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Article

Michael Compton

(b Brussels, Jan 28, 1924; d Cologne, Jan 28, 1976).

Belgian painter, sculptor, printmaker, draughtsman, film maker and poet. He lived in poverty for 20 years as a bohemian poet in Brussels; with no artistic training he turned to visual art in 1964 as an ironic gesture, with an exhibition at the Galerie St Laurent in Brussels. He launched himself caustically into the art market with a brief text printed on the invitation: ‘I too wondered if I could not sell something and succeed in life … Finally the idea of inventing something insincere finally crossed my mind and I set to work straightaway’ (quoted in 1980 exh. cat., p. 13). In the 11 years that remained to him he established himself, in more than 70 one-man exhibitions, as an artist of considerable influence in terms not of style or sensibility but of attitude and approach.

Broodthaers regarded his art as a defence of European high cultural traditions in the face of barbarian threats and especially of western commercialism. His strategy allowed him to appropriate techniques and media from Nouveau Réalisme, Pop art, conceptual art and performance art so as to subvert them to his own aims; he emphasized the craftsmanship of his art but without any trace of academic technique or dexterity, as his work was often executed by others. At its most personal his work employed techniques associated with poetry but applied by him not only to words but to images and symbols, with a particular emphasis on irony, metonymy, tautology and synecdoche....

Article

Deborah Cullen

[MoMA] (New York)

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was founded in 1929 by patrons Lillie P(lummer) Bliss, Cornelius J. Sullivan and Rockefeller family §(1) to establish an institution devoted to modern art. Over the next ten years the Museum moved three times and in 1939 settled in the Early Modern style building (1938–9) designed by Philip S. Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone that it still occupies at 11 West 53 Street. Subsequent renovations and expansions occurred in the 1950s and 1960s by Philip Johnson, in 1984 by Cesar Pelli and in 2002–4 by Yoshirō Taniguchi (b 1937). MoMA QNS, the temporary headquarters during this project, was subsequently used to provide art storage. In 2000, MoMA and the contemporary art space, P.S.1, Long Island City, Queens, announced their affiliation. Recent projects are shown at P.S.1 in Queens in a renovated public school building.

According to founding director, Alfred H(amilton) Barr...

Article

(b Leith, nr Edinburgh, March 7, 1924; d London, April 22, 2005).

British sculptor, collagist, printmaker, film maker and writer. Born of Italian parents, he attended Edinburgh College of Art in 1943 with a view to becoming a commercial artist. After brief military service, in 1944 he attended St Martin’s School of Art in London, and from 1945 to 1947 he studied sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art (then based in Oxford). While in Oxford he saw ethnographic sculpture at the Pitt Rivers Museum and also became friendly with William Turnbull and Nigel Henderson. The influence of art from non-Western cultures is evident in such early works as Fisherman and Wife (ink, wash and collage, 1946; London, Tate). In 1947 he had his first one-man show at The Mayor Gallery Ltd in London, and in the summer of that year he moved to Paris. He remained there until 1949, meeting artists such as Arp, Braque, Brancusi, Giacometti, Jean Hélion, Léger and Tristan Tzara. He was attracted to Surrealist art and ideas and was also impressed by the ...

Article

Robert Smith

(Leslie)

(b Melbourne, Nov 23, 1929).

Australian cartoonist, printmaker, writer, illustrator, film maker and sculptor. After employment as an illustrator in Melbourne (1949–52), he worked in London as a freelance illustrator and cartoonist (1954–60). On the return journey to Australia he formed a lasting interest in South-east Asia, publishing the resulting perceptive and deceptively simple drawings with commentary in the first of his many illustrated books. He worked as a freelance artist in Melbourne until his appointment as resident cartoonist for the Sydney Daily Mirror in 1963 and the newly established national daily, The Australian, from 1964 to 1973. He quickly achieved popularity and repute, especially for his penetrating visual comments on involvement by Australia and the USA in the Vietnam War. He had little formal training in art and developed for himself a free-ranging personal style, which was widely emulated.

From 1970 Petty made or scripted numerous films, often combining actuality with animation and incorporating his own caricatural kinetic sculptures. After some earlier pioneering sculptural works, he created the first of what he called his ‘machine sculptures’, the ...

Article

Marco Livingstone

[Warhola, Andrew ]

(b Pittsburgh, PA, Aug 6, 1928; d New York, Feb 22, 1987).

American painter, printmaker, sculptor, draughtsman, illustrator, film maker, writer, and collector. After studying at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh from 1945 to 1949, he moved to New York and began working as a commercial artist and illustrator for magazines and newspapers. His work of the 1950s, much of it commissioned by fashion houses, was charming and often whimsical in tone, typified by outline drawings using a delicate blotted line that gave even the originals a printed appearance; a campaign of advertisements for the shoe manufacturers I. Miller & Sons in 1955–6 (Kornbluth, pp. 113–21) was particularly admired, helping to earn him major awards from the Art Directors Club.

Warhol continued to support himself through his commercial work until at least 1963, but from 1960 he determined to establish his name as a painter. Motivated by a desire to be taken as seriously as the young artists whose work he had recently come to know and admire, especially Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, he began by painting a series of pictures based on crude advertisements and on images from comic strips. These are among the earliest examples of ...