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Article

Margo Machida

(b New York, Aug 16, 1949).

American printmaker and installation artist. Born and raised in New York City, Arai, a third-generation Japanese American printmaker, mixed-media artist, public artist and cultural activist, studied art at the Philadelphia College of Art and The Printmaking Workshop in New York. Since the 1970s, her diverse projects have ranged from individual works to large-scale public commissions (see Public art in the 21st century). She has designed permanent public works, including an interior mural commemorating the African burial ground in lower Manhattan and an outdoor mural for Philadelphia’s Chinatown. Other works include Wall of Respect for Women (1974), a mural on New York’s Lower East Side, which was a collaboration between Arai and women from the local community. Her art has been exhibited in such venues as the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, International Center for Photography, P.S.1 Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art, all New York and the Library of Congress, Washington, DC. She is the recipient of awards and fellowships from National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, and Joan Mitchell Foundation....

Article

Robert Buerglener

[motor car]

Architecture and the automobile have been intimately connected since the late 19th century. The attributes of cars required specific architectural solutions for manufacture, sales, and service. On a broader level, the overall built environment was forever changed by roadside structures designed to meet the needs of drivers.

Automobile factories evolved in tandem with mass production; modular form and open floor spaces provided flexibility in machine placement and possibilities for expansion as production needs changed. Detroit-based architect Albert Kahn, with his associate Ernest Wilby (1868–1957), set a new standard for 20th-century industrial buildings through innovative use of space and materials. For the Packard Company’s Building Number Ten (Detroit, 1905; enlarged 1909), Kahn used reinforced concrete to create modular bays, repeatable horizontally and vertically, with wide interior spans and large window surfaces. For Ford’s Highland Park factory (begun 1909; see fig.), Kahn designed a multi-building complex of reinforced concrete and steel-framed buildings that housed machinery strategically in the sequence of production. In Ford’s River Rouge manufacturing complex in Dearborn, MI (...

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 New Orleans, LA, March 15, 1873; d New Orleans, 1949).

American photographer. Bellocq is known to have worked as a commercial photographer in New Orleans from 1895 to 1940 and to have photographed for local shipbuilders and in the Chinese sector of New Orleans, although none of this work apparently survives. His photography is known only through prints made by Lee Friedlander from the 89 gelatin dry plate negatives found after Bellocq’s death. These negatives date from c. 1912 and are sympathetic portraits of prostitutes of New Orleans and interior views of their workplaces. Known as the Storyville Portraits, 34 were shown by MOMA, New York, in a travelling exhibition in 1970–71. Bellocq’s life was the subject of Pretty Baby (1978), a film by Louis Malle.

E. J. Bellocq: Storyville Portraits: Photographs from the New Orleans Red-light District, circa 1912 (exh. cat. by J. Szarkowski and L. Friedlander, New York, MOMA, 1970)G. Badger: ‘Viewed’, British Journal of Photography...

Article

Aileen June Wang

(b San Leandro, CA, Feb 3, 1972).

American performance and video artist of Chinese ancestry. Chang earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego in 1994. She showed her first solo exhibition at Jack Tilton Gallery, New York, in 1999. Her body of work focused on how people can be deceived, either through sight—what one sees is not necessarily true—or through mainstream assumptions about such topics as Asia, sexuality, and socially accepted behavior. Chang attributed her past stint in a cybersex company as the catalyst for exploring illusion as a theme. She realized that video flattened three-dimensional, live performances into a stream of two-dimensional images, enabling her to engage in visual deception.

Most of Chang’s early works investigated problems of gender and sexuality, using her own body and elements suggesting violence or transgression. The photograph Fountain (1999) depicted her inside a cubicle of a public lavatory, with a urinal visible on the far wall. Wearing a business suit, she knelt on hands and knees, seemingly kissing herself but actually slurping water off a mirror on the floor. The accompanying video focused on Chang’s face and her passionate interaction with her own reflection. While the photograph suggested female humiliation in a male world, the video complicated matters by implying that the act was motivated by narcissism....

Article

Lillian B. Miller

(b New York, Dec 11, 1848; d New York, Jan 18, 1931).

American businessman, collector, patron and dealer. He began collecting art in 1869 with paintings by American Hudson River school artists and conventional European works, Chinese porcelain, antique pottery and 17th- and 18th-century English furniture. By 1883 his taste had focused entirely on American works, especially on paintings by George Inness and Winslow Homer. By dealing in such works and by giving frequent exhibitions, Clarke enhanced the popularity of these artists, while also realizing large profits for himself. His founding of Art House, New York, in 1890 confirms the profit motive behind his collecting practices. The most notable sale of his paintings took place in 1899, when he sold at auction 373 contemporary American works at a profit of between 60 and 70%. Four landscapes by Inness—Grey, Lowery Day (c. 1876–7; untraced), Delaware Valley (1865; New York, Met.), Clouded Sun (1891; Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mus. A.) and Wood Gatherers: Autumn Afternoon...

Article

Alexandra Chang

Artists’ collective founded in 1982 by Bing Lee, Eric Chan (b 1975), Chung Kang Lok, Jerry Kwan (1934–2008), Ming Fay (b 1943) and Kwok, under the guiding principle of collaboration. Lee had also founded the Visual Arts Society in Hong Kong prior to Epoxy. While the original members had come to New York City’s downtown arts scene from Hong Kong, the collective ranged from four to eleven members and included artists from China, Canada and elsewhere, such as Zhang Hongtu (b 1943) and Andrew Culver (b 1953).

The group’s name originates from the epoxy resin gluing agent in which two different substances are blended to generate a third substance, which binds. The members felt that through collaboration, they could create projects that were singular to neither one nor the other member, and also suggest East and West cross-cultures. The group often worked with mixed-media, photocopied images, sound installation and projection, and dealt with topics concerning politics and religion....

Article

Nancy E. Green

[Tei shin; Kanō Yeitan Masanobu]

(b Salem, MA, Feb 18, 1853; d London, Sept 21, 1908).

American curator, scholar, collector, and educator. Fenollosa played a unique role in enhancing the appreciation of Japanese art in both its native country and within the USA. Educated at Harvard, after graduation he studied philosophy and divinity at Cambridge University, followed by a year at the newly founded art school at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He also formed important friendships with the collectors Edward Sylvester Morse, Charles Goddard Weld (1857–1911), and William Sturgis Bigelow (1850–1926).

In 1878, with an introduction from Morse, Fenollosa travelled to Japan for the first time, accompanied by his new wife, Lizzie Goodhue Millett, to teach political economy and philosophy at Tokyo’s Imperial University. Embracing Japanese art and culture, he became an active advocate for preserving the country’s art treasures and, with the Japanese artists Kanō Hōgai (see Kanō family §(16)) and Hashimoto Gahō, helped to revive the ...

Article

Anthony W. Lee

(b Gee Village [now Chu Village], Guangdong Province, China, Feb 22, 1906; d New York, NY, June 5, 1963).

American painter, poet, essayist and inventor. Gee traveled to San Francisco in 1921, joining his father, a merchant in Chinatown. In 1925 he enrolled at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute) where he took classes with Otis Oldfield (1890–1969) and Gottardo Piazzoni and experimented for the first time in oils. A year later he co-founded two separate art collectives, the Modern Gallery, comprised mostly of white artists with substantial European-based training, and the Chinese Revolutionary Artists’ Club, comprised exclusively of young Chinese immigrants. The differences between the groups reflected an ongoing tension in Gee’s professional and political ambitions between the search for newer forms of modern art and the desire to ennoble a diasporic Chinese sensibility. He initially developed a style of short, choppy brushwork and the juxtaposition of hot and cold colors, and subjects based on the people, streets and goods of Chinatown. He would later call this practice “Diamondism.”...

Article

American artists’ collective and support network formed in New York in 1990 by Ken Chu, Bing Lee and cultural critic, curator, and artist Margo Machida. The artists hoped to develop a network of artists and to document and build a discourse on Asian American art. The group disbanded in 2001.

The original members of the group included Tomie Arai, Ken Chu, Karin Higa, Arlan Huang (b 1948), Byron Kim, Colin Lee (b 1953), Bing Lee, Janet Lin, Mei-Lin Liu, Margo Machida, Stephanie Mar, Yong Soon Min, Helen Oji, Eugenie Tsai, and Garson Yu. This small group of artists, arts administrators and critics began by gathering in members’ apartments, but membership quickly grew to over 200 strong, which made it necessary for Godzilla’s meetings to be held in alternative art spaces throughout the city including Artists Space, The Drawing Center, and Art in General. Artists who later joined Godzilla included Allan deSouza (...

Article

Alan M. Fern

(b Nagasaki, Nov 8, 1867; d St Petersburg, FL, Nov 21, 1944).

American writer and lecturer of Japanese birth. He was born to a Japanese mother and German father and brought up by relatives in Hamburg and, from 1882, in Philadelphia, where he studied art. Under the influence of the poet Walt Whitman, he decided to become a writer. Later he worked as a journalist in Boston, where he launched a literary magazine. When publication ceased, he moved to New York and began his freelance career.

Hartmann’s first article for Camera Notes was published in 1898 by Alfred Stieglitz, and he made regular contributions to Camera Work until 1904, but thereafter he published wherever he could and became a lecturer. He was one of the best-known spokesmen for photography in America, criticizing any work that did not make use of the fundamental qualities of the medium. A severe judge of early American painting, he singled out only Gilbert Stuart and John Vanderlyn for praise. Among later 19th-century American painters he preferred followers of the Barbizon school. His impact as a critic had lessened by the 1920s, although his views on the standards of 20th-century painting and photography attracted renewed attention in the 1970s....

Article

Ellen Paul Denker

American ceramic factory. Homer Laughlin first produced white ironstone in 1873 with his brother Shakespeare, as Laughlin Brothers. The partnership was dissolved in 1877, and Homer Laughlin established the Homer Laughlin China Co. Semi-vitreous dinnerware made for hotels was added as a major product in the 1890s, and in 1896 the firm was formally incorporated. Laughlin retired two years later, but the firm continued to use its new name. By 1905 the company had three potteries in East Liverpool, OH, with a capacity of 36 kilns. Expansion of the operation continued in Newell, WV, and in 1929 all the manufacturing was consolidated there in five potteries. ‘Fiesta’, ‘Harlequin’ and ‘Eggshell’ were among the most popular domestic lines produced between 1935 and 1960. By the late 20th century the firm was one of the largest potteries in the world, producing domestic cooking- and dinnerware and hotelware.

W. C. Gates jr and ...

Article

Oscar P. Fitzgerald

Technique for imitating Asian Lacquer. Once Dutch and Portuguese traders imported lacquer ware from the Far East after 1700, Europeans became fascinated by this technique. Originating in ancient China, it spread to Japan where it is still practiced in the 21st century. The process involved the application of up to a hundred coats of lacquer produced from the sap of the Rhus vernicifera tree, native to China, Malaya, and Japan. Despite attempts to discover the secret, Europeans could not duplicate the process. Since the sap quickly congeals it did not travel well and was toxic like poison ivy.

In 1688 A Treatise of Japanning and Varnishing by John Stalker and George Parker explained how to imitate the process by applying shellac dissolved in alcohol over a gessoed surface (see Stalker and Parker). Black was the most common color but red, white, blue, green, yellow, olive brown, and imitation tortoise shell (black streaked with vermillion) were also known. After designs were drawn on the surface, a mixture of red clay or sawdust, whiting, and gum arabic was daubed into the outlines and the raised images were sculpted with engraving tools and then colored with metal dust. A variation called ...

Article

Margo Machida

(b Guangzhou, China, Sept 15, 1948).

Chinese multimedia artist. Raised in Hong Kong and Macau, Lee immigrated to the United States in 1973 to attend the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio (BFA 1977), followed by graduate studies at Syracuse University (1977–9). Moving to New York City in 1979, he became actively involved with the burgeoning downtown Manhattan arts community, where he created Graffiti and poster art, as well as outdoor slide theater works. Beginning in the 1980s, Lee co-founded three New York-based arts collectives: Epoxy Art Group (1981–7), Godzilla: Asian American Art Network (1990–2001) and Tomato Grey (2009). The first, Epoxy Art Group, involved project-oriented collaborations with artists from mainland China, Canada and Hong Kong that reflected their intersecting standpoints as Chinese living in the West. Godzilla: Asian American Art Network was a pan-Asian, intergenerational art group. Most recently, with Tomato Grey, Lee became involved with a new cohort of contemporary immigrant artists who endeavor to foster cultural exchange between arts practitioners in Hong Kong and New York City. Lee was a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts in New York (...

Article

Reena Jana

[Lee Seung-Hee]

(b Kye-Chang, Korea, 1970).

Korean photographer and filmmaker. Lee is known for her self-portraits, in which she presents herself in various ethnic and societal roles, from a middle-aged, low-income Hispanic party hostess to a young, wealthy Asian businesswoman. Lee received her BFA from the Chung-Ang University in South Korea in 1993, an AAS from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York in 1996, and an MA in Photography, New York University, 1999. For her Projects series (1997–2001), Lee immersed herself in various American communities for extended time, from a clique of teenage skateboarders to executives who work in midtown Manhattan, informing group members of her status as an artist while assuming the wardrobe, hairstyle and mannerisms of a fictional character she sought to portray. She then asked members of these social groups to photograph her using everyday cameras and no enhanced lighting or backgrounds. The result is a series of snapshot-like images depicting the artist taking on a multitude of temporary personalities. When seen together, the photographs suggest a mosaic of American experiences....

Article

Miwako Tezuka

(b Taegu, Korea, June 5, 1973).

Korean painter. When Moon moved to the USA in 1999 to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, she already had an MFA in painting from Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea. She eventually earned her second MFA from University of Iowa in 2002. In her ink and acrylic painting on paper, Moon combines references to popular culture with images and techniques reminiscent of her Asian cultural background such as calligraphy.

The essential characteristic of Moon’s work is its visual and material hybridity that owes much to her expertise in both Asian and Western painting traditions. Dynamic use of color, allover composition and depictions of quasi-organic motifs in Moon’s landscapes may suggest affinity to abstract painting by Helen Frankenthaler. Just as many Abstract Expressionists did, Moon’s composition envisions primordial landscape of a life-giving planet where chaos is destructive and creative at the same time. For example, Haven (...

Article

Miwako Tezuka

(b Okayama prefecture, Japan, Nov 18, 1885; d California, Oct 6, 1975).

Japanese-born American painter. Obata is known for his sumi ink paintings, watercolors and woodblock prints depicting California landscapes. After studying Nihonga (Japanese-style painting) at the Japan Fine Arts Academy in Tokyo, he moved to San Francisco in 1903 to pursue career in art, and soon began working as an illustrator for local publications for the Japanese American community. In 1921, when ethnic prejudice was still rampant, he co-founded the East West Art Society in San Francisco to foster multicultural communication through art. In 1928, he returned to Japan where he produced award-winning series of 35 woodblock prints of majestic landscapes of Yosemite, based on his extensive survey and sketches of the region in the previous year.

From 1932, Obata taught at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, but his career came to a halt with the outbreak of World War II, when he and his family were interned at Tanforan in San Bruno, CA, from ...

Article

Sara Stevens

A category of buildings designed to house retail and shopping. It includes arcades, department stores, shopping malls, strip centres, and big-box stores. Retail architecture exists in small towns, big cities, and suburbs: anywhere people congregate. It is as ubiquitous in time and space as the organized exchange of goods for money. It is distinguished from commercial architecture, which, in real estate and architectural practice, can refer more generally to any property that produces income for its investors or owners but does not refer to a building’s architectural function (i.e. retail).

Buildings housing commercial activity have existed since antiquity. Anthropologists have described exchange halls and commercial structures in many cultures, including Roman, Aztec, Tang dynasty China, and Mesopotamian. During the medieval and Renaissance periods, market halls and exchanges were built in cities such as Antwerp, Bruges, London, and Venice, sheltering trading activities at ground level and municipal government functions above (...

Article

Karin Higa

[ Yuzuru ]

(b Wakayama, Japan, March 12, 1900; d New York City, NY, May 8, 1990).

American painter of Japanese birth. Sugimoto immigrated to the USA in 1919, when he joined his parents, who had previously settled in Hanford, a central California farming community. In 1924, he enrolled at the California School of Arts and Crafts in Oakland (now known as the California College of the Arts) to study painting, and later continued at the California School of Fine Arts (now known as the San Francisco Art Institute). He traveled to Paris in 1929, where he studied at the Académie Colarossi and exhibited his paintings at the 1931 Salon d’Automne and regional exhibitions in nearby Crècy and Lagny. By 1932, he returned to San Francisco, where his landscapes of the French and California countryside garnered increasing attention, including a solo exhibition at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in 1933, and exhibitions at the Oakland Art Gallery (now Oakland Museum of California) and San Francisco Museum of Art (now San Francisco Museum of Modern Art). In ...

Article

Aileen June Wang

(b Hong Kong, 1950; d New York, March 10, 1990).

Chinese–American performance artist and photographer. Tseng grew up in Hong Kong, but immigrated to Canada with his family in 1966. He attended two years of university there before studying art in Paris from 1970 to 1974 at the Ecole Superior d’Arts Graphiques and the Académie Julian. He inherited an interest in photography from his father, who frequently photographed his family with a camera acquired while he was in the Nationalist Army. Experiences as a Chinese living abroad inspired Tseng’s East Meets West project, which defined his career from 1979 until his death from AIDS in 1990. The series of photographs examined the significance of tourist attractions as signs of nation and power, the intersection of local and visitor at these sites and the reception of the Chinese as the cultural other.

Tseng met Keith Haring after settling in Manhattan’s East Village in 1978 and the two became close friends and collaborators. He photographed Haring in the act of painting in his studio, the subway and other public venues, producing more than 40,000 images (Keith Haring Documentary Archives, Tseng Kwong Chi Estate). Both artists believed that the process of making art was like a performance and contributed to the meaning of the work. This perspective informed Tseng’s ...