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Article

Arthur Silberman

(d White Cone, AZ, Nov 15, 1917).

Native American Navajo painter. Begay was a prolific artist for over 50 years, and his work is familiar through paintings, book illustrations and screenprints, making him perhaps the best-known contemporary Native American painter. In 1934 he entered the Santa Fe Indian School (see Native North American art, §IV, 2) and joined the ‘Studio’ of Dorothy Dunn (1903–1990), where he was one of Dunn’s star students. In 1939, the year of his graduation, he painted one of the murals on the façade of Maisel’s trading post in Albuquerque, NM. With a scholarship from the Indian Commission, he went on to study architecture at Black Mountain College, NC.. Due to the public’s ready acceptance of his paintings, after his return from military service in World War II he became one of the first Native American artists to support himself by painting full-time. Widely exhibited, he was a consistent award-winner at exhibitions, and his work has been included in every important public and private collection of Native American art. In recognition of his contributions to Native American art he was awarded the French government’s Palmes Académiques in ...

Article

Tom Williams

(b Philadelphia, PA, Aug 30, 1943).

American illustrator and cartoonist. Crumb became prominent during the 1960s as one of the key figures in the development of the Underground Comix movement, which was comprised of a number of different artists who self-published comic books that addressed distinctly personal and often controversial themes. His work is frequently associated with the counterculture of that period and is notable for his candid depictions of drug use and sex. Although he was self-trained, he spent much of the early 1960s working as a greeting card illustrator in Cleveland, and he later went to work for the former Mad magazine illustrator Harvey Kurtzman’s Help! In 1967, he moved to San Francisco where he began to self-publish such comic books as Zap Comix, Despair and The People’s Comics that often featured characters such as Mr. Natural and Fritz the Cat. Many of these comics also included contributions by other significant cartoonists of the period such as S. Clay Wilson (...

Article

Matthias Ulrich

(b Lubin, Poland, Sept 11, 1967).

Polish draughtsman, sculptor, video, performance, and mixed media artist, active in the USA. She grew up in Sweden, where she studied Communications at Schillerska/Gothenburg University in Gothenburg from 1986 to 1987. After moving to New York, Mir earned her BFA for Media Arts at the School of Visual Arts in 1992, and from 1994 to 1996 she studied Cultural Anthropology at the New School for Social Research.

Mir’s practice as an artist refers to popular culture in general, focusing on images and ideas that influence and represent social reality, and investigating popular myths and technologies such as the cinematographic representation of images. The journey to the moon, for example, symbolizing the dominance of the United States during the Cold War, receives through Mir’s appropriation in First Woman on the Moon (1999) a critical reflection, taking into consideration patriarchal power structures as well as the apparent staging of reality through mass media. In her work ...

Article

Francis Summers

(b Dallas, TX, June 24, 1951).

American photographer. Nicosia studied Radio, Television and Film at the University of North Texas, Denton, completing his studies in 1974. His early photographic work used a frenetic comic book style, with actors expressively posed in front of bizarre hand painted backdrops, as in Near (Modern) Disaster no. 5 (1983; see 1999 exh. cat., p. 51). Nicosia moved away from such cartoon-style work and began to make more considered, although still staged, portraits such as Danny & Conny (1985; see 1988 exh. cat., p. 54). With his Real Pictures series, Nicosia moved out of contrived studio situations and used actors outdoors, as well as black-and-white film in pursuit of greater realism. Works such as Real Pictures no. 8 (1989; see 1999 exh. cat., p. 55), a dispassionately framed image of a man threatening a clown from his car, showed Nicosia’s interest in a collision of the morbid and the absurd. Nicosia subsequently made works both in the studio, such as ...

Article

Francis Summers

(b Tucson, AZ, June 16, 1957).

American draughtsman. He completed his BFA at UCLA, CA, in 1977. He is best known for acerbic drawings that pitilessly critique contemporary culture. Using the comic-book format of images with text, he began his career creating photocopied fanzines. Taking as one of his primary themes the failure of the 1960s’ subculture to resist authority, he savaged the hippy ethos, such as in an untitled drawing (1984; see 1995 exh. cat., p. 14) depicting a man resembling Charles Manson holding a bloodied knife near some dismembered feet; the text reads ‘somebody lit up a joint’. Distinguishing his work from the conceptual art that preceded him, Pettibon combined text and image to poetic and darkly lyrical ends rather than for intellectual or philosophical purposes. His use of text has more in common with that of Jenny Holzer or Barbara Kruger, in that the speaking voice seldom comes from one stable absolute position. Instead the text reads as a fragmented decentralized narrative, often ending abruptly without conclusion. The drawing style is also presented as a language, employed in such a way as to have the most direct communicative power. A variety of characters including semi-naked women, baseball players, surfers and comic-book figures are placed in a world of dark satire and metaphysical musings about art, as in ...

Article

Amy Fox

(b Washington, DC, Oct 6, 1948).

American graphic designer, illustrator, painter, and art educator. Throughout her schooling she attended art classes at the Corcoran School of Art, Washington, DC. She entered the undergraduate programme at the Tyler School of Art, Elkins Park, PA, in 1966 and was awarded a BFA in 1970. While at Tyler she learned concept development from Steve Tarantel and was encouraged to illustrate typography while studying under album cover designer Stanislaw Zagorski (b 1933). With a new-found interest in typography, she began to integrate words into designs without the rigid structure of the popular Swiss International Style.

Scher moved to New York City after graduation and took her first job as a layout artist for Random House children’s book division. Within a year she accepted a position designing advertising and promotions for CBS Records, an experience that taught her to develop and execute concepts quickly. In 1973 she became art director for Atlantic Records and in ...

Article

George Barnett Johnston

American indexed catalog of building components and manufacturers published annually since 1906. This multi-volume series, which organizes building product information, details, and specifications, is a standard reference for architecture, engineering, and construction industry professionals. It was launched as “Sweet’s” Indexed Catalogue of Building Construction in 1906 by Clinton W. Sweet, founder and editor of the journal Architectural Record, in response to an industry need for a more systematic and scientific approach to the organization of building product data.

During the 19th century local and craft-based building traditions in the United States were gradually displaced by the rise of industrial production and the establishment of integrated transportation and distribution networks. The concomitant formation of a national market in building products, combined with new printing and marketing techniques, yielded an onslaught of manufacturers’ advertising brochures and catalogs inundating architects’ offices. By the early 20th century, this widely recognized “catalog problem” overwhelmed architects’ libraries and stymied the increasingly complex task of selecting and specifying building products. ...

Article

Temma Balducci

American journal found in 1980. Woman’s Art Journal was founded in 1980 in Knoxville, TN, by the art historian Elsa Honig Fine and has been published biannually in May and November since that time. The inspiration for the journal came in part because other journals devoted to women and women’s art that had been started in the 1970s, such as Feminist Art Journal and Womanart, had ceased publication for various reasons despite their important contributions to the feminist art movement.

In its first issue, Fine indicated Woman’s Art Journal’s dual focus on “recording a hidden heritage” and the “reinterpretation of art history from our new awareness as women.” The first several issues of the journal fully reflect these areas of concentration. For example, women artists and critics, some of whom were well known and others hardly at all, had essays devoted to their work: Josephine Hopper, Anna Jameson, Louise Nevelson, Anna Mary Robertson Moses, and Katarzyna Kobro. Essays on broader issues important to women and women artists in these early issues focused on themes such as sexuality and maternity in the late 19th century, the use of nature as image and metaphor, and domestic madness in American art and poetry. Neither did the journal avoid controversial topics, devoting part of its second issue to Judy Chicago’s ...