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Article

Andrew Weiner

(b Beirut, 1925).

Lebanese painter and writer active in the USA. Daughter of a Greek Christian mother and a Syrian Muslim father, Adnan was educated in Lebanon before going on to study philosophy at the Sorbonne, Harvard, and the University of California, Berkeley. For many years she taught aesthetics at Dominican College, San Rafael, CA; she also lectured and taught at many other colleges and universities. During the 1970s Adnan regularly contributed editorials, essays, and cultural criticism to the Beirut-based publications Al-Safa and L’Orient-Le Jour. In 1978 she published the novel Sitt Marie Rose, which won considerable acclaim for its critical portrayal of cultural and social politics during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War. Adnan published numerous books of poetry, originating in her opposition to the American war in Vietnam and proceeding to encompass topics as diverse as the landscape of Northern California and the geopolitics of the Middle East. Her poetry served as the basis for numerous works of theater and contemporary classical music....

Article

Klaus Ottmann

American not-for-profit organization founded in 1909 that initiates and organizes art exhibitions and provides educational and professional programs in collaboration with the museum community. Established by an act of Congress in 1909, after former Secretary of State and US Senator Elihu Root called for the founding of an organization “whose purpose is to promote the study of art, the cultivation of public taste, and the application of art to the development of material conditions in our country,” the American Federation of Arts (AFA) is one of the oldest art organizations in the country and serves nearly 300 museum members in the USA and abroad. Root’s then revolutionary proposal was unanimously endorsed by representatives of 80 American art institutions in attendance. Among the 35 founders, in addition to Root, were presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft, as well as artist William Merritt Chase and businessmen Mellon family §(1), and J(ohn) Pierpont Morgan...

Article

Deborah Cullen

One of the oldest and largest artist-run schools of art instruction in the USA. The Arts Students League (ASL) was founded in 1875 by and for art students, many of whom were women. It opened largely in response to student dissatisfaction with the classes and conservative leadership at the National Academy of Design (NAD), then the predominant school of art instruction. The Academy had been founded in 1825 by artists including Samuel F(inley) B(reese) Morse, Asher B(rown) Durand, and Thomas Cole. Faced with financial difficulty, it was rumored that live figure drawing classes were to be canceled at the Academy, and therefore students and concerned teachers called for a meeting to initiate a new program of art instruction. The Art Students League was independently funded by tuition fees and vowed that life drawing would always be available. The mission of the ASL remains to emphasize the importance of artistic creativity, to maintain the greatest respect for artists who devote their lives to art and to educate students in the process of making art in an environment where anyone who wishes to pursue an art education can realize their full potential....

Article

Matico Josephson

American multi-ethnic arts organization based in New York’s Chinatown. The Asian American Arts Centre (AAAC) and its predecessors, the Asian American Dance Theatre (1974–93) and the Asian Arts Institute (1981–8), emerged from the milieu of the Basement Workshop, the first working group of the Asian American Movement on the East Coast, whose mouthpiece was the journal Bridge (1970–81). After the closing of the Basement Workshop in 1987, the Dance Theatre and the Asian Arts Institute were consolidated as the AAAC.

Directed by Eleanor S. Yung, the Dance Theatre was at the core of the organization’s activities from the 1970s through the early 1990s, performing traditional dances from several Asian cultures alongside modern and postmodern forms. In the early 1980s, the Asian Arts Institute began to hold exhibitions and collect slides of artists’ work and documentation of their activities, working primarily with artists involved in the downtown art scene. Early programs included open studio events for artists working in Chinatown and exhibitions of the work of Arlan Huang (...

Article

(b Brooklyn, NY, Nov 4, 1940).

American graphic designer, installation artist and design educator. De Bretteville attended Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, NY, and was included in the school’s Art Squad by teacher and artist Leon Friend, who submitted his students’ work to national competitions. She received a prestigious Alex Award, named after the designer Alex Steinweiss, also a former member of the Art Squad. She received a BA in art history from Barnard College, New York in 1962 and received her MFA in the graphic design program at Yale University’s School of Art in 1964. She joined the faculty of the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and founded the first design programme for women in 1970. In 1981 she founded the communication design programme at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles (now the Otis College of Art and Design), which was at the time affiliated with the Parsons School of Design in New York. In ...

Article

Sharon Matt Atkins

(b Oakland, CA, Aug 26, 1925; d Tucson, AZ, June 4, 2009).

American painter, printmaker and teacher. Colescott produced highly expressive and gestural paintings that addressed a wide range of social and cultural themes and challenged stereotypes. Interested in issues of race, gender and power, his work critiqued the representation of minorities in literature, history, art and popular culture. Stylistically, his work is indebted to European modernism, particularly Cubism and Expressionism, but also makes references to African sculpture, African American art and post–World War II American styles.

Colescott was introduced to art at an early age. His mother was a pianist and his father was a classically-trained violinist and jazz musician. Through his parents’ social circles, he often found himself surrounded by creative individuals as he was growing up, like his artistic mentor, the sculptor Sargent Johnson (1888–1967). Colescott received his BA in 1949 and later his MFA in 1952 from the University of California, Berkeley. He also studied with ...

Article

James Smalls

(b New York, NY, Dec 9, 1919; d New York, NY, Oct 27, 2009).

American photographer and teacher. A central figure in post-war American photography, DeCarava strongly believed ‘in the power of art to illuminate and transform our lives’. Using Harlem as his subject, DeCarava created groundbreaking pictures of everyday life in that enclave of New York. He is also known for scenes of civil rights protests of the early 1960s, images of jazz musicians, and lyrical studies of nature.

DeCarava studied painting and printmaking at the Cooper Union School of Art, the Harlem Community Art Center, and the George Washington Art School. He took up photography in the late 1940s and quickly mastered its vocabulary. In 1952, DeCarava won a Guggenheim Fellowship—the first awarded to an African American photographer. The scholarship allowed him to spend a year photographing daily life in Harlem. These pictures brought a new moderation and intimacy to the photographing of African Americans and their social environment. Perhaps his most memorable photographs were those that appeared in the book ...

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

Dennis Raverty

(b Birmingham, AL, Oct 17, 1955).

African American painter, writer, film production designer, and multimedia installation artist. Marshall’s works portray idealized subjects derived from African American experience in large-scale, multiple-figure paintings and installations that share many characteristics with European history painting in the “grand manner” of Peter Paul Rubens, Benjamin West, Jacques-Louis David, and the 19th-century academic tradition. This “high culture” Euro-American tradition is juxtaposed with elements of African American vernacular culture in order to reinsert African American subjects and aesthetics into the larger mainstream of America’s artistic and cultural history—a history from which, the artist believes, blacks have been largely excluded.

Marshall was born in Birmingham, AL, one of the most segregated cities in the United States at that time, and the site of civil rights demonstrations in the early 1960s. He moved with his parents in 1963 to Nickerson Gardens public housing project in Watts, CA, just a few years before the riots there. Consequently, the struggles of the civil rights movement profoundly affected him and are a major theme in his mature work....

Article

Benjamin Flowers

[Thom]

(b Waterbury, CT, Jan 19, 1944).

American architect and educator. Mayne trained at the University of Southern California (BA 1968) and Harvard (MArch 1978) and his work is influenced by the twin traditions of Russian Constructivism and Postmodern deconstruction. Many of his buildings grapple with both questions of form (in particular its relation to program) and the shifting nature of materials. He, along with Frank O(wen) Gehry, is among the best known of a generation of West Coast architects to emerge from the turbulent social and cultural milieu of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

As a young boy Mayne moved with his mother to Whittier, CA, where he was, by his own account, something of a loner and a misfit. Mayne matriculated at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, but soon transferred to the University of Southern California whose faculty at the time included Craig Ellwood, Gregory Ain and Ralph Knowles. After completing his bachelor of architecture in ...

Article

Alissa Walker

(b Decatur, IL, Oct 12, 1945).

American graphic designer and design educator. In 1964 a trip to the Museum of Modern Art during the New York World’s Fair exposed Katherine McCoy to the world of design, yet when she applied to Michigan State University intending to major in architecture, the counsellor suggested the more historically female profession of interior design. She enrolled in the industrial design programme, receiving a BA in 1967, and took her first job as a graphic designer at Unimark International, Detroit. The corporate design firm was where McCoy was exposed to the stark simplicity of modernist and Swiss design, with an emphasis on typography, both influential for McCoy’s subsequent work. After a year at Chrysler Corporation’s Corporate Identity Office, McCoy worked at the Boston firm Omnigraphics, and then at Designers and Partners, an advertising design studio in Detroit.

In 1971 McCoy founded the practice McCoy & McCoy, Inc. with her husband, the industrial designer Michael McCoy (...

Article

Gary Schwartz

[Jean-Michel]

(b Paris, Oct 3, 1928; d Branford, CT, July 26, 2005).

French art historian and economist, active in the USA. Montias was a specialist in Eastern European command economies who in mid-career changed fields and became a historian of Dutch painting. His interest in the subject was threefold. Before he began writing on Dutch art, he collected it, with the advice of a leading specialist in the field, Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann, a fellow professor at Yale University. This led him to pursue knowledge concerning the minor masters he could afford, which brought him closer to the basics of the Dutch art world. It was an approach diametrically opposed to how most students learn about this material, which is from the iconic masterworks down. His second focus of interest was economic. Three-quarters of a century after the appearance of the last, largely anecdotal survey of the economics of Dutch art, by Hanns Floerke, Montias applied the techniques of neo-classical economics to the field in a way that was accessible to art historians. Entirely on his own, he opened up new perspectives that inspired art historians, economists, and economic historians alike to revisit the subject of Dutch art. Thirdly, Montias was entranced by 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

Deborah Cullen

(Raphel)

(b Brooklyn, New York, 1934).

American performance artist, educator and founder of El Museo del Barrio, New York. Ortiz grew up in New York and received his BFA and MFA from Pratt Institute in 1964, and his PhD in Fine Arts and Fine Arts in Higher Education at the Teachers College of Columbia University, 1982.

In the late 1950s, Ortiz began exploring ritual and destruction. Taking found filmstrips, he placed them in a medicine bag and used a hatchet to cut them into pieces. He then spliced them together in random order, creating a series of short, cut-up films. This led to his first private, ritually transformed domestic objects between 1959 and 1961, which often included cushions, chairs and sofas from his studio worked over several days, and the Archaeological Finds series between 1961 and 1967. He authored Destructivism: A Manifesto between 1957 and 1962.

Carrying out public Destruction Ritual Realizations between 1965 and 1970...

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 ...

Article

Joe Coates

American design and photography studio. Founded in 1979 in Boston by Nancy Skolos (b 1955) and her husband Tom Wedell (b 1949), the pair worked collaboratively creating compositions that used photographic images by Wedell and typography and designs by Skolos. Their dynamic and complex designs and collages have been compared to the work of Cubists and Russian Constructivists.

Skolos’s father was an industrial designer and mother was a music teacher. She studied industrial design at the University of Cincinnati (1975–7) before transferring to the Cranbrook Academy of Art (BFA 1977), where she became a student of Katherine and Michael McCoy. Though admitted to the programme as an industrial design student, Skolos gravitated toward graphic design and showed a particular affinity for typography. She went on to pursue a graduate degree in graphic design at Yale University, where she met and worked with designers such as Alvin Eisenman (...

Article

Elizabeth Meredith Dowling

(b Oakland, CA, April 23, 1948).

American architect, educator, historian and writer. Smith’s lasting contribution to architecture was reintroducing the teaching of classical and traditional design that had been supplanted in American architectural education by modernist precepts. These modernist ideas originated in the early 20th-century at the Bauhaus in Germany.

Smith’s academic training began in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts in painting from the University of California at Berkeley. After an extensive period of study and travel in Europe, including trips to Rome and Vicenza, he refocused his training on architecture and received a Master of Architecture in 1975 from the University of California at Berkeley. Smith’s early architectural projects expressed the current Postmodern style that incorporated historic elements in an otherwise modern building. His growing interest in canonical classicism influenced his decision to apply for the Rome Prize in Architecture, which allowed him to study at the American Academy in Rome in 1979. He was included in the seminal ...

Article

Patricia Hills

(b Boston, MA, June 9, 1924).

American painter, poet, teacher and feminist activist. Raised in the working-class neighborhood of Quincy, a suburb of Boston, from an early age Stevens was interested in art and literature. She studied for four years at the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, and moved to New York in 1947, where she studied at the Art Students League. There she met the painter Rudolf Baranik , a Lithuanian émigré who had fought in the US army during World War II. They married and traveled to Paris in late 1948, remaining there for three years, during which time Stevens attended the Académie Julian and her son was born.

Back in New York in 1951, Stevens worked at the Museum of Modern Art and later taught at the High School of Music and Art. From 1961 to 1996 she taught part-time at the School of Visual Arts. In the early 1960s she painted works inspired by the “Freedom Riders”: students who traveled south to register black citizens to vote. In ...

Article

Marita Sturken

Culture of images and visuality that creates meaning in our world today. This includes media forms such as photography, film, television, and digital media; art media such as painting, drawing, prints, and installations; architecture and design; comic books and graphic novels; fashion design, and other visual forms including the look of urban life itself. It also encompasses such social realms as art, news, popular culture, advertising and consumerism, politics, law, religion, and science and medicine. The term visual culture also refers to the interdisciplinary academic field of study that aims to study and understand the role that images and visuality play in our society; how images, gazes, and looks make meaning socially, culturally, and politically; how images are integrated with other media; and how visuality shapes power, meaning, and identity in contemporary global culture.

The emergence of the concept of visual culture as a means to think about the role of images in culture and as an academic field of study is a relatively recent phenomenon, emerging in the late 1980s and becoming established by the late 1990s. There were numerous factors that contributed to the idea that images should be understood and analysed across social arenas rather than as separate categories, including the impact of digital media on the circulation of images across social realms, the modern use of images from other social arenas (such as news and advertising) in art, and the cross-referencing of cultural forms displayed in popular culture and art. It was also influenced by the increasingly visible role played by images in political conflict and a general trend toward interdisciplinarity in academia....

Article

Louise Sandhaus

( Yvonne Elizabeth Stella )

(b Ontario, May 31, 1953).

American graphic designer, art historian and art educator of Canadian birth. She studied at Michigan State University, East Lansing, transferring in 1973 to the design programme run by Katherine McCoy at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI, receiving her BFA in 1975. She then worked for Vignelli Associates in New York from 1977 to 1978, while researching the history of American graphic design post World War II on weekends. Her personal research led to further study at Yale University (1982). While at Yale she designed Perspecta 19, Yale’s architectural journal, followed by the Chamber Works and Theatrum Mundi portfolios for the architect Daniel Libeskind (b 1946), and architect John Hejduk’s book Mask of Medusa in 1985. These projects launched her reputation for thoughtful and distinctively designed books on architecture, art and design.

Her 1982 MFA thesis, entitled Trends in American Graphic Design: 1930–1955, was quickly recognized as an important contribution to design scholarship and subsequently led to many commissions for essays. While teaching in the University of Houston’s architecture school during the early 1980s, Wild wrote the influential essay ‘More Than A Few Questions about Graphic Design Education’ (...