Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987), born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, PA, was an iconic and versatile Pop artist. After studying design at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Warhol moved to New York City in 1949 to pursue a career as a commercial artist. Though successful, Warhol wanted to be an independent painter, and in the early 1960s began to create paintings based on advertisement imagery. Shocking in its embrace of "low art" and its detachment from emotion, his early work quickly brought him fame, as he produced the now infamous series of Campbell’s Soup Cans, Disasters, Electric Chairs, and celebrity portraits (Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, and Elvis Presley were among his subjects), with commercial techniques such as screen printing and stenciling. As his fame grew, Warhol built a studio called The Factory on 47th street in New York City, and collected a group of eccentrics he called the "Superstars", with whom he created a number of experimental films, such as Sleep, Chelsea Girls, and Empire, which were often banned by the police for their vulgarity.
In 1968, Valerie Solanas, a former member of Warhol’s entourage, attempted to kill the artist and others outside of The Factory. Narrowly surviving, Warhol withdrew from his bohemian circle and occupied himself in the 1970s creating celebrity portraits, which brought him considerable earnings, but weakened his critical approval. With
Warhol died in 1987 due to complications following an operation. As per his desire, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts was established after his death.
Banksy (British, b. ca.1974/1975) is one of the most well-known, if mysterious, Graffiti artists working in England today. Banksy, the pseudonym adopted by the artist, heavily guards his privacy; the details of his life largely unknown to the public. He has garnered great fame for his graffiti works, which often combine spray paint and stenciling techniques with commercial, political, and contemporary imagery, infused with ironic social commentary and humor. Often critical of business and corporations, Banksy’s work has been found on the sides of corporate buildings, on billboards, as well as the Israeli West Bank wall.
The unveiling of many of Banksy’s new works often incorporates pranks or performance: he secretly added his own works in museums like the Tate Modern in London or the Paris Louvre; opened gallery shows to the public with specially-bred rats running around the gallery space; and once inserted an inflatable doll dressed as a Guantanamo Bay prisoner into the Disneyland theme park in California. In addition to his reactionary street art, Banksy has created works for several charities, and consistently opens exhibitions of his work to wide audiences and critical acclaim. He currently lives and works in Bristol, England.
Jean-Michel Basquiat (American, 1960–1988), one of the first African American artists to reach international stature and wealth in the art world, had a short but prolific career, rising to fame early for his fusion of multicultural symbols, biting social commentary, distinctive graphic style, and often temperamental personality. Born in Brooklyn, NY, Basquiat drew and visited museums regularly from an early age, and many of his childhood interests (ranging from cartoons and Alfred Hitchcock films to anatomy and French and Spanish books) would prove influential in his later work. Basquiat dropped out of school at the age of 17, and began creating art, gaining notoriety for his invented character SAMO (“Same Old Shit”), who made a living peddling “fake” religion.
Basquiat depicted SAMO’s signature in graffiti art with cryptic messages in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and began painting on found materials, buildings, t-shirts, and commercial items. He delved into the urban 1980s avant-garde culture of New York City, creating wildly expressive paintings, which earned him considerable acclaim by 1982, following his first solo exhibition. In 1983 he befriended his idol,
Ever conscious of his identity as an African-American in the art world, Basquiat’s work was rife with imagery commenting on race relations in America, and drawing from the culture of the African Diaspora. His prevalent drug use became a greater concern to his friends and colleagues in the mid-1980s, and the artist’s fiery temper and capriciousness increased, particularly when working with dealers or developing his oeuvre. Warhol’s death in 1987 deeply affected Basquiat, and he painted several final works in a frenzy, full of apocalyptic imagery but with a confident, mature style. He died of a drug overdose in 1988, ending a brief but brilliant and unique career.
Salvador Dalí (Spanish, born May 11, 1904–died January 23, 1989) was a prominent Surrealist artist. Dalí spent his childhood in the Spanish villages of Figueras and Cadaques. He was influenced by Renaissance masters such as
In 1925, the artist held his first solo exhibition in Barcelona. Dalí would gain some international recognition in 1928 when the Carnegie International Exhibition showed three of his works, one of which was Basket of Bread. He met
World War II forced Dalí and his wife to flee Europe. The couple spent most of the 1940s in the United States. New York’s Museum of Modern Art held a retrospective exhibition of Dalí’s work in 1941. He wrote his autobiography, The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí, the following year. Dalí deviated from Surrealism in the 1950s and began painting a more classical series of 19 paintings. These works incorporated topics such as history, religion, and science. Washington, D.C.’s National Gallery holds The Sacrament of the Last Supper, while the Salvador Dalí Museum is home to The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. Dalí not only painted, but also collaborated with other artists in sculpture, photography, and film. Walt Disney collaborated with him on the film Destino, and Alfred Hitchcock commissioned the artist to design a dream sequence for his film Spellbound. Dalí spent the last years of his life in Torre Galatea, Spain. The artist died on January 23, 1989.
Catalan artist Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893–1983) spent a few years in technical school as a teenager before he began his artistic career. He trained at Francesc Galí’s Escola d’Art in Barcelona from 1912 to 1915, after which he had his first solo show in Barcelona at the gallery of José Dalmau in 1918. Starting in 1920, Miró divided his time between Montroig, Spain, and Paris, where he commingled with poets such as
After a trip to the Netherlands in 1928, Miró created the series Dutch Interiors, in which amorphous forms entered into his work. On October 12, 1929, he married Pilar Juncosa in Palma de Mallorca, and then moved to Paris. During this period, he rebelled against painting, and produced wood reliefs, assemblages, and collages. Although he was living in France, the influence of the Spanish Civil War can be observed in the intense color and strong imagery of Still-life with an Old Shoe (1937). Experimentation continued in Miró’s work until his death in 1983. His wide body of work included ceramics, various prints, drawing, and sculpture. Major projects include the 1958 ceramic murals The Sun and The Moon for the UNESCO building in Paris. He collaborated with
Ai Weiwei (Chinese, b.1957) is a Conceptual artist, sculptor, and curator, originally from Beijing, China. In 1978, he enrolled in the Beijing Film Academy. He later became a member of the artist group Stars, which refused to create Chinese Art that followed government guidelines. The first unofficial exhibition of this group, which took place by a fence of the Beijing National Gallery, attracted international attention.
From 1981 to 1993, Ai lived in the United States, primarily in New York. At that time, he focused on Performance and Conceptual Art, and graduated from the Parsons School of Design. Influenced by the artworks of
In the spring of 2011, he was arrested on suspicion of tax evasion. This incident caused a wave of international protest, and many important individuals called for his release. On June 22, 2011, the artist was granted bail with strict conditions. That same year, Ai was listed as one of the top 100 of most influential people in the world by Time Magazine. He participated in the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999, and in documenta XII in 2007. Ai lives and works in the Art District of Dashanz in Beijing.
Francis Bacon (Irish, 1909–1992) was one of the most unique, engaging Figurative painters to emerge after World War II. Largely self-taught, Bacon was born in Dublin and moved to London when he was 16, and then to Paris and Berlin in the following few years. During that time, he painted in watercolors and, upon returning to London, began working as a furniture and interior designer. In the 1940s, he pursued painting more seriously, and began creating works featuring macabre, homoerotic, and violently expressive imagery.
His portraits and figurative works often pictured screaming, agonized, or caged figures, which solidified his reputation as an overwhelmingly compelling, if somber, observer of human nature. In the 1960s, Bacon painted many portraits featuring close-up views of his subject’s heads; he often worked in series, creating sustained bodies of subject matter, such as in his Popes or three-part portrait series. After the death of his lover in 1972, his work became even more personalized, with a renewed focus on mortality. While he received both positive and negative acclaim during his lifetime, his distinctive style is unmatched. Since his death in 1992, his work has continued to grow in popularity, and has been featured in exhibitions at the Tate Gallery in London, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., the Stedelijik Museum in Amsterdam, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, among many other institutions.
Damien Hirst (British, b.1965) is one of the leaders of the
Hirst’s work has generated enormous controversy, in part, for its morbidity and fascination with medicine, which is evident in several of his series: the encased dead animals in various states of preservation, the incorporation of butterfly wings into stained glass-like images, cabinets filled with pharmaceuticals, and diamond-encrusted skulls. A team of assistants help Hirst carry out his projects; his spot paintings and spin paintings are almost entirely the work of others. In the 1990s, Hirst was also a public figure for drunken and drugged spectacles, but he has since stopped drinking and smoking. In 2012, his works were exhibited at the Tate Modern in London, and his spot paintings were part of a world exhibition The Complete Sport Paintings 1986–2011 held by the Gagosian Gallery in 11 of its galleries simultaneously, from January 12 to February 18, 2012.
Lucian Freud (British, 1922–2011) is an artist best known for his unique, realistic treatment of nudes and impressive portraits. The grandson of Sigmund Freud, the artist was born in Berlin, but escaped the rising Nazism in 1933 and went to England, where he became a citizen in 1939. Between 1938 and 1943, Freud studied at the Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and at the Goldsmith’s College in London, as well as at the East Anglican School of Painting and Drawing in Dedham. After serving in the British Navy during World War II, he began to pursue his career as an artist full time. Freud established a formidable reputation after winning a prize at the Festival of Britain in 1951 for his Interior at Paddington, and reached international renown for his work at the Venice Biennale in 1954.
Early on, he established what would become a lifelong focus on portraits and nudes, which he often depicted in arresting close-up. His early work was meticulously painted, and has sometimes been described as Realism, but the subjectivity and intensity of his work has always set him apart from the sober tradition characterized by British figurative Post-War art. As an emerging painter, Freud was heavily influenced by British artist
Mark Rothko (American, 1903–1970) was one of the leading members of the New York School of Abstract painters, and was best known for his meditative pieces featuring large, luminous blocks of color. Rothko was born Marcus Rothkowitz in Latvia, and moved with his family to the United States when he was 10 years old. In 1921, Rothko attended Yale University, where he planned to pursue a career as a lawyer or an engineer, but he abandoned his studies before graduating. Rothko then moved to New York and took classes at the Art Students League. Rothko’s early paintings, featuring urban scenes, landscapes, and figurative works with rough applications of paint, emphasized the expressive potential of art.
In the mid-1930s, he joined the Ten, a New York circle made up of many Modernist painters that would shape the next few decades of abstract painting in America:
Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), one of the most prominent, innovative artists of the 20th century, is celebrated for his lengthy and prolific career working in several modernist idioms, as well as for co-founding Cubism. Picasso was born in Málaga, Spain, and began drawing and painting early on under the influence of his father, an academic painter. He later studied art in Barcelona and often frequented the café Els Quatre Gats, where he first began exhibiting his own paintings. Picasso first visited Paris in 1900 for the city’s world fair, before moving there in 1904.
Early on, Picasso painted many scenes of laborers and the poor during his Blue Period, later focusing on acrobats and circus performers during his Rose Period; in each period, his compositions were dominated by blue or rose hues. In 1907, inspired by African aesthetics, Picasso made his first significant foray into Cubism and into a modernist aesthetic with his monumental painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, which featured a scene of five aggressive-looking prostitutes painted with distorted, angular forms and faces in bold outlines, influenced by African masks.
Alongside fellow artist
In the mid-1940s, Picasso fully settled in Paris, later moving to Mougins, France, where he created an astounding number of paintings, prints, sculptures, ceramics, and works on paper during the next few decades. Held in the highest regard during his lifetime, retrospectives of his work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Musée Picasso in Paris, the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, the National Gallery in London, and the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, among many other institutions. In 1973, Picasso died in Mougins, at 92 years old, and is renowned today as one of the pioneering and most influential forces of 20th-century modernism.
René Magritte (Belgian, 1898-1967) was a painter, photographer, and sculptor who was a major player in the Surrealist movement in Belgium during the 1920s. His primary role was as a painter, and he frequently delved into mystical concepts and the disconnection between
His first Surreal painting was created during this period, and it was called
Magritte was famous for altering the forms of
Neo-Pop artist Jeff Koons (American, b.1955) inspires conflicted reactions to his over-sized sculptures of banal and sometimes shocking objects; some consider his work to be historically significant, while others view him as an attention-seeker who panders to the high-end art world. Educated at the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Maryland, he was initially supported by his career on Wall Street. By the early 1980s, Koons was able to establish a studio staffed by assistants.
He quickly cultivated a media persona by hiring image consultants and placing strategic advertisements in high-class art publications; his scandalous marriage to and subsequent divorce from the Hungarian-Italian porn star Ciccolina also brought much public attention. Most famous for enlarged objects such as Puppy and his huge sculptures of inflated balloons, Koons also works in series of paintings, prints, and collage, stating that he is attempting to make a body of work that anybody could enjoy.
Cindy Sherman (American, b.1954) is a photographer who incorporates aspects of feminism, performance art, cultural criticism, and the body and identity politics into her provocative work. Sherman abandoned painting for photography while attending the State University of New York at Buffalo, and in 1976, moved to New York City to pursue a career as a photographer.
She gained broad critical acclaim for her famous early series Untitled Film Stills, taking photographs of herself dressed as invented characters embodying female clichés, such as ‘the bored housewife’, ‘the sexy librarian’, and ‘the ambitious career girl’. Sherman continued to use herself as a subject in several other series, including her History Portraits, in which she inserted herself into Old Master paintings as a way of reexamining the role of the female within them. She mainly photographed herself in disguises, and explored the darker side of culture in her depictions of perverted fairy tales, war, and sex. Through her work, Sherman examined anxiety, disgust, the lurid, and the grotesque. She is the recipient of the MacArthur Award and Hasselblad Award for Photography, among other honors. Sherman has more recently returned to using her own body in her work as the subject of simplified portraits of female types. She lives and works in New York City.
Takashi Murakami (American/Japanese, b.1962) is a painter and sculptor famous for his integration of Fine Art, commercialism, Japanese aesthetics, and cultural criticism into his work. Murakami received his BFA, MFA, and PhD from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, where he studied Nihonga (traditional Japanese painting). He first gained recognition as a sculptor during the early 1990s, exploring otaku (the Japanese term for an obsession with anime and cartoons) and the contradictions between contemporary Japanese society and American culture in his work.
In 1996, he created the Hiropon Factory in Japan, which later developed into Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd., a large art-making and artist management corporation. Murakami is also a curator and a critical observer of Japanese art. In 2000, he founded the "superflat" movement, a post-modern style drawing inspiration from Japanese manga (comics created in Japan), graphic design, and traditional Japanese prints and screen paintings. Throughout his career, Murakami has increasingly blurred the boundaries between fine art and popular culture by branding his artwork and turning it into merchandise, particularly with the celebrated character
Willem de Kooning (American/Dutch, 1904–1997) was a leading figure in the Abstract Expressionist movement and is renowned for establishing a distinctly American style of painting. Born in the Netherlands, he immigrated to New Jersey in 1926, where he supported himself as a house painter for several years. In 1935 de Kooning began to work for Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration, but was forced to resign in 1937 due to his foreign citizenship; the experience, along with his friendship with painter
In the 1940s, he became associated with the New York Abstract Expressionist movement, as he painted increasingly expressive figurative and abstract works and taught at the progressive Black Mountain College at the height of its artistic influence. In the 1950s, de Kooning exhibited his first
Jenny Saville (British, b.1970) is best known for her rich, naturalistic paintings of large, fleshy women, often featuring images of her own body in her work. Saville was born in Cambridge, England, and attended the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. An exhibition at the
The prolific artistic career of Marc Chagall (French/Russian, born July 7, 1887–died March 28, 1985) spanned over seven decades. Influenced by Cubism and Fauvism, Chagall’s oeuvre is consistent in his use of figuration and color. Born in Russia in 1887, Chagall moved to France in 1910, and became an integral member of the École de Paris. He participated in the Salon des Indépendants and the Salon d’Automne in 1912. His first solo show was held in 1914 at Der Sturm gallery in Berlin. During a visit to Russia in 1914, Chagall met and later married Bella Rosenfeld, who came to be the subject of many of his paintings, such as Bella with White Collar (1917). Chagall and Rosenfeld were forestalled from returning to Paris because of the outbreak of war. They settled in Vitebsk—Chagall’s hometown—where he was appointed Commissar for Art in 1918, and founded the Vitebsk Popular Art School, where he remained as director until his resignation in 1920.
In 1923, Chagall moved back to Paris, and notably formed a friendship with dealer Ambroise Vollard, who commissioned Chagall to draw and paint multiple religious scenes from the Old Testament, and similar sources. In addition to Chagall’s Jewish-themed works, such as Green Violinist (1923–1924) and Dancing Mirjam (1931), he often drew inspiration from the Christian Bible. During World War II, Chagall fled to the United States, where he had a retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, in 1946. He returned to France in 1948, and permanently settled there, yet he would continue to travel for commissions and pleasure throughout the rest of his life. Along with painting, printmaking, and many other media, Chagall is known for his stained-glass windows, like those at the synagogue of the Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem (installed in 1962), and the memorial window Peace (installed in 1964) for the United Nations. A major retrospective of his work was held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1985; Chagall died the same year at the age of 97 in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France.
Richard Prince (American, b.1949) is a painter and photographer, best known as a pioneer of Appropriation Art. Born in the Panama Canal Zone, Prince grew up in Massachusetts and moved to New York in 1977, where he prepared magazine clippings for Time-Life, spurring his interest in advertising and consumer imagery. He began creating works based on various pop culture images taken from magazines and newspapers, often re-photographing and manipulating the images in his own works. Considered by many the father of Appropriation Art, the majority of his works includes scandalous subject matter and has provoked controversy around issues of copyright in the art world. His famous Cowboys series of 1980s photographs, for example, was taken from Marlboro ad campaigns. In the mid-1980s, Prince shifted his interest from images to text, evident in his Jokes series, displaying appropriated jokes in ironic works. From his home in Upstate New York, Prince created his late Nurse Paintings series, inspired by pulp romance novels, as well as his own photographs of everyday rural and suburban life. He acquired an abandoned farmhouse near his home in 2001, which he turned into an installation site he called Second House, installing the interior with his sculptures, paintings, and his own books; the structure has been purchased by the Guggenheim Museum in New York, but was struck by lightning and destroyed in 2007. In the fall of that year, Prince’s work was the subject of a major retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum. Prince currently lives and works in Upstate New York.
Andreas Gursky (German, b.1955) is a photographer best known for his colorful, bold, large-format depictions of contemporary life. Gursky was born in Leipzig, Germany, and grew up in Düsseldorf, where his father worked as a commercial photographer. In his early 20s, he studied photography at the Folkwang School, West Germany’s leading establishment for professional photographers. His early, unadorned compositions are heavily influenced by his years at Folkwang, where the curriculum was largely focused on the straight-shot techniques of photojournalism. In the early 1980s, Gursky studied under the internationally recognized photographers
His early work was first considered to be an extension of the Becher aesthetic, but became recognized as uniquely ‘Gursky’ as he moved away from their teachings, producing large-scale color photographs with an almost-manic documentation of detail. His mature work developed rapidly after 1990, as he began to focus on scenes and places representing the international sentiment of contemporary society. Excessive detail became a hallmark of his contemporary idiom, evident in photographs such as 99 Cent and the May Day series. Today his work continues to depict scenes occurring in immediately recognizable urban spaces, ranging from department stores and hotels to the German Parliament and the Chicago Board of Trade.
Anish Kapoor (British/Indian, b.1954) is regarded as one of the most prominent British-Indian sculptors of his generation. He first gained critical recognition for his work in the 1980s; Kapoor is well known for his intense, almost spiritual, outdoor and indoor site-specific works in which he marries a Modernist sense of pure materiality with a fascination for the manipulation of form and the perception of space. Kapoor, who was born in Bombay and moved to London in the 1970s to study art, first worked on abstract and organic sculptures using fundamental natural materials such as granite, limestone, marble, pigment, and plaster. His sculptures extend formal minimalistic precepts through catching the viewer’s attention with rich colors, sensuously refined surfaces, and optical effects of depth and dimension.
Since the mid-1990s, Kapoor has explored the notion of the void by creating works that seem to recede into the distance, disappear into walls or floors, or otherwise destabilize assumptions about the physical world. Through transforming properties of objects and materials, Kapoor’s recent work increasingly blurs the boundaries between architecture, design, and art. He received great critical attention in the United States for Cloud Gate, a permanent 110-ton sculpture of polished stainless steel created for Chicago’s Millennium Park in 2006, and for Sky Mirror, a 35-foot-diameter concave mirror shown in the same year at Rockefeller Center in New York.
Kapoor has reached international status, with solo exhibitions at venues around the world, such as the Tate and Hayward Gallery in London, Kunsthalle Basel, the Haus der Kunst in Munich, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. In 2015, a major exhibition of his work was presented in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles. He represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1990, and received the Turner Prize in the following year. Kapoor’s work can be found in collections worldwide, notably in The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Modern in London, the Prada Art Foundation in Milan, and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
Robert Rauschenberg (American, 1925–2008) was renowned as an enfant terrible, famous for his work in the 1950s, in the period between Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. Born in Port Arthur, TX, Rauschenberg was barely exposed to art until he attended school. His most significant art education took place at Black Mountain College, which exposed him to influential artists such as
In the 1950s, Rauschenberg began to incorporate any material he could scavenge into his combines (sculptural collages) by incorporating found objects, traditional brush strokes, photographs, and any other materials he encountered. This interplay between materials defined Rauschenberg's entire career; he also experimented with silk screening and solvent transfers on a diverse selection of surfaces, as he explored the boundaries of traditional art forms and incorporated the vast visual offerings of American culture into his work such as Signs. Rauschenberg also developed an interest in art activism: his “Experiments in Art and Technology” (EAT) initiative encouraged collaborations between artists and scientists; the “Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange” (ROCI) project allowed him to visit locations worldwide to work with artists and exhibit his own art; and the non-profit “Change, Inc.” helps struggling artists pay medical expenses. Rauschenberg died of heart failure in Captiva, FL, in 2008.
Olafur Eliasson (Danish, b.1967) creates sensory experiences that highlight the interaction between the spectator, object, and environment; his interest in the five senses and how they guide us through experiences is evident and consistent throughout his body of work. In 2003, Eliasson replicated elements of nature in his The Weather Project, which was installed in the Turbine Hall of London’s Tate Modern, drawing upwards of two million visitors.
Eliasson was born in Copenhagen in 1967 to Icelandic parents. He attended the Royal Academy of Arts in Copenhagen from 1989 to 1995. After school, he opened Studio Olafur Eliasson in Berlin, a laboratory for artistic creation and spatial research. Adding materials such as fog, water, light, and reflective surfaces to open spaces, Eliasson’s projects and installations make for immersive and unexpected experiences that highlight the ephemeral qualities of our surroundings. In 1997, Your sun machine focused on the lapse of time as determined by the sun’s path across earth. Viewers entered into a room with a single hole in the roof in order to witness the small patch of sunlight make its progress throughout the day.
Eliasson makes clear the importance of viewers and their presence, often addressing them directly in the titles of his works. In 2009, Eliasson explored light through alternative means in his Your atmospheric colour atlas, which was on exhibition at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan. Filling a gallery with fog and color, the exhibition invited visitors to blend into the spectrum, mixing light to create their own interpretations.
The artist currently lives and works in Berlin, where he was a professor at the Berlin University of the Arts. His studio now employs more than 40 people as artists, architects, scientists, and technicians. However, his endeavors extend beyond the art world. He launched his Little Sun project in 2012, after working with an engineer to develop solar-powered lights for areas of the world with minimal access to electricity.
Eliasson has received many awards throughout his career, his most recent accolade being the 2014 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT in Cambridge, MA. His work is represented in public and private collections worldwide, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Tate in London.
Sol LeWitt (American, 1928–2007) is renowned as a founding member of both Minimalism and Conceptual Art. LeWitt attended classes at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum in his hometown of Hartford, Connecticut as a youth, and then received a BFA from Syracuse University. After serving in the United States Army in Korea, he moved to New York in the early 1950s, took classes in illustration, and worked as a graphic designer for several magazines and for architect I.M. Pei. In the 1960s LeWitt began creating
LeWitt’s work also reflects an interest in repetition and serial pieces, which he frequently uses as a way to convey the passage of time or a storyline. In addition to his sculptures, wall drawings, and two-dimensional works, LeWitt created many artists’ books, and co-founded the organization Printed Matter, which publishes and circulates artists’ books to the greater public. LeWitt moved from New York to Spoleto, Italy in 1980, and in later years worked on
Zeng Fanzhi (Chinese, b.1964) is a Contemporary painter, known for his Expressionist paintings laden with psychological and political overtones. Born in Wuhan in the Hubei Province, Zeng studied oil painting at the Hubei Academy of Fine Arts, where he was strongly influenced by German Expressionism. This aesthetic is visible in many of his paintings, including his Hospital, Meat, and Mask works.
His latest paintings, like his Great Men portraits and series of landscapes, draw on Chinese painterly traditions, especially from the Song dynasty. His work has been shown in museums and galleries around the world, and, in 2008, his Mask Series 1996 No.6 became the highest-grossing work by a Contemporary Asian artist to date. In 2013, his work The Last Supper, sold for $23 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong. Zeng lives and works in Beijing.
Conceptual artist Barbara Kruger (American, born January 26, 1945) is best known for her layered photographs, featuring provocative statements on issues surrounding commercial culture, feminism, and identity politics. Kruger was born in Newark, NJ, and studied art at Syracuse University, the School of Visual Arts, and Parson’s School of Design, under
At the same time she gained critical recognition for her photographic and screenprinted works, in which she layered found images from commercial sources and overlaid them with