimaraner dog, Man Ray. By ...

Article

Tracy Fitzpatrick

(b Bronx, NY, 1954).

American sculptor, installation and conceptual installation artist. Wilson was born in the Bronx, attended the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan, and received his BFA from Purchase College, The State University of New York in 1976.

While at Purchase College, Wilson studied performance art and dance and also served as a guard at the Neuberger Museum of Art. After college, he worked in various capacities at several New York City museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History. In 1987, he became the director of the Longwood Arts Project, where he organized “Rooms With a View,” an exhibition for which he borrowed museum experiences, weaving together art objects, display space, and institutional labels to interrogate methods of museum display and the meanings generated therein. This strategy, an Institutional Critique that Wilson referred to as “tromp l’oeil curating,” has emerged as the focus of his artistic practice....