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Umbrella Online - Current Issue

umbrella on line

ISSN 0160-0699

Volume 31, No. 1, Mar 2008

ArtPEOPLE

AWARDS

George Tooker and Andrew Wyeth were two artists among nine recipients of the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence.

Brian Selznick won the Randolph Caldecott award for top picture book of 2007 for “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” a 500-plus page hybrid of a graphic novel and traditional illustrated story about an orphan boy and a robot in Paris at the turn of the 20th century. He was influenced by George Mélies’s early movies, especially ”A Trip to the Moon.” It reads like a book, but it looks like a film.

Laurie Anderson won the 2007 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize of $300,000.

PASSINGS

Caroline K. Keck, a pioneer of art conservation, died in December at the age of 99. She and her husband, Sheldon, were two of the most influential conservators of the modern era, founding the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University in 1950.

Victor Schreckengost, a distinguished yet largely unsung industrial designer who spent most of the 20th century quietly infusing eery corner of the United States with his work, from dinnerware for the average home to the prized Art Deco “Jazz” bowls for the White House, died in February at the age of 101. Among his designs were the first cab-over-engine truck, designed in 1933, which added five feet to the hauling area; spectacular streamlined pedal cars from the late 1930s and afterward, shaped like race cars, jet planes and atomic missiles; and the Sears Spaceliner bicycle, from the mid-1960s.

Jens Quistgaard, a celebrated Danish industrial designer whose clean-lined and immensely popular pieces for the Dansk brand of tableware helped define the Scandinavian Modern style for postwar Americans, died in January at the age of 88. He was designer of the Kobenstyle cookware line, distributed by Dansk.

Richard Knerr, co-founder of Wham-O, Inc., which unleashed the grand-daddy of American fads, the Hula Hoop, on the world half a century ago along with another enduring leisure icon, the Frisbee, died in January at the age of 82.

Milford Zornes, a watercolorist, who traveled the world for his art but is best known for the everyday scenes of Southern California he painted starting in the 1940s, died on 1 March at the age of 100 at his home in Claremont, California. He was active even at the opening of the exhibit celebrating his 100th birthday at the Pasadena Museum of California Art.

Liam O’Galagher, an avant-garde sound artist, painter and teacher whose San Francisco studio became an early gathering place for Beat writers and poets in the 1950s, died on 4 December at his home in Santa Barbara, California at the age of 90.

Karlheinz Stockhausen, an original and influential German composer who began his careers as an inventor of new musical systems and ended it making operas to express his spiritual vision of the cosmos, died in December at his home in Germany at the age of 79.

Michael Goldberg, an abstract painter of the New York School whose vibrant works are in major museums and private collections, died on 31 December at the age of 83, while working in his studio, which he had taken over from Mark Rothko in the 1950s.

Ettore Sottsass Jr., the influential Italian designer and architect whose creations–including the now-iconic red Olivetti portable typewriter–were designed to change the perception of functional objects and enhance the experience of using them, died of heart failure on New Year’s Day at his home in Milano, at the age of 90. He designed everyday items as well, including office cabinets, table lamps, ice buckets and silverware.

Douglas O. Morgan, a publisher whose extensive collection of rare 19th-century wood type letterforms helped start a graphic design revival, died in December at the age o 75. He began acquiring antique wood types in the 1950s while managing an independent printing and publishing house that showcased 20th-century photographers. Called the Morgan Press Type Collection, the type was sold to the Push Pin Studios in New York and other designers. The Morgan collection including type and printers ornaments is housed today at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

Stephen Radich, a New York art gallery owner who became embroiled in a famous legal case involving flag desecration in the late 1960s, died in December at the age of 85. The case became a cause célèbre in the New York art world. In 1970, the Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village organized the People’s Flag Show to protest Radich’s conviction. Many works in different media featured flags.

Boris Lurie, a Russian-born artist who survived the Holocaust and then depicted its horrors while leading a confrontational movement called No! Art, died in January at the age of 83.

Tatsuzo Shimaoka, a potter who was designated a “living national treasure” in Japan for his mastery of his craft, died in December in Mashiko, Japan, where he had maintained a studio since 1953. He was 88. His philosophy maintained that beauty was to be found in utility, and art in humility. This was “mingei”, or “craft of the people.”

Allan Grant, a Life magazine photographer who got the last photo shoot with Marilyn Monroe weeks before her death and the first pictures of Marina Oswald just hours after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, died in Brentwood, Los Angeles, at the age of 88.

Walter Bowart, a founder and the first publisher of The East Village Other, a New York newspaper so countercultural that it made The Village Voice look like a church circular, died in December at the age of 68. Published twice a month from 1965 to 1972, the East Village Other was among the country’s first major underground newspapers.

Phillip Lloyd Powell, a self-taught furniture designer who, working largely out of the public eye, produced elegant, sculptural pieces that are today highly prized by collectors, died in March at the age of 88.

Baird Jones, 53, died away from the noisy, glittery, late-night places where he was a regular among regulars, where he was, by turns, a promoter and a would-be gossip columnist who once asked Arthur Miller about sex with Marilyn Monroe. He sometimes peddled tidbits about A-list celebrities, but more often trafficked in what he said were transcripts of question-and-answer sessions with less luminous stars – B- or even C-listers. Tape recorder in hand, he was a longtime fixture on the party scene and — on slow days on the gossip circuit – in the columns. He died in February. He did a column for Coagula.

William Brice, an artist best known for grand-scale abstract paintings that suggest fragments of ancient classical ruins, died in February at the age of 86. Brice, who also was an influential art teacher at UCLA for decades, the son of comedian Fanny Brice and Jules “Nicky” Arnstein, taught art at UCLA from the early 1950s and became an emeritus professor in 1991.

Nader Khalili, an architect who developed low-budget adobe housing for emergency shelter and poverty-stricken areas, died in March at the age of 72. He founded the Cal-Earth Institute in the desert near Hesperia, where students learned how to build his dome-shaped houses. He also taught architecture at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (Sci-ARC) for many years.

Boris Lurie, a Russian-born artist who survived the Holocaust and then depicted its horrors while leading a confrontational movement called No! Art, died in January. He had moved to New York from Leningrad and began painting, joining up with two others to create shows such as the Doom show and the Vulgar Show, intentionally jarring and provocative (no-art.info). Lurie was the last survivor of the three, leaving no immediate survivors.

Rafael Tufiño, a painter and printmaker considered one of Puerto Rico’s most prominent cultural figures, died in March at the age of 85. Known as the “Painter of the People for his canvases and posters depicting traditional aspects of life on the island, Tufiño’s death necessitated all flags to be flown at half-staff on the island for the weekend after he died.

Magda Cordell McHale, an artist who was one of the founding members of the Independent Group in London in the early 1950s and later became a renowned sociologist and writer in the field of futurism, died in February at the age of 86.

Mary Meader, who as a spunky new bride in the 1930s took off on a 35,000-mile journey to advance geographic knowledge by making unprecedented aerial photographs of South America and Africa, died at the age of 91 in Kalamazoo, MI. It added to the American Geographic Society’s desire to create an archive of aerial views. Her photos conveyed a sense of vastness and grandeur.

Philip Jones Griffiths, a crusading photojournalist whose pictures of civilian casualties and suffering were among the defining images of the war in Vietnam, died in March at the age of 72. His book, “Vietnam Inc.,” is considered a classic, helping to turn public opinion against the war. (1971)