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Article

Sarah Urist Green

(b Kabul, June 5, 1973).

Afghan video and performance artist and photographer, active also in the USA. After fleeing Soviet-occupied Kabul with her family in the late 1980s, Abdul lived as a refugee in Germany and India before moving to Southern California. She received a BA in Political Science and Philosophy at California State University, Fullerton, and an MFA at the University of California, Irvine, in 2000. Abdul first returned to a post-Taliban Afghanistan in 2001, where she encountered a place and people transformed by decades of violence and unrest. Since that time, Abdul has made work in Kabul and Los Angeles, staging herself in performances and creating performance-based video works and photography that explore ideas of home and the interconnection between architecture and identity.

Beginning in the late 1990s, Abdul made emotionally intense performance art informed by that of Yugoslavian artist Marina Abramović and Cuban-born American artist Ana Mendieta. At the time unable to travel to Afghanistan, Abdul created and documented performances in Los Angeles that probed her position as Afghan, female, Muslim, a refugee and a transnational artist. In ...

Article

Mark Allen Svede

(b Liepāja, April 14, 1939; d West Berlin, Feb 14, 1984).

Latvian performance artist. He arrived in Germany at the age of five as a refugee and later triumphed over geopolitical circumstances to help revitalize artistic culture in his occupied homeland. While pursuing architectural studies at the Technische Hochschule in Aachen (1961–71), he grew interested in the interplay of progressive politics and innovative art forms, which prompted early collaborations with Wolf Vostell and Joseph Beuys, such as their performance 20 July ’64. In 1966 Āboliņš and Gerd Vorhoff founded the Neue Galerie in Aachen, where they organized happenings and performances by Beuys, Jörg Immendorff, Nam June Paik, Tomas Schmit and other key members of Fluxus, the movement instigated by another exiled Balt, the composer George Maciunas (1931–78). At the same time, inspired by the New Left, Āboliņš combated artistic provincialism within the conservative Latvian émigré community by proposing a cultural rapprochement with Soviet Latvia. Advocating an international—rather than a narrowly nationalist—Latvian identity, Āboliņš helped to organize in ...

Article

Francis Summers

revised by Jessica Santone

(b Belgrade, Nov 30, 1946).

Serbian performance artist, video artist and installation artist. She attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade (1965–70) before completing her post-diploma studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb, in 1972. Her early works included sound recordings installed on bridges, paintings of truck crashes, and experiments with conceptual photography (see Widrich, pp. 80–97). In her first significant performance, Rhythm 10 (1973), she repeatedly and rapidly stabbed the spaces between her fingers with various knives. Later, in Rhythm 0 (1974; see Ward, pp. 114–30), she invited gallery visitors to choose from 72 available objects to use on her body, as she stood unresponsive for 6 hours. Her infamous performance Thomas’ Lips (1975; see M. Abramović and others, pp. 98–105), in which she cut, flagellated, and froze herself, established her practice as one that dramatically explored the physical limits of the human body, as seen in the work of Gena Pane or Chris Burden (...

Article

Frazer Ward

(Hannibal)

(b New York, Jan 24, 1940).

American poet, performance, video, and installation artist, and urban designer. Acconci worked for an MFA degree at the University of Iowa from 1962 to 1964. He initially devoted himself to poetry and writing that emphasized the physicality of the page and then began to produce visual work in real space in 1969. He worked as a performance artist from 1969 until 1974. His performance work addressed the social construction of subjectivity. A central work, Seedbed (1972; New York, Sonnabend Gal.), saw Acconci masturbate for six hours a day, hidden under a sloping gallery floor, involving visitors in the public expression of private fantasy. Between 1974 and 1979 he made a series of installations often using video and especially sound, mainly in gallery spaces, examining relations between subjectivity and public space. For Where We Are Now (Who Are We Anyway) (1976; New York, Sonnabend Gal.), a long table in the gallery and recorded voices suggested a realm of public or communal debate, but the table extended out of the window over the street like a diving board, countering idealism with the realities of city life. In the 1980s Acconci made sculptures and installations, many viewer-activated, invoking basic architectural units and domestic space. ...

Article

Richard Lorenz

(Easton )

(b San Francisco, CA, Feb 20, 1902; d Carmel, CA, April 22, 1984).

American photographer. Adams trained as a musician and supported himself by teaching the piano until 1930. He became involved with photography in 1916 when his parents presented him with a Kodak Box Brownie camera during a summer vacation in Yosemite National Park. In 1917–18 he worked part-time in a photo-finishing business. From 1920 to 1927 he served as custodian of the LeConte Memorial in Yosemite, the Sierra Club’s headquarters. His duties included leading weekly expeditions through the valley and rims, during which he continued to photograph the landscape. He considered his snapshots of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, taken during the early 1920s, to be a visual diary, the work of an ardent hobbyist. By 1923 he used a 6½×8½-inch Korona view camera on his pack trips, and in 1927 he spent an afternoon making one of his most famous images, Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park...

Article

Adrian  

Ann Poulson

(Gilbert) [Greenburg, Adrian Adolph]

(b Naugatuck, CT, March 3, 1903; d Los Angeles, CA, Sept 13, 1959).

American costume and fashion designer. Adrian is best known for his costume designs for Hollywood films and his signature women’s suits (see fig.). Adrian was educated at the School for Fine and Applied Arts (now Parsons School of Design) in New York and Paris. He began his career in New York by designing costumes for Irving Berlin’s Music Box Revue of 1921. It was through his work on Broadway that he met the costume designer Natacha Rambova, wife of the screen idol Rudolph Valentino, and began designing costumes for films. He arrived in Los Angeles in 1924 and by 1926 was working for the director Cecil B. DeMille, who brought him to Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) in 1928. When his contract with DeMille ended, Adrian signed with MGM, where he would remain as head costume designer until 1942. At MGM, Adrian dressed stars such as Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow, Norma Shearer and Jeanette McDonald. Although it was his designs for Garbo, in which he was careful not to distract from her natural beauty, that first brought him fame, it was his creations for Joan Crawford that made him a household name....

Article

John Hovell

(b Wairoa, Hawke’s Bay, NZ, Aug 27, 1939).

Maori painter, carver, weaver, costume and stage designer. His involvement with art began at Te Aute Maori Boys’ College (1954–7), Hawke’s Bay, Waipawa County, and continued with formal art training at Ardmore Teachers’ College (1958–9) and at Dunedin Teachers’ College (1960), where he trained as an art specialist. He subsequently worked for the Department of Education as an arts and crafts adviser and served on committees for national art education policies, the Historic Places Trust (with particular reference to Maori sites), art museums and tribal committees (dealing with traditional and customary art forms and architecture). He helped to promote contemporary developments in Maori arts for community buildings, meeting houses, churches and public sites, serving on private and governmental commissions. In his own work he maintains a balance between the conservation of older traditional materials and forms of Maori arts and the experimental use of new materials, such as composite chipboard, synthetic dyes, plastic-coated basketry fibres and composite, laminated board. His painted and woven-fibre works are notable for their rich but subtle colours and controlled sense of line. They vary in size from complex architectural installations or stage designs for the Royal New Zealand Ballet to designs for postage stamps. At Te Huki Meeting House (...

Article

Theresa Leininger-Miller

[Negro Colony]

Group of African American artists active in France in the 1920s and 1930s. Between the world wars Paris became a Mecca for a “lost generation” of Americans. Hundreds of artists, musicians, and writers from all over the world flocked to the French capital in search of a sense of community and freedom to be creative. For African Americans, the lure of Paris was enhanced by fear of and disgust with widespread racial discrimination experienced in the United States. They sought a more nurturing environment where their work would receive serious attention, as well as the chance to study many of the world’s greatest cultural achievements. France offered this along with an active black diasporal community with a growing sense of Pan-Africanism. Painters, sculptors, and printmakers thrived there, studying at the finest art academies, exhibiting at respected salons, winning awards, seeing choice art collections, mingling with people of diverse ethnic origins, dancing to jazz, and fervently discussing art, race, literature, philosophy, and politics. Although their individual experiences differed widely, they had much in common, including exposure to traditional European art, African art, modern art, and proto-Negritude ideas. As a result of their stay in Paris, all were affected artistically, socially, and politically in positive ways and most went on to have distinguished careers....

Article

V. V. Vanslov

(Pavlovich)

(b Kharkiv, April 16, 1901; d Moscow, Sept 6, 1968).

Russian stage designer, director, painter and graphic artist of Ukranian birth. He studied in Petrograd (now St Petersburg) from 1915 to 1919 in an artists’ workshop under Mstislav Dobuzhinsky, Aleksandr Yakovlev and Vasily Shukhayev. From 1920 to 1922 he worked as a stage designer in Khar’kov (now Kharkiv). In 1923 he returned to Petrograd, where he worked as a book illustrator and stage designer at the Theatre of Musical Comedy, the Theatre of Drama and the Gor’ky Bol’shoy Theatre of Drama; he also worked in Moscow, at the Theatre of the Revolution, the Vakhtangov Theatre and the Moscow Art Theatre (MKhAT). From 1929 he worked as a director, designing his own productions. He was the Art Director of the Leningrad Theatre of Comedy (1935–49), where the most notable productions he directed and designed were Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (1938), Lope de Vega’s Dog in the Manger and ...

Article

Andrew Wilson

Austrian group of performance artists, active in the 1960s. Its principal members were Günter Brus, Otto Muehl and Hermann Nitsch, who first collaborated informally in 1961, and Rudolf Schwarzkogler, who was introduced to the group in 1963. Others associated with the group included Anni Brus, the film maker Kurt Kren, the composer Anetis Logosthetis and the actor Heinz Cibulka. The group were influenced by the work of Adolf Frohner (b 1934), Arnulf Rainer and Alfons Schilling (b 1934), who were all in turn influenced by American action painting and by the gestural painting associated with Tachism. The members of Aktionismus attached significance, however, not so much to the paintings produced by the artist as to the artist as a participant in the process of production, as a witness to creation rather than as a creator. Muehl, Brus and Nitsch all felt drawn to public performances celebrating and investigating artistic creativity by a natural progression from their earlier sculptural or painterly activities. In ...

Article

Sofia Hernández Chong Cuy

American installation artists, active also in Puerto Rico. Jennifer Allora (b Philadelphia, Mar 20, 1974) graduated with a bachelor’s degree in art from the University of Richmond, Virginia (1996), and Guillermo Calzadilla (b Havana, Cuba, Jan 10, 1971) graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Escuela de Artes Plastica in San Juan, Puerto Rico (1996). Allora and Calzadilla met in Italy in 1995 during a study abroad program in Florence. They then lived together in San Juan for a year before moving to New York City where they started working collaboratively while each participated in different residency and study programs. In 1998–1999, Allora participated in the year-long Whitney Independent Study Program, while Calzadilla participated in the P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Center National Studio Program.

Allora & Calzadilla’s first important international exhibition was the XXIV Bienal de São Paulo in 1998 curated by Paulo Herkenhoff, which investigated the idea of cultural cannibalism known in Brazilian literature as ...

Article

Francis Summers

revised by Martin R. Patrick

(b Antwerp, Aug 22, 1959).

Belgian-born interdisciplinary artist, active in Mexico. He studied architecture at the Institut d’Architecture de Tournai in Belgium (1978–83) and at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura in Venice (1983–6). Alÿs moved to Mexico in 1987 and his art practice initially concentrated on Mexico City as a laboratory of urban living, often documented in the form of evocative, conceptually layered photographs, sculptures, and videos. In the slide series Ambulantes (Pushing and Pulling) (1992–2002), Alÿs photographed street vendors and workers as they passed by carting a wide variety of goods within a ten-block vicinity of his studio. For his project entitled The Liar, The Copy of the Liar (1997) Alÿs created small images of suited men inspired by the commercial sign painters of Mexico City, and subsequently commissioned from them larger versions in their own styles. In this process Alÿs deferred authorship into a semantic chain. Hovering between the banal and the surreal, these works have an uncanny theme, of individuals observed in situations that defy explanation....

Article

Daniel Montero

(b Mexico City, 1970).

Mexican installation artist, video artist, and performance artist. Amorales studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, after attending Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten (1996–1997), both in Amsterdam. He worked with images and signs of different types that when modified, combined, and recoded produce new images and meanings in turn. Based on pre-existing information and images he found on the Internet, Amorales created a particular way of working, more closely resembling that of a design studio than a traditional artist’s atelier. In his workspace and with a team of assistants, he proposed different ways of understanding the forms in which signs circulate and are appropriated, inquiring into notions of authorship, communication, and artistic media. From 1998 Amorales collected images from the Internet and converterted them into black, white, and red vectors. This collection is now known as the Liquid Archive. With these images, he produced several artworks in which multiplicity, repetition, and juxtaposition are constant. For example, in the video ...

Article

V. P. Tsel’tner

(Galaktionovych) [Petritsky, Anatoly Galaktyonovich]

(b Kiev, Feb 12, 1895; d Kiev, March 6, 1964).

Ukrainian painter, stage designer and draughtsman. He studied at the art school in Kiev (1910–18) and at Vkhutemas (the Higher Artistic and Technical Workshops) in Moscow (1922–4). He was influenced by the tradition of Ukrainian national art and later, in his work for the theatre, by Constructivism. His work of the mid-1920s combined contemporary national and foreign Expressionism with the Realist tradition, as in Invalids (1924; Kiev, Mus. Ukrain. A.), an assertion of humanist and high moral ideals. A synthesis of Ukrainian artistic traditions with an experience of contemporary avant-garde artistic trends also underpinned Petrits’ky’s work in the 1930s to 1960s, for example Kharkiv Street in Winter (1934), Peonies (1945) and Not a Garden—a Kiev Street (1961; all Kiev, Mus. Ukrain. A.)

Petrits’ky’s stage designs of the 1920s were bright and original pictorial solutions (e.g. for productions of the operas ...

Article

(b Chicago, June 5, 1947).

American performance artist, sculptor, draughtsman, and writer. She completed her BA in art history at Barnard College, New York, in 1969 and had her first one-woman show there in 1970, exhibiting sculptures and drawings among other works. She then trained as a sculptor at Columbia University, New York, receiving her MFA in 1972. Much of her work has built on her childhood instruction as a classical violinist, and she achieved popular notoriety in 1981 when her song ‘O Superman’ became a popular hit in England. Her first performance piece, Automotive, took place in 1972 at Town Green in Rochester, VT, and involved a concert of car horns. In 1974 she staged another music-based performance entitled Duets on Ice in which she appeared at four different locations on New York sidewalks wearing a pair of ice skates with their blades frozen in blocks of ice, and she proceeded to play one of several altered violins until the ice melted into water. In subsequent years, she has continued to work primarily as a performance artist, using projected photographs, films, texts, and music to create technologically sophisticated and elaborately staged events. Many of these performances have featured instruments of her own invention. The most famous of these was a violin with a recording head on its body and a strip of audio tape in the place of the hairs on its bow. This piece allowed her to play the human voice as an instrument by changing its speed and cadence with the movements of her arm. The most complex and spectacular of her performances, ...

Article

John E. Bowlt

(Andreyevich)

(b Moscow, Oct 14, 1873; d Moscow, Dec 24, 1932).

Russian sculptor, graphic artist and stage designer. He trained at the Stroganov School in Moscow (1883–91) before entering the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, where he studied under the sculptor Sergey Volnukhin (1859–1921). He graduated in 1900 before joining the Wanderers in 1902.

Andreyev was well aware of contemporary European trends in sculpture, especially the work of Emile-Antoine Bourdelle and Auguste Rodin, which he saw during a stay in Paris in 1900. However, he remained strongly attached to the 19th-century academic tradition, an allegiance that perhaps facilitated his acceptance of many official commissions both before and after the October Revolution of 1917. For example, he was responsible for the figure and pedestal of the monument to Nikolay Gogol’ on the Boulevard Ring in Moscow (1909; now at Suvorovsky Boulevard, 7) and for the bronze and granite monument to Aleksandr Ostrovsky (1929) in front of the Maly Theatre, Moscow. Andreyev was a principal contributor to Lenin’s Monumental Propaganda Plan from ...

Article

Jeremy Howard

(Izrailevich)

(b Beltsy, Bessarabia [now in Moldova], Oct 14, 1879; d Waterford, CT, Dec 4, 1973).

Russian painter and stage designer. He was a Symbolist artist who, like many of his colleagues in the World of Art group, made his foremost contribution to the development of Russian art in the fields of graphic art and stage design. He first studied at the Drawing School of the Odessa Society of Fine Arts (1895–1900) and then at the St Petersburg Academy of Arts (1901–9), where his tutors included Dmitry Kardovsky and Il’ya Repin. His participation in exhibitions included the World of Art (St Petersburg and Moscow, 1906–18), the Union of Russian Artists (Moscow and St Petersburg, 1906–10), the Salon d’Automne (Paris, 1906), Wreath (St Petersburg, 1908) and the Izdebsky International Salon (Kiev and Odessa, 1909–10). His painting attracted considerable critical acclaim for its exotic themes and colouring. Simultaneously, he worked as a caricaturist, creating grotesque and fantastic images for satirical magazines as well as executing wall paintings for houses in St Petersburg. His prolific career as a stage designer began in ...

Article

V. Rakitin

[Georges] (Pavlovich)

(b Petropavlovsk, Kazakhstan, July 23, 1889; d Paris, July 18, 1974).

Russian painter, draughtsman and stage designer. He studied at the University of St Petersburg (later Petrograd) in 1908 and in the private studio of Savely Zeidenberg (1862–1924). In 1909–10 he attended the studio of Yan Tsyonglinsky (1850–1914) in St Petersburg, where he became acquainted with the avant-garde artists Yelena Guro (1877–1913), Mikhail Matyushin and Matvey Vol’demar (1878–1914). In 1911–12 he worked in the studios of Maurice Denis and Félix Vallotton in Paris, then in Switzerland (1913) before returning to St Petersburg. As a painter he was a modernist, and his work developed rapidly towards abstraction, although he did not adhere to any particular branch of it. His works of the time use various devices of stylization and decorativeness, and some of them echo the free associations of Marc Chagall, but fundamentally they remain geometrically based compositions. In 1919–20 he made a series of abstract sculptural assemblages and a great number of abstract collages....

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b New York, Feb 27, 1935).

American performance artist, photographer and filmmaker. In the mid-1950s she studied acting at the Tamara Daykarhanova School for Stage, New York, and creative writing at the College of the City of New York. Her performances can be seen as autobiographical, with invented roles based partly on historical characters. Set-pieces recurring in performances from the early 1970s included the King of Solana Beach, inspired by a portrait of Charles I, King of England, by Anthony van Dyck; Eleanor Antinova, giving the recollections of a black dancer in Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes; and the Angel of Mercy, Florence Nightingale in the Crimea. Antin considered her performances as a means of self-definition as an artist and woman in the late 20th century. The presentations incorporated pithy commentaries on contemporary social and political issues. The spontaneous nature of her activity can be linked to the early years of American film-making, when participants devised dramatic scenarios in an ad hoc sequence. By interspersing her personal experience and vision with episodes from the past, Antin attempted to redefine traditional boundaries associated with women, power and art. For ...

Article

Klaus Ottmann

American performance artist and sculptor. Antoni studied sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. Antoni drew attention to herself in 1993 during a performance (Loving Care) at the Anthony d’Offay Gallery in London where, dressed in a black catsuit, she dipped her long hair repeatedly into a bucket filled with hair dye, and using her hair as a paint brush, mopped the gallery floor on her hands and knees. Her performance was reminiscent of Yves Klein’s 1960s ...