Terry Fox (artist)

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Terry Alan Fox (1943 – 14 October 2008)[1] was an American Conceptual artist known for his work in performance art, video, and sound. He was of the first generation conceptual artists and he was a central participant in the West Coast performance art, video and Conceptual Art movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s.[2] Fox was active in San Francisco and in Europe, living in Europe in the latter portion of his life.[3]


Fox was in 1943 born in Seattle, Washington.[1] At the age of seventeen in 1960, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease.[4][5] His Hodgkin’s Disease was later referencing the cycles of illness and wellness in several artworks.[4] He studied art at Cornish College of the Arts (1961), while working at Boeing Aircraft.[5][6] He continued his studies at Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma (1962).[7][5] Fox was largely self taught in video art.[5] He was in remission of Hodgkin's Disease by 1972.[5]

Fox was an important figure in post-minimal sculpture, conceptual art, performance, and video art on the West Coast. Before permanently moving to Europe, he was based in San Francisco in the late 1960s and 1970s and was associated with the underground art scene.[2] Fox moved often and lived in the following cities - Rome (1962), San Francisco (1963–1966, late 1968–1978), Paris (1967–early 1968, 1972), Naples (1983–1984), New York City (1978–1979).[5][8] In 1980, he moved to Europe permanently and eventually settled in Liège, Belgium.[5]

His seminal series of works (environments, performances, sculptures, drawings) produced over an eight-year period was based on the theme of the configuration of the Chartres Labyrinth.[3]

He died in Cologne, Germany on 14 October 2008.

Fox has been included in numerous international solo and group exhibitions including the documenta 5, Kassel, 1975 Whitney Biennial and 1984 Venice Biennale. He had two major exhibitions in Berkeley, his first solo museum show curated by Brenda Richardson in 1973, and one in 1985 organized around the body of works owned by the Berkeley Art Museum organized by Constance Lewallen. His retrospective solo exhibition was organized by the Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel in 2003.


Performance work[edit]

Performance work
Year Title Type Location Notes
1968–1969 Public Theater events and posters in outdoor locations San Francisco Bay Area
1970 Isolation Unit action/performance with Joseph Beuys Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany
1970 Wall Push action/performance Museum of Conceptual Art, San Francisco, California
1970 Defoliation action/performance University Art Museum, Berkeley, California
1971 Levitation action/performance, installation Richmond Art Center, Richmond, California [9]


Year Title Type Runtime Notes
1970 Rain Super 8 film, black and white 3 minutes
1970 Sweat Super 8 film, black and white 3 minutes
1970 Breath Super 8 film, color 3 minutes
1970 Tonguings videotape 30 minutes
1970 Rakes Progress videotape 30 minutes
1971 Turgescent Sex videotape 40 minutes
1971 Needles Punctured film 30 minutes
1971 Clutch videotape 50 minutes
1972 Washing film 15 minutes
1972 Azione per un Bacile Super 8 film, color 30 minutes
1972 The fire... videotape, color 30 minutes
1973 Incision videotape 15 minutes
1974 Children's Tapes videotape, black and white 30 minutes [1][3]
1976 Timbre videotape of performance 30 minutes Camera work by Al Wong[10]
1976 Lunar Rambles videotape, color 33 minutes [11]


  • Berlino\Rallentando. LP record. Eindhoven, The Netherlands: Het Appollohuis, 1989.
  • Isolation Unit (Terry Fox: Pipes; Joseph Beuys: Seeds). (Extended play record, produced by the artists), 1970. Edition 500.
  • Linkage. LP record with text by Martin Kunz. Lucerne, Switzerland: Kunstmuseum, 1982.
  • Mag Magazine #3: Joan La Barbara/Terry Fox. Audiocassette edition. Vienna, Austria: Galerie Grita Insam, 1979.
  • Revolutions per Minute. One cut on record of artists' sound works. New York: Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, 1982.
  • The Labyrinth Scored for the Purrs of 11 Different Cats. Audiocassette. Eindhoven, The Netherlands: Het Appollohuis, 1989.


  • Richardson, Brenda. ‘’Terry Fox’’. Berkeley: University Art Museum, University of California, 1973.
  • Foley, Suzanne. Space Time Sound, Conceptual Art in the San Francisco Bay Area: The 1970s. San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1981. ISBN 0-295-95879-0
  • Albright, Thomas. Art of the San Francisco Bay Area, 1945 - 1980. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985. ISBN 0-520-05193-9, ISBN 978-0-520-05193-5
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst, University Gallery. In site: five conceptual artists from the Bay Area: Terry Fox, Howard Fried, David Ireland, Paul Kos, Tom Marioni: University Gallery, Fine Arts Center, University of Massachusetts Amherst, February 2 March 17, 1990. Amherst: University Gallery, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 1990.
  • Fox, Terry, Eva Schmidt, Matthias Osterwold, Bern Schulz; ‘’Terry Fox: Works with Sound’’. Kehrer; 2003, ISBN 3-933257-04-2
  • Phillips, Glenn, ed. California Video: Artists and Histories. Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute and J. Paul Getty Museum, 2008, ISBN 978-0-89236-922-5


  1. ^ a b c "Terry Fox". Smithsonian American Art Museum. Retrieved 2020-10-28.
  2. ^ a b Neff, Eileen (April 1993). "Eileen Neff on Terry Fox". ArtForum magazine. Retrieved 2020-10-28.
  3. ^ a b c "Terry Fox: Resonance". The Lab. Retrieved 2020-10-28.
  4. ^ a b Rosenmeyer, Aoife (2017-05-26). "Terry Fox". ARTnews.com. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Nash, Steven A.; Berkson, Bill (1995-01-01). Facing Eden: 100 Years of Landscape Art in the Bay Area. University of California Press. p. 193. ISBN 978-0-520-20363-1.
  6. ^ Montano, Linda (2000). Performance Artists Talking in the Eighties. University of California Press. p. 500. ISBN 978-0-520-21022-6.
  7. ^ "Terry Fox Biography". Electronic Arts Intermix. Archived from the original on 2011-01-21. Retrieved 2020-10-28.
  8. ^ Lewallen, Constance; Moss, Karen; Bryan-Wilson, Julia; Rorimer, Anne (2011-10-31). State of Mind: New California Art Circa 1970. Univ of California Press. p. 259. ISBN 978-0-520-27061-9.
  9. ^ "Tom Marioni / MATRIX 39 | BAMPFA". UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY ART MUSEUM & PACIFIC FILM ARCHIVE. The Regents of the University of California. Retrieved 2020-10-28.
  10. ^ "Terry Fox: Timbre". Open Space. Retrieved 2020-10-28.
  11. ^ "Electronic Arts Intermix: Lunar Rambles: Brooklyn Bridge, Terry Fox; The Kitchen". www.eai.org. Retrieved 2020-10-28.

External links[edit]