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Kiki Smith

1954, Nuremberg, Germany
Lives in New York

Singer, 2009

Bronze with paper flowers

Smith is a poet with materials, equally comfortable making prints and drawings enhanced with gold leaf, hand-blown glass teardrops, or delicate life-size sculptures out of handmade paper or bronze.

Noted for subjects as diverse as birds and other animals, human body parts and fluids, flowers, fairy tales and ancient myths, Smith’s portrayal of women is often especially poignant and beautiful. This lovely girl, silently welcoming you with flowers to the ART, is no exception.

Among her many laurels, Smith was one of the five honorees of the U.S. Department of State’s inaugural Medal of Arts in 2012.

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John Baldessari

National City, California
Lives in Venice, California

Eight Soups, 2012

Silkscreen prints

Conceptual artist John Baldessari playfully sums up nearly the whole history of modern art by combining the idea of Andy Warhol’s endless serial arrangements of Soup Cans with a playful nod to Henri Matisse’s 1912 painting of Goldfish and Sculpture. He is best known for works that appropriate images from film clips, newspapers, and photographs that he takes out of context and recombines in a way that gives them a totally new, if not always clear, meaning.

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Deborah Butterfield

San Diego, California
Lives in Bozeman, Montana, and Holualoa, Hawaii

Otter, 2014

Unique cast bronze with patina

Butterfield often names her works for rivers, mountains, lakes, and towns in Montana. Named after a small Montana town, Otter was originally fashioned from sun-bleached wood that Butterfield found on the riverbanks near her home and then cast as a unique sculpture by burning away the wood with molten bronze. Her expert application of a coating of patina made the raw bronze look exactly like driftwood.

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Lars Kramer

1964, West Chester, Pennsylvania
Lives in Brooklyn, New York

Anatomy Lessons, 1994 Video

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In this humorously uncomfortable video, Lars Kremer confronts the issue every young contemporary artist must face—how can he live up to and relate to all the old masters that preceded him? After moving to New York in 1991, still fresh out of the MFA sculpture program at Yale University, Kremer created this performance work by using a digital effects feature on his video cam which allowed him to capture his tracings of the classical anatomical drawings from an art school anatomy book and superimpose them over the on-screen image, which he then tries to fit into by watching himself perform live, on a video monitor in his studio. We see him contorting his own boxer-clad body in an effort to fit himself both figuratively and literally into the various poses that the drawings portray. Because the video camera was pointed at him as he watched himself struggle to fit into the outline on-screen, the image was reversed, like a reversed mirror, making the task all the more difficult. Kremer says he found it interesting to take on art history and the concept of "Old Master" by using his own body to re-draw their drawings.

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Oliver Michaels

1972, London, England
Lives in Brooklyn, New York

Revolution, 2010

Video; Revolution music: “Chuck” by Archie Bronson Outfit

The idea of the “precious” art object is turned on it’s head as Oliver Michaels magically adds very untraditional art materials to a plain, rotating cardboard box, transforming it into a sculpture that seems to defy all rules an art school might have taught. Both videos in this collection are from the artist’s Split Screen Sculpture Series in which he creates kinetic sculptures by employing a split screen editing technique. Addressing space, material, humor, banality, illusion, and digitization Tube Balloon Thing and Revolution engage viewers by highlighting the extraordinariness of familiar everyday objects in a way that not only entertain the viewer, but might also make them ask..."Huh? How did he do that?"

Oliver Michaels has exhibited widely at venues including Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica; P.S.1, New York; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Cobra Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam; Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris; and Tate Britain, London. His videos can be found in the permanent collections of institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Krefelder Kunstmuseen, Germany. Oliver Michaels has a BFA with honors from central Saint Martins.

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Nancy Rubins

1952, Naples, Texas
Lives in Topanga, California

Collage, 2006

Giclée print on archival paper

Well-known for exuberant, large-scale sculptures made of manufactured objects like mattresses, row boats and canoes, small appliances, and salvaged airplane parts, Rubins also collages outsize photographic prints like this one. These energetic, two-dimensional works feature images from her large sculptures and reflect their commanding scale. That she is equally comfortable working on an intimate very small, but visually powerful, scale can be seen in her 16x20-inch Studies, 2006, six exquisitely crafted pigment prints that are also included in this collection.

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Edward Rushca

1937, Omaha, Nebraska
Lives in Los Angeles, California

Industrial Strength Sleep, 2007

Merino wool, cotton, and Trevira CS tapestry

True to his mid-western roots, Ruscha claims Norman Rockwell as one of his major influences. Deciding to become a commercial illustrator himself, Ruscha left his home in Oklahoma and moved to Los Angeles in 1956. He soon gave up commercial illustration and for the past fifty-some-years created works that are about both art and language, and has earned international acclaim as one of America’s most admired artists.

Industrial Strength Sleep is based on Ruscha’s 1989 painting by the same name, which was, in turn, based on photographer Edward Weston’s study of clouds. This piece is on loan from Ed Ruscha.

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