Frank West, Austrian (1947 - )
Franz West lives and works in Vienna, where he was born in 1947. West began his career in mid-1960s Vienna when a local movement called Actionism was in full swing. West's earliest sculptures, performances, and collages were a reaction to this movement, in which artists engaged in displays of radical public behavior and physical endurance meant to shake up art-world passivity. In the early 1970s, West began making a series of small, portable sculptures called "Adaptives" ("Paßtücke"), awkward-looking plaster objects that were only completed as artworks when the viewer picked them up and carried them around, or performed some other inherently slapstick action with them. In many ways, his large-scale aluminum sculptures are simply overgrown versions of the "Adaptives." But they also relate directly to his installations, where west makes furniture. West has the ability to make comfortable and colorfully upholstered couches and chairs which transform galleries, museums, and public spaces into lounge-like, sociable environments for viewing art.