Martha Rosler

(b. 1943)

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(1943– ).

Photographer, performance artist, video artist, and mixed-media artist. Employing photography along with techniques related to conceptual art, performance art, and installation art, she seeks to elicit critical thought on social and political issues. While questioning the ideological nature of all representation, she aims her aesthetic and ethical drive at apperception of lived social experience and its sometimes hidden meanings. Born in New York, in 1965 she graduated from Brooklyn College, where she majored in English and studied with Ad Reinhardt. In her early years as an artist, she painted but also took street photographs and began to experiment with montage. She credits Jean-Luc Godard's stringent yet powerful films of the early 1960s as a formative influence on her sensibility. In 1968 she moved to San Diego, where she earned an MFA from the University of California in 1974. Rosler first came to public attention with a series of photomontages collectively titled Bringing the War Home (1967–72). In these, she combined images from the Vietnam War with representations of suburban interiors gleaned from popular magazines, shockingly resituating the televised war into the homes where it could be viewed on a nightly basis. In the 1970s she produced work related to feminist art, often stressing the relationships between food and women's lives, as in the 1975 video Semiotics of the Kitchen. In 1980 Rosler returned to the New York area. Since then, while teaching at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, she has continued to probe social problems, such as homelessness and social alienation. Her 2004 anthology, Decoys and Disruptions: Selected Writings, 1975–2001, comprises thirteen critical essays, along with illustrations from her work.

Subjects: Art.

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