Pablo Picasso (Spanish, born 25 October 25, 1881-died April 8, 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 Malaga, 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 cafe 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 paintingLes 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 Georges Braque (French, 1882-1963), Picasso further developed Cubism, a revolutionary aesthetic in which artists attempted to capture multiple views of an object simultaneously, abstracting the subject matter in the process. Picasso and Braque also pioneered experiments with collage in their Cubist works, incorporating wallpaper, newspaper, and other materials into their canvases. Towards the 1920s, Picasso returned to more representational works, depicting classical figures and landscapes while dividing his time between Paris and Barcelona. Later in the decade, he began communicating with Surrealist artists, such as his friend Julio Gonzalez (Spanish, 1876-1942) . His work reflected the biomorphic forms and bright hues characteristic of the movement, though he always remained separated from the Surrealist circle. Deeply affected by the Spanish Civil War, Picasso painted his monumental work Guernica in 1937, famous for its poignant depictions of the anguish and destruction of the war.
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 Musee 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.
Hunt Slonem (American, b.1951) is a renowned painter known for producing Representational imagery and combining Abstract Expressionism. Slonem was born in Kittery, York County, ME. He attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME, in 1972, before moving to Tulane University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA, where he graduated with a BA in 1973. Slonem likes to paint tropical birds, and most of these paintings are based on the same birds he keeps in his aviary. He has always had a fascination with birds, even when he was a child living in Hawaii, or during his brief stint as a foreign exchange student in Managua, Nicaragua.
Slonem also likes to fuse mysticism, animal subjects of Islam, and Mexico in his works. Examples of his works include Crested(2005), Amazons (2006), and Two Metals (2012). As a child, Slonem lived in different places including Connecticut, Hawaii, Washington, and Virginia. The experience he had with these different cultures influenced his art greatly. Slonem moved to New York, NY, in 1972, and started experimenting with Nicaraguan holy cards, using them as subjects in most of his works. After visiting India in the 1980s, his work evolved again, becoming even more complex.
Slonem is a gifted artist who has received numerous awards for his works, such as Rotary International Exchange Student, Managua, Nicaragua (1968), Cultural Council Foundation Arts Project, New York, NY (1978), and Stars of Design Award, New York, NY (2009). He has been involved in a number of exhibitions. Examples of his solo exhibitions include those held at Harold Reed Gallery, New York, NY, (1977), Arreesa Gallery, Bombay, India (1987), and DTR Modern, Palm Beach, FL (2010). The group exhibitions Slonem has participated in are numerous too, and they include those held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (1993), Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM (1996), and National Gallery of Foreign Art, Sofia, Bulgaria (2009). Slonem is represented by the Marlborough Gallery. He lives and works in New York.
José Bedia was born in Havana, Cuba in 1959.
Bedia was trained in a traditional academic style but eventually created his own vision, combining elements of the indigenous cultures of Africa and America. The artist worked at the State University of New York at Old Westbury and later at the Rosebud Reservation with the Dakota Sioux. His works have been included in the biennials of both São Paulo and Venice. He has also participated in many of the large-scale exhibitions of Latin American art such as, the 1993 exhibition Latin American Artists of the Twentieth Century, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Art of the Fantastic: Latin America, 1920-1987, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Bedia currently lives in Miami.
Berenice Abbott (American, 1898-1991) was a notable photographer, born in Springfield, OH. After studying at Ohio State University, she traveled to New York to study sculpture, where she met Modernist visionaries Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray. Abbott began studying photography in the early 1920s, when she traveled to Europe and briefly attended both the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris and the Kunstschule in Berlin. While working as Man Ray’s assistant in Paris, Abbott first encountered the work of photographer Eugene Atget, whose influence became apparent in Abbott’s own work. Shortly thereafter, Abbott established a portrait studio, and photographed various artists and literary figures living in Paris, including James Joyce. Her first exhibition took place in 1926 at the Au Sacre du Printemps Gallery. In 1929, Abbott journeyed back to the United States and began what is perhaps her best-known project, a series of iconic photographs of New York City, which would make up her 1937 exhibition, Changing New York. Her book, also titled Changing New York, was subsequently published in 1938. Abbott was a teacher at the New School for Social Research until 1958, and established the Photo League with fellow American photographer Paul Strand in 1936. She died in Monson, ME in 1991.
Vik Muniz is a Contemporary visual artist who was born Vicente Jose de Oliveira Muniz (Brazilian, b.1961) in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Muniz began to discover art in the books he borrowed from his high school library. After studying advertising at the Fundacao Armando Alvares Penteado de Sao Paulo, he moved to Brooklyn, NY, with his family in 1983. The artist began his career as a sculptor in the late 1980s, but he gradually became more interested in drawing and photography.
In 1988, Muniz explored the memory, perception, and images represented in arts and communication. He created The Best of Life, the series of drawings in which he reproduced from his memory some of the famous photographs he saw in the magazine Life. He then photographed his drawings to give more reality to his memories. In the mid-1990s, in order to create witty, bold, and often deceiving images based on photojournalism and art history, Muniz began to incorporate unusual and everyday materials into his photographic process. These materials included dust, diamonds, sugar, dry pigment, ketchup, caviar, and wire. In 1997, Muniz became well-known for his Pictures of chocolate series, in which he used chocolate syrup to create his works. The artist borrowed from popular culture and Old Masters artists such as Georges Seurat and Vincent Van Gogh to make his works more familiar. He called this approach the “worst possible illusion.”
In 1998, he participated in the 24th International Biennale in Sao Paulo, and in 2001, he represented Brazil at the 49th Biennale in Venice, Italy. In 2006, Muniz created the series Pictures of Junk. In 2010, the documentary Waste Land, directed by Lucy Walker, followed Muniz for three years. During this time, the artist created art with recyclables at Jardim Gramacho, a landfill which serves the metropolis of Rio de Janeiro. Muniz collaborated with the people employed to pick out recyclable material from garbage and created large-scale mosaic portraits; these works were sold at art auctions in London and exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Sao Paulo. The artist has had his work exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Modern in London, the Centre National de la Photographie in Paris, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the KAsama Nichido Museum of Art in Japan, among many other prestigious institutions. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn.
Andy Warhol (August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987) was an American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist. The Andy Warhol Museum in his native city, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, holds an extensive permanent collection of art and archives. It is the largest museum in the United States of Americadedicated to a single artist.
Warhol’s art encompassed many forms of media, including hand drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, silk screening, sculpture, film, and music. He was also a pioneer in computer-generated art using Amiga computers that were introduced in 1984, two years before his death. He founded Interview Magazine and was the author of numerous books, including The Philosophy of Andy Warhol and Popism: The Warhol Sixties. He is also notable as a gay man who lived openly as such before the gay liberation movement. His studio, The Factory, was a famous gathering place that brought together distinguished intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights, Bohemian street people, Hollywood celebrities, and wealthy patrons.
Warhol has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, books, and feature and documentary films. He coined the widely used expression “15 minutes of fame”. Many of his creations are very collectible and highly valuable. The highest price ever paid for a Warhol painting is US$100 million for a 1963 canvas titled Eight Elvises.The private transaction was reported in a 2009 article in The Economist, which described Warhol as the “bellwether of the art market”. Warhol’s works include some of the most expensive paintings ever sold.
Miguel Florido was born on October 6, 1980, in San Jose de las Lajas, Havana, Cuba. Florido, a self-taught artist, has garnered several awards and honorable mentions including: First Place, Salon de Pintura Vedasto Acosta, San Jose de las Lajas, Havana, in 2002; Third Place in the International Competition La Mariposa Blanca, given by the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana, Cuba, in 1988; as well as other awards at provincial and national levels given to young Cuban talents. His works are part of private collections in Spain, France, the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Panama, Grand Cayman and Cuba. His work has sold very well at Sotheby’s and Chrisities auction houses. Florido is considered a rising star in the art world. The artist resides in San Jose de las Lajas, Havana, Cuba.
In 2003, journalist Justo J. Sanchez contextualized Florido’s works as follows:
The still-life genre, in the manner of Sanchez Cotan and the Dutch masters, is present in two of Florido’s series: Bodies Without Life and Blue Door. They are not works undertaken as virtuoso exercises in painterly technique. Florido considers them “self-portraits” or deep explorations of the magic of his environs. […] The notion of vanitas appears in the Florido canon removed from its Judeo-Christian denotation. In a work like La ultima alegria (2001), the dramatic tension of the fleeting moment –life ephemeral — is communicated with the same tenebristic intensity of the followers of Caravaggio. There is memento absentia rather than memento moris in the oeuvre of this young artist. Absence prompts the pictorial meditations of this Cuban incarnation of Sevillian Renaissance poet Fernando de Herrera.