William Morris saw the art world through the idealistic lens of socialism. He and the like-minded designers who clustered around him wanted nothing less than to redefine art by restoring "craft" to a place of value. True art for them was based in time-honored, populist traditions; the sometimes raw b
The medium didn't matter, but the object meant everything. Whether he was using his canvas for a Cubist experiment or his camera for an avant-garde digression, Fernand Leger always placed the object at the center of his work.
Leger was the only French Cubist to devote himself, throughout his c
After his fiftieth birthday Eugene Atget limited his diet to milk, bread, and bits of sugar; he honed in on his hygiene and lived to perfect his art. Peculiar in his habits and devoted to the development of photography, Atget struggled unnoticed for most of his life. It wasn't until his death that hi
As a young man, Xu Bing developed an odd relationship to language. The son of a professor and a librarian, he spent his early years surrounded by books that he could not read. His school years coincided with the Cultural Revolution, when he and other children were sent off to camps to learn Mao's new