Artist, writer and curator Dan Graham, a vital force and vision in the development of conceptual art who used the language and grammar of architecture as a way to explore culture, space and perception, has passed away at the age of 79. The artist, whose body of work consistently defied easy classifications, often used architectural pavilions, glass and mirrors to shape and define the experience of space, allowing viewers to move through and into his pieces to experience peculiar constructions and arrangements of spatial relations. (more…)
Archive for the 'Obituary' Category
Carmen Herrera, the Cuban-born painter who found success late in her career, has passed away at the age of 106. A pioneer and longtime explorer of hard-edged graphical abstraction and minimalist compositions, Herrera was a quiet but consistent voice in the development of 20th Century art, and a formative voice in the language of the postwar avant-garde. (more…)
Painter Wayne Thiebaud, for his colorful works depicting commonplace objects—pies, lipsticks, paint cans, ice cream cones, pastries, and hot dogs—as well as for his landscapes and figure paintings–all of which served as early salvos in the development of modern pop art, has passed away at the age of 101. (more…)
Artist Etel Adnan, the artist and writer whose colorful, minimalist landscapes and incisive writing about political conflict, trauma, and the Middle East made her a diverse and expressive voice in the Contemporary Arts landscape, has passed away at the age of 96. Adnan, raised in Lebanon but based in California for the past several decades, was an international literary figure, and a powerful fixture in the exploration and criticism of violence and war.
Artist Chuck Close, a pioneer of the postmodern and contemporary portraitist, has passed away at the age of 81. A defining voice in the landscape of New York’s post-war art scene, the artist leaves behind a legacy of work that mixed together an insightful use of photorealist technique and subtle commentary on its construction to create an influential body of work. (more…)
The French conceptual artist Christian Boltanski has passed away at the age of 76, his gallery announced this week. The artist, whose work long explored the notion of absence and trauma in the face of death and violence, politics and memory, leaves behind a legacy of works that challenge the progression of history at human scale, rendering physical traces and concrete representations of lives lost, bodies now absent, and spaces haunted by past events. (more…)
Christo, the Bulgarian artist known for massively scaled environmental works that spread miles of fabric and other materials across natural landmarks and buildings at sites around the globe, has passed away at the age of 84. Working for much of his life alongside his late wife, Jeanne-Claude, who passed away in 2009, the artist’s iconic pieces, like 2005’s The Gates in New York’s Central Park, or his wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin, turned modern locales into subtle, surreal echoes of themselves. (more…)
Pioneering painter Ed Clark, the African-American painter known for his use of a push broom to spread bold colors across his canvases to create energetic and engaging comments on the state of the world, has passes away at the age of 93. His death was announced by his gallery, Hauser & Wirth. (more…)
Artist John Giorno, the poet and artist whose practice turned poetry towards a living, breathing mode of art, separated from the page, has passed away at the age of 82 in his home in Lower Manhattan. A longtime fixture in the New York art scene, Giorno would explore a range of techniques and modes for promoting his work outside the book or magazine. He founded Giorno Poetry Systems, a nonprofit foundation, and designed a mass communication system called Dial-A-Poem, which allowed for people to call in and hear orated poetry over the phone. (more…)
Marisa Merz, the Italian sculptor whose enigmatic and intricate sculptural arrangements was a foundational part of the impact of the Arte Povera movement in the country and around the globe, has passed away at the age of 93. Merz, the only woman associated with the vanguard movement, blazed her own path through the landscape of post-war Italy, and founded a sculptural language that is enduringly important today.
The wife of Mario Merz, Marisa was born in Turin, Italy, in 1926, but little information on her early years persists. Yet her time at home during the 1960’s marked her first experiments with simple materials, working with sheets of metal and thread to create nuanced clusters of material and subtle engagements with her family life. Merz’s work maintained a sense of intimacy and love, tenderness and the human body, that marked her work as distinct from her contemporaries, and which has made her work enduringly resonant.
She is survived by her daughter Beatrice, who heads the Fondazione Merz, and who told the NYT Style section in 2017: “I recently asked her how some of her works came about, what was the thought, inspiration, or approach behind them. She answered that she always and only did what she liked, and that every work originated from the pleasure of making it, from a spontaneous gesture or finding of a particular object or material.”
American painter Joyce Pensato, whose recurring cast of American pop icons and slurred, often disturbing renditions of familiar cartoon characters made her a standout of the late 20th Century New York downtown scene, has passed away at the age of 78. (more…)
Artist Carolee Schneemann, the artist whose work relentlessly challenged and reframed cultural discourses and taboos around sex, identity and gender, has died at the age of 79.
Born in Philadelphia, Schneemann studied at Bard in New York, and would continually challenge assumptions regarding her gender as an artist, including a suspension from the school over painting nude self-portraits. Schneeman would still graduate, and would move to New York, where she became involved in the city’s experimental arts scene. Exploring performance works, she would challenge the viewer’s engagement with the female body, famously pulling a reel of text from her vagina to read aloud in public for her work Interior Scroll, while another performance, Up to and Including Her Limits suspended her naked from the ceiling of a gallery, swinging about to mark the walls with crayon.
Schneemann would continue to make challenging and confrontational work throughout her career, ultimately receiving the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale in 2017. “I think I’m stubborn. In the beginning, I had no precedent for being valued,” she told the Guardian in 2015. “Everything that came from a woman’s experience was considered trivial. I wasn’t sure if my work would shift that paradigm or not, but I had to try.”
Performance artist Carolee Schneemann dies aged 79 [Guardian]
Film-maker Jonas Mekas, a figure who loomed large in the New York cinematic landscape, and an artist widely considered the godfather of underground cinema, has died at the age of 96. A founder of both the famed Film Culture magazine and the still operating Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan, his energetic engagement with all aspects of filmmaking helped to nurture the careers of filmmakers like John Waters and Jim Jarmusch, among others. “Jonas passed away quietly and peacefully early this morning,” the Film Archives wrote online. “He was at home with family. He will be greatly missed but his light shines on.” (more…)
Artist Robert Morris, a defining voice of American conceptualism, and a contributing force in the development of an American post-war avant-garde, has passed away at the age of 87. The artist, who embraced a complex and ever-shifting series of investigations into the production, elaboration and understanding of both the art object and its function in both exhibition and broader cultural modes, passed away after a battle with pneumonia.
Enrico Castellani, one of Europe’s pioneering avant-garde artists in the year’s following WWII, has passed away at the age of 87 in his home of Celleno, Italy, near Rome. Castellani was a relentlessly inventive and creative painter, having worked closely with a number of groups and collectives including Cobra group, Group Zero, and the Neo-Concrete artists in Brazil. (more…)
Vito Acconci, the groundbreaking artist, architect and performer whose impact on the field of contemporary art counts among the most influential of the 20th Century, has passed away at the age of 77. Acconci suffered a stroke this week, from which he did not recover.
Chinese photographer Ren Hang, known for his bold style and provocative nude images, has passed away at the age of 29 of an apparent suicide. Hang was a self-taught photographer who drew frequent controversy in his home country for his unapologetic depictions of both male and female models, and had previously been arrested a number of times over his work.
Greek-Italian Arte Povera pioneer Jannis Kounellis has passed away in Rome at the age of 80, according to the Italian Minister of Culture. “It is a sad day, Kounellis has left us. A master, Italian by adoption, who left a mark on contemporary art,” Minister Dario Franceschini tweeted today. (more…)
Ingrid Sichy, International Editor of Condé Nast, former editor of Interview Magazine, and longtime contributor to Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, passed away late this week in New York City at the age of 63. Sichy was a foundational chronicler of the New York avant-garde and modern fashion for nearly forty years, and was a fixture at openings and runway shows around the globe. “She could write about anything, but what interested her most were art and fashion, and she traversed those two hothouses like a bemused empress,” says Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter. “She had a crisp mind and an almost uncanny focus when she sat down to write. She was a fun, conspiratorial gossip, but never with malice or envy — the working tools of so many gossips.” (more…)