Raised in Milan, Argentinean/Italian artist Lucio Fontana was actually born in Argentina on February 19, 1899.
During World War II, Fontana returned to Argentina, where he began to formulate his theory on the concept of space. In 1947, he founded Spazialismo, or “Spatialism,” which he defined in several manifestos as the idea that art should include an element of energy, so that space can be seen in a dynamic way by the viewer, in a constant state of transition and tension.
Upon his return to Italy in 1948, Fontana created his infamous set of Spatial Concept paintings, which were novel in his violent attack of the paint surface.
In 1966, he was awarded the Grand Prize for Painting at the Venice Biennale, a remarkable achievement occurring just two years before his death in 1968.
Happy birthday Fernand Léger! The famed French artist was born on this day in 1881.
With a career spanning over 50 years, Léger worked with a multitude of media, such as paint, ceramic, print, large-scale murals, film, theater and dance sets, glass, and book arts.
Early in his career, after viewing works by Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906), he abandoned his impressionistic style and began working in a style that eventually came to be known as Cubism. At the 1911 Salon des Independents, Léger exhibited paintings that solidified his role as a major Cubist painter.
Happy Birthday Murakami
Happy birthday Takashi Murakami! The Japanese artist celebrates his 51st birthday today.
Born in Tokyo, the painter and sculptor is famous for his integration of Fine Art, commercialism, Japanese aesthetics, and cultural criticism into his work.
His embrace of the commercial side of art reached a high point in 2003, when the artist began collaborating with Marc Jacobs in the redesign of the Louis Vuitton logo and handbags. Murakami currently lives and works in Tokyo and New York.
Happy Birthday Oldenburg
Born in Sweden in 1929, artist Claes Oldenburg celebrates his 84th birthday today!
Oldenburg’s family moved to the United States when he was a child, first settling down in New York, and then moving to Chicago in 1936. The artist lived in Chicago until he attended Yale University. In 1956, Oldenburg moved back to New York, where he met artists Jim Dine and Allan Kaprow, who were working to break the mold of the prior generation of Abstract Expressionists.
In 1961, Oldenburg staged his famous The Store, in which he rented space amidst actual shops on the East Side to sell traditional store goods recast as plaster sculptures, exposing the relationship between art and commodities.
From the 1970s onward, Claes Oldenburg focused his attention on large-scale outdoor public sculpture, for which he often collaborated with his wife, artist Coosje van Bruggen (1942–2009).
Celebrating Jackson Pollock
“Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is.”
Happy birthday Jackson Pollock! The pioneering Abstract Expressionist painter was born on this day in 1912, in Wyoming.
After moving to New York City in 1930, he spent the next two decades creating Figural, Landscape, and Abstract paintings.
In 1947, Pollock began to experiment with pouring paint directly from the can onto canvases placed on the floor. Sometimes, he used the assistance of sticks and other non-traditional materials, a technique with which he would become permanently identified.
Celebrating Barbara Kruger
Happy birthday Barbara Kruger! The celebrated Conceptual artist was born on this day in 1945. Born in Newark, NJ, Kruger is best known for her layered photographs, featuring provocative statements on issues surrounding commercial culture, feminism, and identity politics.
Happy Birthday Jeff Koons
Happy birthday Jeff Koons, the New York-based artist celebrates his 58th birthday today!
Koons inspires conflicted reactions to his over-sized sculptures of banal—and sometimes shocking—objects; some consider his work art historically significant, while others view him as an attention-seeker who panders to the high art world.
Koons quickly cultivated a media persona by hiring image consultants; however, his scandalous marriage to and subsequent divorce from the Hungarian-Italian pornstar Ciccolina also brought him much public attention!
Happy Birthday Cindy Sherman
Happy birthday Cindy Sherman! The famed photographer celebrates her 59th birthday today.
Sherman incorporates aspects of feminism, Performance Art, cultural criticism, and body and identity politics into her provocative work. The artist mainly photographs herself in disguises, examining issues of anxiety, disgust, the lurid, and the grotesque in her works.
Happy birthday Andreas Gursky! The famed German photographer celebrates his 58th birthday today.
Born in Leipzig, Germany, Gursky is best known for his colorful, bold, large-format depictions of contemporary life. 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.
“I think I make art for brave eyes. I don’t want to make art that will pat you on the back and tell you everything is going to be okay. I want to make something that’s much more confronting. You don’t look at it, it looks at you as much as you look at it.” - Robert Longo
Happy birthday Robert Longo! Born in Brooklyn, NY, Longo loved pop culture, cartoons, and print media as a child; this later significantly influenced his art. A sculptor and painter, Longo is well-known for examining urban life in bold works fusing pop culture and Fine Art.
Happy birthday Henri Matisse! The famous French artist was born on this day in 1869 in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France. One of the most prominent 20th-century artists, Matisse is best known as a founding member of the Fauvist movement, and for his modernist innovations in painting, sculpture, and his original cut-out papier découpés.
“I start a picture and I finish it. I don’t think about art while I work. I try to think about life.” - Jean Michel Basquiat
Happy birthday Jean Michel Basquiat! The iconic artist was born on this day in 1960 in Brooklyn, NY.
One of the first African American artists to reach international stature and wealth in the art world, Basquiat had a short but prolific career, rising to fame early for his fusion of multicultural symbols, biting social commentary, distinctive graphic style, and very temperamental personality!
Remembering Paul Klee
Swiss/German artist Paul Kleewas born on this day in 1879 in Münchenbuchsee. Renowned for his unique absorption of European Modernist movements, he incorporated techniques from Cubism, Surrealism, and German Expressionism into his paintings and works on paper.
Klee spent the last several years of his life painting works with sobering themes, reflecting the increased presence of violent, totalitarian regimes in Germany and Klee’s own declining health. He continued to paint, using broad, thick brushstrokes because of his physical condition, and died in 1940. He is celebrated as one of the most unique and innovative of the early 20th century Modernists.
Happy Birthday Marina
Happy birthday Marina Abramovic! Born in Belgrade in 1946, the controversial artist celebrates her 66th birthday today.
Celebrated as a pioneering practitioner of Performance Art, Abramovic is best known for her works that explore the physical limitations of the body, as well as the body’s potential as a vehicle to spiritual metamorphosis.
Happy birthday James Rosenquist! The famed artist was born on this day in 1933, in North Dakota.
Rosenquist is notorious for being the most openly political artist associated with the Pop Art movement. His fragmented imagery drew from many commercial, social, and political sources, often with sharply political implications.
During the Vietnam War, Rosenquist continued to paint on a large scale but became more openly critical of the American military-industrial complex. This resulted in such controversial works as F-111 Bomber, which fuses images of the “American Dream” with darker suggestions of nuclear war, missiles, and the emblematic US fighter-bomber.