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Article

Ewa Mikina

(b Zawory, nr Gdańsk, June 15, 1934).

Polish painter, sculptor and stage designer. He studied at the Higher School of Plastic Arts in Poznań between 1952 and 1958. His abstract work has a certain affinity with hard-edge painting and Minimalism. In his early paintings the circular or oval shape of the canvas restates the shape of the form painted on it and thereby becomes its real analogue (as in Double Circles and Circle Compositions, 1962–5). At about the same time he produced sculptures made from thin wire. In the paintings after 1965 the actual space becomes a part of the composition and begins to supplant painted, illusory forms; and the ‘empty’ space starts to play an increasingly important role (e.g. Structural Painting with Hole, 1965).

At the end of the 1960s Berdyszak produced the series of double and triple Integral Paintings, in which the initial formal composition is subjected to multiplication and modification. The sculptures from this period are loosely assembled groups of simple, geometrical elements that allow the viewer to rearrange them. Between ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b New Haven, CT, 1949).

American painter. He completed a BA at Trinity College, Hartford, CT, in 1971 and later settled in New York. Initially influenced by Post-minimalism, process art and conceptual art, he was soon attracted to the tactility and allusions to the body in the work of Brice Marden, Robert Mangold and Robert Ryman. Spurred on by the revival of interest in Surrealism in the 1970s, Dunham began to make abstract, biomorphic paintings reminiscent of the work of Arshile Gorky and André Masson, executed with a comic twist enhanced by lurid colours and the suggestion of contemporary psychedelia. In the 1980s he began to paint on wood veneer and rose to prominence in the context of a broader return to painting in the period. Age of Rectangles (1983–5; New York, MOMA) is a highly abstract composition of differing forms, symptomatic of his work at this time: geometric sketches co-exist with eroticized organic shapes while the forms of the wood veneer show through the surface of the paint to suggest surging forces. Towards the end of the 1980s he began to move towards single, dominating motifs; wave-like forms were particularly common. In the ...

Article

(b New York, April 1, 1933; d Riverhead, NY, Nov 29, 1996).

American installation artist and painter. His father intended him to become a priest and from 1947 to 1952 he attended a seminary in Brooklyn, New York. In 1954 he studied at the University of Maryland Extension Program in Osan-Ni in Korea and in 1956 at the New College for Social Research in New York. He continued these art history studies in 1957–9 at Columbia University, New York, but was self-taught as an artist. His early work of the late 1950s and early 1960s was influenced by contemporary American art and included paintings with added objects.

By 1961 Flavin had begun to make Minimalist works using incandescent or fluorescent electric lights, such as Icon I (1961; see 1969 exh. cat., p. 125), which consisted of a monochrome painted wooden square with a fluorescent light mounted on the top edge. He frequently dedicated pieces to historic and contemporary art figures who inspired him. A series of ‘monuments’ dedicated to Russian Constructivist Vladimir Tatlin extended this technique into what became his mature style: installations, usually temporary, using white or coloured fluorescent light tubes (...

Article

Harry Rand

[Dambrowsky, Ivan]

(b Kiev, 1881/6; d London, 1961).

Polish theorist and painter, active in the USA. Though few immigrants maintained ties to Europe as strong as John Graham’s, his titanic effect upon the direction and development of American art surpassed that of many critics and influential artists—an unlikely reality (because of his improbable bearing and background), acknowledged by his artistic disciples and chronicled in fact.

His family were minor Polish aristocrats long resident in Russia. He studied law at the University of Kiev then became a Tsarist cavalry officer to fight the Revolution. After being captured by the Bolsheviks, he escaped to western Europe and by 1920 had arrived in the USA. He changed his name, believing that Graham looked similar to the Cyrillic orthography of Dambrowsky. In New York Graham studied in 1921 under John Sloan at the Art Students League while maintaining contacts with Russian artists including Mikhail Larionov and David Burlyuk. Active as an artist in the 1920s, he corresponded with the American collector Duncan Phillips, who acquired several of his paintings. Graham was acquainted with Picasso (an influence he eventually rejected but not before confusing the situation by claiming they were born in the same year, thus forever muddying the facts of his life) and in the late 1920s had one-man exhibitions in both the USA and Paris. In New York he became prominent as the principal link between modernist artists in New York and Paris. In ...

Article

Deborah A. Middleton

(b Berkeley, CA, Nov 4, 1944).

American sculptor, painter, and printmaker. Heizer’s earthworks erected in the vast desert expanses of the American Midwest marked the beginning of the Heizer, Michael movement of the 1960s and liberated art from the confines of the art gallery. Heizer’s early experience and exposure to desert landscapes and Native American culture was influenced by his father Robert Heizer, an important American archaeologist, and his maternal grandfather Olaf P. Jenkins, who was an important early American geologist. He attended the San Francisco Art Institute (1963–4) to study painting and moved to New York (1966). In 1967 Heizer left New York to return to the American Midwest with colleague Walter De Maria, and began artistic collaborations with James Turrell and Robert Smithson to explore the making of land art.

Heizer’s early paintings explored the interaction of two-dimensional and three-dimensional geometric forms influenced by the Abstract Expressionists of the late 1940s and 1950s. By ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Edinburgh, March 5, 1962).

Scottish painter. He studied at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen (1980–84), and Edinburgh College of Art (1984–5). In 1988, after a period spent working in Amsterdam, Innes changed his figurative style for a Minimalist abstraction. Since that time, his forms have been created by applying oil paint to canvas, then dissolving and etching into it with turpentine. His restrained and considered aesthetic, often described in spiritual terms, is based strongly on a process involving the physical interaction of the materials with the physical actions of the artist. From the late 1980s he concentrated on series exploring certain painterly processes, each given simple generic titles such as Identified Form, Monologue and Exposed Painting. The vertical format of much of his work, for instance Exposed Vertical on Grey (1992; see 1992 exh. cat.), in which a single white dribble-line bisects a uniform and radiant grey surface, suggests a connection with the spiritual inclinations of earlier abstract painters such as Barnett Newman. The tactility of his paint surfaces, a key aspect of his aesthetic, suggests comparisons with older Minimalist painters such as Robert Ryman; his serial approach and typically modernist concentration on material and surface can be compared with that of the Abstract Expressionists and Minimalists in general. His muted palette of the late 1980s gave way to stronger colours in the mid-1990s. The ‘Exposed’ series, including ...

Article

Klaus Ottmann

(b Torrington, CT, 1945).

American painter. He studied at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston from 1964 to 1966 before settling in New York. From 1967 to 1969 Jenney made Minimalist sculptural work using a variety of materials including electric light fixtures, corrugated tin sheeting, and aluminium. In the late 1960s, during a time when most young artists were abandoning painting for sculpture, performance, or conceptual art, Jenney began producing paintings enclosed by aggressively three-dimensional frames that continued to reveal his early training as a sculptor; in many cases the title of the work was displayed in bold letters on the frame itself. In the first such pictures he created blunt representation through wilfully artless brushwork, which he referred to as ‘bad paintings’. In Them and Us (1969; New York, MOMA), for example, the Cold War is symbolized by the images of a Soviet fighter airplane and an American set in an atmosphere of agitated brushwork. By the 1980s, when a younger generation of artists rediscovered painting, Jenney turned his attention toward the 19th-century landscape painting of the Luminists and the Hudson River School, adopting and refining their techniques (his so-called ‘good paintings’). From ...

Article

Alfred Pacquement

Reviser Tom Williams

(b Excelsior Springs, MO, June 3, 1928; d New York, Feb 12, 1994).

American sculptor, painter, and writer. After a mandatory term in the US Army between 1946 and 1947, Judd spent brief periods studying art at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA (1948–9) and at the Art Students League in New York City (1948 and 1949). He subsequently completed a BA in philosophy (1950–53) at Columbia University and later returned to pursue, but not complete, an MA in art history (1958–60). In 1959, he began writing art criticism for publications such as ARTnews and Arts Magazine and, in the early 1960s, he was better known as a critic than as an artist. In this capacity, he became an enthusiastic supporter of artists such as Lee Bontecou, John Chamberlain, Dan Flavin, Yayoi Kusama, Claes Oldenburg, and Frank Stella, and many of his essays played an important part in critical debates throughout the decade and during subsequent years. After his first one-man exhibition in ...

Article

Ulrike Lehmann

(b Nice, April 28, 1928; d Paris, June 6, 1962).

French painter, sculptor, performance artist and writer.

He was the son of the Dutch-born painter Fred Klein (b 1898), whose work was representational, and Marie Raymond (b 1908), who developed a reputation in the 1950s as an abstract artist, and whose abstraction was influential on the development of her son’s work. Although he had had no formal art training, he was already making his first serious attempts at painting by 1946 and showing his interest in the absoluteness of colour by formulating his first theories about monochrome. In 1946 he befriended Arman, with whom he was later to be associated in the Nouveau Réalisme movement, and the writer Claude Pascal, whom he met at a judo class. Together they developed their interest in esoteric writing and East Asian religions. Klein became a student of the Rosicrucian Fellowship in 1946 and was influenced both by its mystical philosophy and by judo. In ...

Article

Monica Bohm-Duchen

(b Brentford, Middx, Jan 22, 1934).

English painter and sculptor. He was taught drawing and watercolour painting as a child by his maternal grandmother but otherwise received no formal artistic training. In 1957 he moved to St Ives, Cornwall, where he painted and made pots. In 1959 he made his first ‘field’ images (see 1978 exh. cat., figs B, C and D), mystically minimalist records of his response to the natural environment, which set the pattern for all his subsequent work. Between 1961 and 1964 he extended these into Metaphysical Field Paintings (see 1978 exh. cat., fig. L) incorporating hieroglyphic symbols. The paintings of Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman were to prove a particular inspiration to him, as was his exploration of both Eastern and Western philosophy, psychology, palaeontology, poetry and alchemy. In the mid-1960s he instituted a long series of ‘black’ paintings, which were his best-known contribution to Minimalism. Although they might at first appear to be dark monochromes, they in fact consist of a subtle layering of different colours in a particular sequence as indicated in titles such as ...

Article

Pauline I. A. Bullard

(b Bronxville, NY, Oct 15, 1938).

American painter and printmaker. He studied at Boston University School of Fine and Applied Arts, receiving his BFA in 1961, and from 1961 to 1963 at Yale University School of Art and Architecture in New Haven, CT. Settling in New York in 1963, in the following year he produced his first single-panel monochromatic paintings, such as Decorative Painting (1964; priv. col., see 1975 exh. cat., pl. 1), through which he contributed to the emerging aesthetic of Minimalism. In such works he reacted against the dominance of gestural techniques in second generation Abstract Expressionism by emphasizing the subtlety of surface and colour within the spatial and structural limits of the rectangle. Bringing together the painterly quality of Abstract Expressionism with the intellectual rigours of Minimalism, Marden achieved a balance between emotional intensity and formal simplicity.

In his early paintings Marden left a bare narrow margin at the bottom edge of the thickly worked surface of oil mixed with wax to allow the observer to be witness to the process. In later works such as ...

Article

Francis Summers

(b Berkeley, CA, Dec 9, 1934; d New York, NY, April 8, 2011).

American painter and sculptor. McCracken studied at the California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA, from 1957 to 1965. Associated with a form of West Coast Minimalism oriented more toward light and colour than the work of their New York counterparts, his greatest concern was with visual experience as a spiritual and cognitive process. Having begun as a painter, he moved toward a more object-based aesthetic, making rigorously abstract works that lie between coloured sculpture and painting; they take the form of basic gestalt objects, such as cubes or rectangles. One of his earliest works, Blue Post and Lintel (1965; see 1995 exh. cat. p. 7), used a basic building block of architectural form. Presented as perfectly finished objects, his characteristic works are monochromatic with extremely polished surfaces that seem at the same time to deny their own objecthood, almost becoming abstract visual ideas. His signature works are his ‘planks’, rectangular objects resting on the floor and leaning against a wall, such as ...

Article

Christopher Want

Term used in the 20th century, in particular from the 1960s, to describe a style characterized by an impersonal austerity, plain geometric configurations, and industrially processed materials. It was first used by Burlyuk family, §1 in the catalogue introduction for an exhibition of John Graham’s paintings at the Dudensing Gallery in New York in 1929. Burlyuk wrote: ‘Minimalism derives its name from the minimum of operating means. Minimalist painting is purely realistic—the subject being the painting itself.’ The term gained currency in the 1960s. Accounts and explanations of Minimalism varied considerably, as did the range of work to which it was related. This included the monochrome paintings of Yves Klein, Robert Rauschenberg, Ad(olph Dietrich Friedrich) Reinhardt (see fig.), Frank Stella, and Brice Marden, and even aspects of Pop art and Post-painterly Abstraction. Typically the precedents cited were Marcel Duchamp’s ready-mades, the Suprematist compositions of Kazimir Malevich, and Barnett Newman’s Abstract Expressionist paintings. The rational grid paintings of ...

Article

Derrick R. Cartwright

(b Kansas City, MO, Feb 9, 1931).

American sculptor and painter. He studied (1948–50) at the University of Kansas City and then at the Kansas City Art Institute. By 1951 he was in San Francisco and attended the California School of Fine Arts, but he interrupted his studies after a year to serve in the Army Corps of Engineers. During his tour of duty he visited Arizona and Korea. In 1953 he moved to Reed College in Oregon, where he spent two years. He returned to San Francisco in 1955 and spent the rest of the decade engaged in experimental dance and improvisational theatre. His first one-man exhibition took place there in 1957. From 1961 to 1963 Morris studied art history at Hunter College in New York, where he settled.

Morris’s early sculpture tended to emphasize a banal repertoire of form and subject-matter, while attempting to investigate the role of language in artistic representation. Metered Bulb...

Article

Morgan Falconer

Reviser Mary Chou

(b Tokyo, 1962).

Japanese painter and sculptor. He studied at Tokyo National University of Fine Art and Music (BFA 1986, MFA 1988, PhD 1993). Murakami began to gain recognition as a sculptor in the early 1990s. Drawing on Minimalism and conceptual art, his work often explored the clash between contemporary Japanese and American culture. Sea Breeze (1992), which was made in response to an island location, consists of a large trailer with shutters that open to emit a powerful light; it suggests something of the aggressive, sardonic character of his work, as well as the influence of commercial display. In the late 1990s Murakami gained more recognition as a painter, and began to blend abstraction and cartoon imagery in highly coloured images painted in flat space. Some works are abstract: Cream (1998) depicts a long skein of blue-white seminal fluid flying across a pink backdrop. Others, such as ...

Article

Neo-Geo  

Tom Williams

[Neo-geometric; Neo-minimalism]

Term typically applied to a diverse group of artists that emerged in New York during the mid-1980s, including Ashley Bickerton, Ross Bleckner, Peter Halley, Jeff Koons, Allan McCollum, Haim Steinbach, Philip Taaffe and Meyer Vaisman. Although the artists associated with this term differ greatly from one another, it is frequently used in relation to two tendencies: on one hand, to artists that simulated modernist geometric abstraction and, on the other, to a group of appropriation artists who borrowed imagery from contemporary consumer culture. The term has sometimes been characterized as a marketing ploy, but it has also appeared in many retrospective accounts of the period. It is sometimes described as shorthand for New Geometry or Neo-Geometric Conceptualism and is often used more or less interchangeably with commodity art, Neo-Conceptualism, New Abstraction and Simulationism.

“Neo-Geo” was first used in reference to a 1986 exhibition at the Sonnabend Gallery in SoHo that included Bickerton, Halley, Koons and Vaisman. These artists were particularly associated with the emerging East Village art scene at the time, and the exhibition was discussed as the beginning of a new movement that would displace Neo-Expressionism as the dominant trend in the New York art world. Many of the artists associated with Neo-Geo were discussed in terms of the then-fashionable ideas about Postmodernism and hyperreality, particularly in reference to the writings of Jean Baudrillard, and their art was often described as a challenge to modernist conceptions of artistic originality. A number of these artists engaged in appropriating existing images, practices and materials, but they frequently challenged the accepted significance of these elements or imbued them with new meaning. Artists like Halley and McCollum adopted the geometry of modernist abstraction, for example, but rejected its metaphysical associations and instead used it to address mass production or institutional power. Halley, in particular, described his Day-Glo abstractions as a response to the geometric unreality of the highways, the prisons and the circuit boards of the postindustrial world. Along similar lines, McCollum produced multiple plaster casts of monochrome paintings that he referred to as “surrogates,” and he then displayed them in groups to call attention to their unoriginality and their manufactured character. Artists such as Bickerton and Koons, on the other hand, were more preoccupied with the contemporary consumer culture than with the infrastructures of power. Bickerton’s ...

Article

Deborah A. Middleton

American group of artists active in the 1950s and 1960s who were part of a movement that was reacting to Minimalism, Abstract Expressionism and conceptual art by choosing to represent traditional subjects of nudes, portraiture, still lifes, landscapes and urban street scenes that often were plain and ordinary. The rise of consumerism and mass production inspired New Realist artists who returned to representing subjects as everyday and common visual encounters and experiences. The New Realist movement is in contrast to earlier forms of realism practiced by European artists whose works embody idealism or romanticize the commonality of the subject. New Realism is also associated with the emergence of Photorealism, where the camera captured the momentary fleeting naturalism of the subject. A common approach characteristically unifying New Realist artworks is the notion of the presence of the subject, which is understood as the representation of a neutral peripheral visual experience that exposes the subject prior to its discovery as a cognitive translation, intellectual or emotional response. Paintings and drawings present the perception of the real in a direct, clear and straightforward way using conventional drawing and painting techniques, and classical compositional approaches. Subjects are acutely observed and revealed with precise attention to detail and technical draftsmanship to disclose the detached presence of the subject itself....

Article

Marco Livingstone

(Milton Ernest)

(b Port Arthur, TX, Oct 22, 1925; d Captiva Island, FL, May 12, 2008).

American painter, sculptor, printmaker, photographer, and performance artist. While too much of an individualist ever to be fully a part of any movement, he acted as an important bridge between Abstract Expressionism and Pop art and can be credited as one of the major influences in the return to favour of representational art in the USA. As iconoclastic in his invention of new techniques as in his wide-ranging iconography of modern life, he suggested new possibilities that continued to be exploited by younger artists throughout the latter decades of the 20th century.

Rauschenberg studied at Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design from 1947 to 1948 under the terms of the GI Bill before travelling to Paris, where he attended the Académie Julian for a period of about six months. On reading about the work of Josef Albers he returned to the USA to study from autumn 1948 to spring ...

Article

(b Buffalo, NY, Dec 24, 1913; d New York, Aug 30, 1967).

American painter and writer. He was renowned for his work as an abstract painter and for his influence on Minimalism; he also wrote and lectured throughout his life, using these forms to deal with matters he felt were best left out of painting. He set his date of birth in the context of a personal, cultural, and political chronology, describing it as having taken place nine months after the Armory Show had ended, on the eve of Europe’s entry into World War I and during the year in which Kazimir Malevich painted the first geometric abstract painting. Extensive travel throughout the world fed his encyclopedic interests.

Reinhardt studied (1931–5) literature and then art history under Meyer Schapiro at Columbia University, New York, where he gained a broad-based arts education; also under Schapiro’s influence he became involved in what were then considered radical campus politics. Reinhardt was editor of the humorous campus publication ...

Article

Joan H. Pachner

[Anthony] (Peter)

(b South Orange, NJ, Sept 23, 1912; d New York, Dec 26, 1980).

American architect, sculptor, and painter. He was bedridden with tuberculosis as a child and lived isolated in a small house on his family’s property. He was tutored privately until he went to high school and attended college briefly from 1931 to 1932, before returning to work for his family waterworks business. At night he attended the Art Students League, studying under George Bridgeman (1864–1943), George Grosz, and Václav Vytlačil (1892–1984).

Smith decided to study architecture and in 1937 moved to Chicago, where he enrolled in the New Bauhaus; his teachers included László Moholy-Nagy, György Kepes, and Alexander Archipenko. Between 1938 and 1940 he worked for Frank Lloyd Wright, becoming clerk of works for Suntop Homes, Ardmore, PA; he later assisted with Wright’s Usonian houses. He established an independent architectural practice, where the modular basis for his work became evident, designing more than 24 private residences and a number of unrealized monuments (...