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…)
Archive for the 'Obituary' Category
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…)
Artist and dealer Dorothee Fischer, who headed the Konrad Fischer gallery in Düsseldorf, and advocated for artists like Carl Andre, Joseph Beuys, and Blinky Palermo, has passed away at the age of 78. Fischer’s tireless, focused work in conceptual and minimal art built a dedicated group of artists around her, and she in turn built an impressive collection of 250 works, alongside her gallery archives, both of which were purchased by the Kunststiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen for over $1 million. (more…)
Alfred Taubman, the shopping mall developer and business mastermind who turned Sotheby’s from a private auction house to the publicly traded art market power it is today, has passed away at the age of 91.
Taubman earned his fortune during the years following World War II, re-engineering the American retail experience through his design and development of the modern shopping mall, and used his earnings to purchase Sotheby Parke Bernet for $130 million in 1983. Within five years, Taubman had retooled its customer experience and sales strategies before taking the company public in 1988. (more…)