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Mary M. Tinti

(b Houston, TX, 1951).

American sculptor, installation and conceptual artist. His multimedia works investigate the pathology of contemporary culture. Mel Chin was born and raised in Houston, Texas to parents of Chinese birth and received his BA in 1975 from the Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. The works in Chin’s oeuvre are diverse in both medium and subject, but a consistent undercurrent of social, political, and environmental responsibility runs throughout. Whether a sculpture, film, video game, installation, public project or earthwork, Chin’s artworks consistently targeted a broad spectrum of pressing cultural and ecological interests and spread their message in subtle, if not viral ways.

In the 1980s, Chin produced a number of sculptures that set the stage for his ever-evocative artistic journey. The Extraction of Plenty from What Remains: 1823 (1988–9) is a frequently referenced piece from this period. It is a symbolic encapsulation of the effects of the Monroe Doctrine, referencing the complicated dealings between the US (represented by truncated replicas of White House columns) and Central America (represented by a cornucopia of mahogany branches, woven banana-tree fiber, and a surface layer of hardened blood, mud, and coffee grinds). From the 1990s, however, Chin moved away from strictly gallery-based installations and began creating works that directly engaged contemporary culture in a variety of physical and theoretical landscapes....

Article

Akira Tatehata

(b Kariya, Aichi Prefect., Jan 2, 1933; d New York, June 2014).

Japanese painter, draughtsman, and conceptual artist, active in the USA. After graduating from Kariya High School in 1951, he moved to Tokyo, exhibiting at the Yomiuri Independent Exhibitions. His sensibility for a cold materialism became apparent in his series of drawings Bathroom, of dismembered grotesque nude bodies (1953–4; Tokyo, N. Mus. Mod. A.). Kawara went to Mexico in 1959 and travelled through Europe. He settled in New York in 1965. His renowned series of Date Paintings (from 1965), made in various cities on his travels, juxtapose a detail from a local newspaper with a simple record of the date in typographical letters and numbers on monochrome canvases using acrylic. The paintings’ principal meaning was that the artist and viewer shared the numbers that signified a date they both had lived. In the series of telegrams in the 1970s, which sent the message ‘I am still alive’ to his friends, he used the verification of his own existence as a statement in a medium whose abstraction, regardless of the artist’s hand, paradoxically gave his work a tense reality. His other work in book form, ...

Article

Yulin Lee

[Ming Hong]

(b Tokyo, Nov 6, 1964).

Taiwanese conceptual artist, active also in the USA. Lin studied at the Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles in 1990 and then the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena in 1993. Although Lin was born in Japan, he spent his early childhood in Taiwan and then moved to the USA. These transcultural experiences complicated the task of positioning himself as an artist after his return in 1993 to Taiwan, where contemporary art largely focused on locating a definitive identity.

Lin’s interest in creating art expressive of his fluid experience was already present in his first solo exhibition, Meander (1994). Lin hung monochromatic, acrylic-lacquered steel plates perpendicular to a white wall. While these highly finished works reflected an aesthetic close to that of Donald Judd’s industrially manufactured cubes, they also indicated Lin’s own West Coast background—the fetishism of the enamelled surface being rooted in southern California’s automobile culture....

Article

Joan Kee

(b Taichung, Feb 16, 1964).

Taiwanese conceptual artist, active also in the USA. Lee spent his childhood in Taichung, where he studied Chan Buddhism from the age of eight. At 12, Lee spent time among Taiwanese expatriates in the Dominican Republic, and two years later moved to the USA, where he later studied biology at the University of Washington, Seattle. He transferred, however, to the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA, where he focused on architecture and textiles (1993). During this time, Lee made work that originated from personal memories, such as One Hundred Days with Lily (1995), which he started after his grandmother’s death. This work was a long-term endeavour documenting the life cycle of a lily that Lee took with him as he went about his daily activities in San Francisco.

After graduating from Oakland, Lee went on to receive a master’s degree in sculpture from the Yale School of Art. At Yale, Lee expanded upon his interest in interpersonal communication, which resulted in the production of works such as ...

Article

Xu Bing  

Chinese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in the United States and China.

Born 1955, in China.

Painter, sculptor, installation artist, conceptual artist.

Xu Bing trained at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, in Beijing, following two years spent in the countryside during China’s Cultural Revolution. He received his M.F.A. in printmaking in ...