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Andrea Zittel (American, born 1965)

About this artist

Source: Oxford University Press

American sculptor and installation artist. She studied painting and sculpture at San Diego State University in San Diego, CA, graduating in 1988. She then went on to study for her MFA in sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI, graduating in 1990. In 1992 she set up A–Z Administrative Services, a company which aimed to streamline domestic objects and rituals. For Prototypes for Container, Cover, Support (1993; see 1993 exh. cat., pp. 29–30), Zittel made the objects itemized in the title and gave them to a group of volunteers who then recorded their experiences of using them. Each object was designed to be as multi-functional as possible: the container, for example, could be used as a bowl, a holder and a vase. Zittel expanded on these ideas of functional living by making self-contained units for dining, study and recreation. In 1993 she began to customize the units according to the client for whom they were designed, such as the A–Z Comfort Units Customised for the Cincinnati Art Museum (1994; Cincinnati, OH, A. Mus.), in which each unit housed items from the museum’s collections. In the mid-1990s she made a series of customized trailers as complete living environments that attempted to create a completely functional, yet individualized domestic space: see, for example, Travel Trailer Unit (1995; San Francisco, CA, MOMA). Zittel’s work draws on Modernist concepts of design and architecture reminiscent of those promoted by the Bauhaus School of Design. Her use of a commercial style in the promotional literature for her ‘products’, and of A–Z Administrative Services as the front for her practice, situates her art within the convenience culture of American society.

Catherine M. Grant
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press

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