Asian American mixed-media and installation artist and cultural activist. Ken Chu came to the United States from Hong Kong in 1971, settling in California where he received a BFA in film studies from San Francisco Art Institute (1986). Relocating to New York City after graduation, his encounters with local Asian American artists, activists and cultural organizations supported his artistic efforts, in which he often drew upon subjects that emerged organically from personal experience in the US as a gay Asian man. Adopting popular cultural idioms from film and comics, while also drawing upon symbols and motifs from Chinese and other Asian cultures, his imagery from this pivotal period featured Asian men cast as prototypically American masculine figures, such as California surfers and cowboys, who populate colorful, imaginary scenarios of cross-cultural contact, mixing and desire. In Western societies, where the dominant norms are non-Asian and few viable role models for Asian men exist, Chu’s art strongly asserted their collective presence and place. His socially inspired work has since also engaged matters of anti-Asian violence, internalized racism, stereotyping, homophobia and the impact of AIDS on Asian diasporic communities....
(b Cologne, Germany, 1969).
American mixed-media artist of German birth and Asian descent. Ezawa studied at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf (1990–94) before moving to San Francisco in 1994. He received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute (1995) and an MFA from Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA (2003). Ezawa is not a photographer, but his work centers around photography; he has used a variety of media, from digital animations to paper collages and aquatint prints, to revisit some of the world’s most familiar, infamous and historically significant news photographs, television broadcasts and motion-picture stills (see The Simpson Verdict). All of Ezawa’s work utilizes the artist’s signature style of flat, simple renderings that are cartoonlike and also suggest the streamlined and colorful style of Pop artist Katz, Alex.
Ezawa’s project, The History of Photography Remix (2004–6), exemplifies his approach to exploring the power of photographs as a mirror of reality and yet also a force that can manipulate memories of events and people. The project consists of images appropriated from art history textbooks, such as American photographer Cindy Sherman’s ...
(b Valrico, FL, 1930).
American performance artist and sculptor. Hay started out in the performance scene at Judson Memorial Church in downtown New York City in the early 1960s. He arrived in New York from Florida in 1959, after studying at the Florida State University (1953–8). His wife, the dancer Deborah Hay, was a key figure in the Judson Dance Theater, launched in the summer of 1962, and Alex Hay performed in many of its productions. In the early 1960s he assisted Robert Rauschenberg on set designs for Merce Cunningham, and danced with him with roller-skates and parachutes in Rauschenberg’s now famous performance piece Pelican (1963). After these collaborations, Hay was invited to participate in 9 Evenings: Theater & Engineering at New York’s 69th Regiment Armory (fall 1966). This initiative, conceived by Rauschenberg with critical contributions from the engineer Billy Klüver, was an idealistic effort to pair artists with engineers, to merge art and new technologies. That project evolved into ...
Joseph R. Givens
(b Los Angeles, CA, May 3, 1932; d Los Angeles, CA, March 20, 2005).
American dealer, curator, and museum director. Hopps pioneered international awareness of Pop art and helped to establish Los Angeles as an internationally recognized art centre. He opened museum doors to contemporary art and paved the way for the explosion of the contemporary art market in the 1980s.
As a teenager, Hopps was introduced to modern art through frequent visits to the famous collection of Walter and Louise Arensberg. Hopps went to college to study medicine at the behest of his parents, first at Stanford University then at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), but classes in art history, jazz concert promotion, and the creation of Syndell Studio eclipsed his science curriculum. Hopps’s ambition for a large-scale exhibition of West Coast Abstract Expressionism outgrew Syndell’s salon-style space. In 1953 he arranged Action 1, one of the first exhibitions of action painting outside New York. Hopps’s partnership with artist Edward Kienholz...
(b Wethersfield, CT, Aug 10, 1942).
American fashion designer. Known for her exuberant, colourful designs, in the 1960s Johnson emerged as the most prominent designer in New York City’s pop scene—her use of unorthodox material was kindred to the Pop art mentality. Her designs project a sense of unabashed levity and humour that has endured.
Johnson fostered childhood aspirations of becoming a dancer, which produced an enthusiasm for costume and inspired her creativity in fashion. After one year of study at New York’s Pratt Institute, Johnson transferred to Syracuse University where, as an art major and drama minor, she took classes in fabric design. After graduating in 1964, she won Mademoiselle’s Guest College Editor contest, which garnered her an internship as assistant to the magazine’s fabric editor. During this time, she was introduced to the unconventional materials she would later use in her own designs, such as vinyl, foils, and even the industrial insulation used for space vehicles. The internship led to a position as an illustrator in ...
Deborah A. Middleton
(b Jackson, FL, 1925; d East Hampton, NY, March 4, 2015).
American sculptor. King’s figurative human representations are recognized for their often humorous character models, which blend smooth and rough surfaces to form a unique signature style. King’s sculptures are identified as Pop art and abstraction, and are represented by a diverse range of scales from the miniature to the monumental and executed with a versatile range of media, from clay to ceramics, wood, and welded or bent metals. His early influences were Isamu Noguchi and Elie Nadelman.
King attended the University of Florida between 1942–4, and moved to New York in 1945 to study at Cooper Union where he graduated in 1948 and continued studies in art at the Brooklyn Museum Art School in New York. King traveled to Europe on a Fulbright Grant to study in Rome Italy (1949–50) and in London at the Central School (1952). King’s first solo exhibition of sculpture was in ...
Eric M. Wolf
( Houston )
American art collection that opened in 1987. In 2015 the collection contained approximately 17,000 objects, specializing in modern and contemporary art (with particular strength in Surrealism, School of Paris, Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, and Minimalism), antiquities, Byzantine art, and the art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. While the vast majority of works in the museum come from the collection of its late founders, John and Dominique Menil, de, the museum continues to collect and grow its art collection.
The main building was designed by architect Renzo Piano and was his first solo museum commission (he had previously partnered with Richard Rogers in the design of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris) and his first commission in the USA. In 2013 this building won the Twenty-Five Year Award of the American Institute of Architects, recognizing architectural design of lasting significance. Sited in a residential neighbourhood in Houston’s Montrose district, the modestly scaled museum building is surrounded by bungalows, houses, and smaller satellite galleries creating a campus-like environment. These surrounding properties are owned by the Menil Foundation and are painted a grey matching that of the wooden cladding on the main building. The museum features the first iteration of Piano’s signature glass roof, here suspended over large ferro-concrete ‘leaves’ or fixed louvres, which regulate the natural light entering the galleries. In addition to gallery space, the main building contains a conservation laboratory with studios for painting, object, and paper treatment, a research library, archives, museum offices, and the second floor ‘treasure rooms’, a sort of curated art storage making a large portion of the museum’s collection immediately available to curatorial staff and visiting scholars....
Beth Dincuff Charleston
(b Ohio; Sept 12, 1953, d March 4, 2004, New York).
American fashion and textile designer ( see fig. ). Sprouse was democratic in his design references but esoterically concerned with the quality of his creations. He drew inspiration from many different forms of art and popular culture. He is best remembered for his association with Andy Warhol , his collaborations with Keith Haring and other artists on textile designs, and his translation of rock and roll, particularly punk, to fashion. These interpretive designs bridged the Pop art of the 1960s with the Post-modernism of the 1980s.
Dressed all in black with either a bandanna or knit cap on his head, Sprouse’s appearance belied his middle American upbringing. Born to an insurance salesman father and a stay-at-home mother, Sprouse showed an early talent for drawing and design. At the age of 14 his father arranged a summer internship for him at Bill Blass . After briefly studying at the Rhode Island School of Design, Sprouse began working with leading American fashion designer ...