Kevin Sampson

1954 · United States

Artist biography

Kevin Sampson is seen as an established contemporary artist, who was born in the United States. Kevin Sampson was born in 1954. Born in the same country and of the same generation are Jenny Holzer, Bill Viola, Carrie Mae Weems, Cindy Sherman and Jeff Koons.

Historical Context of United States

The United States, especially New York city, endures as a focal point that has played a substantial role in developing modern and contemporary art in the twentieth century. The idea of New York as a new multinational and highly powerful art hub emerged in the post war era, and the city succeeded in affirming its dominance over Paris, which used to be regarded as the most powerful global art capital.

The authority of the political and economic structures of the United States in the modern era has granted the country with a powerful influence on the visual culture of the world. Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptual Art, Neo-Expressionism, Graffiti and Street Art, are significant art movements that flourished in the US. These very movements also echoed into a myriad of variations, such as alternative forms of Abstract Expressionism, as well as East and West Coast variants of Pop Art, among others. Some internationally distinguished U.S artists of the contemporary period age include Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella, Donald Judd, Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger, Julian Schnabel, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring.

Further Biographical Context for Kevin Sampson

Born in 1954, Kevin Sampson's creative work was primarily influenced by the 1970s. Conceptualism is often perceived as a reaction to Minimalism, and the leading art movement of the 1970s, challenging the boundaries of art with its revolutionary features. The movements that succeeded were all characteristic of a strong desire to evolve and strengthen the art world, in response to the tensions of the previous decade. Process art branched out from Conceptualism, highlighting some of its most essential aspects, but going further in creating mysterious and experimental artistic journeys, while Land Art brought creation to the outsides, initiating early philosophies of environmentalism. In Germany, Expressive figure painting was given another chance for the first time since the weakening of Abstract Expressionism almost twenty years ago, the genre reclaimed its distinction through the brushstrokes of Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer and Georg Baselitz.

The majority of the critically acclaimed artists from the 1960s, who had gained success and popularity, kept their status in the 1970s. Andy Warhol was a key figure of those two decades, and in the 1970s started to experiment with film and magazine publishing, thus engaging in a cross-platform activity that no other visual artist of such standard had previously undertaken. By doing so, he secured his status as a celebrity.

The cosmopolitan and sophisticated position that New York city held in the 1960s remained just as influential in the 1970s. With multiple global renowned artists gravitating the galleries and downtown scene, the city once again strengthened its reputation as the artistic heart of the generation.

Street art started to appear as a true and recognized form of art towards the end of the 1970s. Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring were pioneers in proving that their artworks could subsist at the same time in art galleries and in urban settings. Driven by graffiti art, street art from its earliest days proved that it could endure in a unceasing flux of self-transformation, eternally shifting the boundaries of modern art, becoming a truly ground-breaking artistic genre.

Across the globe, numerous movements defined the 1970s. Amongst others, feminism and the new radical theories it entailed strongly influenced the visual culture. Photorealism, which had emerged in the 1960s, also received critical and commercial success. The critical, leading artistic figures of New York city started to embrace painters and sculptors from Latin America.

The critically engaged Mono-Ha movement, comprised of Japanese and Korean artists, blossomed in Tokyo in the 1970s. Rejecting conventional ideas of representation, the artists favoured an interpretation of the world through an engagement with materials and an examination of their properties. The artworks would often consist of encounters between natural and industrial materials such as stone, glass, cotton, sponge, wood, oil and water, mostly unchanged intact.

The Arte Povera movement, which appeared in Italy, received international acknowledgement in the 1970s, and leading figures such as Jannis Kounnelis, Mario Merz, and Michelangelo Pistoletto were praised.

Kevin Sampson

  • Exhibitions 1

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