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Umbrella Online - Current Issue

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ISSN 0160-0699

Volume 29, No. 3, Sep 2006

ArtPEOPLE

AWARDS

The Praemium Imperiale Laureates have added five new names to this prestigious award by the Japan Art Association: Kusama Yayoi, painting; Christian Boltanski, sculpture; Frei Otto, architecture, Steve Reich, music, and Maya Plisetskaya, theatre/film. This is the world’s largest and most prestigious arts prize, now in its 18th year, with each laureate receiving an honorarium of 15 million yen ©. $131,000), and a diploma and medal.

Four artists were included in the MacArthur Foundation “genius” grants announced in September. The grants are for $500,000 over five years: David Macaulay of Norwich, VT, an author and illustrator of architecture and engineering, creating books for adults and young people; Josia McElheny, a glass sculptor of New York City; Shahzia Sikander, a painter merging the traditional South Asian art and of miniature painting with contemporary forms, of New York City, and Anna Schuleit, an artist who creates large installation projects.

Shirin Neshat, Iranian-born visual artist, has been awarded the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, one of the largest arts awards, in recognition of her explorations of Islam and gender relations. The award is for $300,000 along with a silver medallion.

James Nachtwey, New York-based photographer, who has shot war and famine for Time magazine for more than 20 years, has won the Heinz Award in the arts and humanities. His work has appeared in National Geographic, Stern and the New York Times Magazine. His “concern with heightening awareness of global social injustice, by his unflinching witness through the camera” has merited this award of $250,000.

Jacques Herzon and Pierre de Meuron, the Swiss architcts, whose projects have included the Tate Modern in London, have won the Royal Gold Medal, given in recognition of a lifetime’s work and approved personally by Queen Elizabeth II. Their projects in the U.S. include the Walker Art Center expansion, the new de Young Museum in San Francisco, the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, NY, and the Miami Art Museum.

PASSINGS

Frederick G. Kilbour, a distinguished librarian who nearly 40 years ago transformed a consortium of Ohio librries into what is now the largest library cooperative in the world, making the catalogs of thousands of libraries around the globe instantly accessible to far-flung patrons, died on 31 July at the age of 92. He was the author in 1998 of “The Evolution of the Book”, published by Oxford University Press.

Alexandr Zhdanov, a Soviet dissident artist whose life and work were marked by difficulty, defiance and determination, died 17 July at the age of 68. He was part of a group of independent-minded underground artists who challenged the authority of the Soviet Union’s communist officials. He paid the price for rebellion by being thrown out of his homeland two years before perestroika brought an end to the Soviet regime. He was known for his expressionist style to depict stark landscapes. He moved with his wife to New York and then to Washington, DC.

Edgar Ewing, an artist who was known for his Cubist-inspired paintings and also taught art at USC for 32 years, died in early July at the age of 93. He also experimented with Dadaist humor in his art.

Catherine Leroy, a photo-journalist whose stark images of battle helped tell the story of Vietnam in Life magazine and other publications, died in July at the age of 60.

Jason Rhoades, Los Angeles artist, who became more celebrated in Europe than in the United States for elaborate installations that broke down conventional confines between performance and conventional art, died suddenly in early August at the age of 41.

Hugh Stubbins Jr., an architect best known for the angular tower of the Citicorp Center in Manhattan, but also noted for his design of the Reagan Presidential Library in California and of the tallest building in Japan, died in July at the age of 94. Although considered a Modernist, he was no strict adherent to any architectural style. He and his firm designed more than 800 buildings in eight countries, including many buildings on college campuses. His last building was the Landmark Tower in Yokohama, Japan. The 60-story building, which flares at is base, is the tallest building in Japan.

Annely Juda, the indomitable doyenne of British art dealers, she inspired fear and devotion in equal measure. died at the age of 91. Tiny but formidable, she could strike terror into the heart of an errant artist. She said what she thought, whether it was asked for or not, and over 40 years built up a reputation as one of the most discerning of contemporary dealers, with a stable of artists loyal to her personally, as well as to her. Her career spanned five decades representing artists such as Anthony Caro, the Christos, David Hockney, Tadashi Kawamata, among others. Her annual summer shows featured non-objective art introducing from the Russian avant-garde to die Stijl and Bauhaus artists to the London art world.

Diane Shamash, the founder and executive director of Minetta Brook, a nonprofit art organization that helped bring the artist Robert Smithson’s quixotic “Floating Island” project to life last year and sent it circumnavigating Manhattan for nine days, died in August at the age of 51. Previously, she had been the public art program manager for the Seattle Arts Commission, which produced several projects on that city’s streets and along its waterfront.

Ed Thrasher, an art director and photographer who designed defining album covers for Jimi Hendrix, Frank Sinatra and the Beach Boys, and helped shape the enduring image of rock and pop in the 1960s and 70s, died in August at the age of 74. He received more than a dozen Grammy Award nominations for album design. With Frank Sinatra, he devised the title, “Ol’ Blue Eyes is Back,” which was used for advertising Sinatra’s return to the concert circuit in 1974.

Umberto Baldini, one of Italy’s most influential art conservationists, who led efforts to restore hundreds of artworks in Florence after the 1966 flooding of the Arno River, died in August at the age of 84. He was an elegant, understated scholar who knew not only his art history but how to preserve the huge Italian heritage. In 1983, he was placed in charge of Italy’s Central Institute for Restoration in Rome, the country’s leading conservation institute, after being the conservationist at the Uffizi for many years in the 1950s and 1960s.

Richard Mock, painter, sculpture whose interest in politics led to a second career as an editorial cartoonist, died in July in Brooklyn at the age of 61. His death followed a long illness. His art ranged from Neo-Expressionist art through portraiture and self-portraiture to bright, paint-laden abstractions. But with linocut, he reached his stride in creating satiric illustrations on social and political issues that appeared on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times from 1980 to 1996, in other New York-based newspapers and in worldwide publications. His influences were German Expressionist Max Beckmann and Mexican printmaker José Guadalupe Psoada.

Andree Ruellan, an American-born artist who began her career with a one-woman show in Paris at age 20 and last year celebrated her 100th birthday with a retrospective exhibition that traveled to several U.S. cities, died in July in Kingston, NY. Inspired by Robert Henri and other members of the American Ashcan school in the early 1900s, Ruellan became best known for her paintings of everyday life and for her impressionist brushwork. Her 100th Birthday anniversary was celebrated in her last major exhibition:“Andree Ruellan’s 100th Birthday” at the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens in March 2005.

Rudi Stern, a multimedia artist who used light and neon to create psychedelic shows for Timothy Leary and vibrant environments for the legendary New York disco Studio 54, died in August of complications from lung cancer. His “psychedelic celebrations” for Leary were created with artist Jackie Cassen. He also did work for Laurie Anderson, among many others.

Elaine Hodges, who combined art with science in her meticulous drawings of insects and other organisms as a scientific illustrator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, died in June at the age of 69. Her illustrations of bees, moths, mosquitoes, fleas and other invertebrates were seldom seen by the vast number of visitors to the Smithsonian’s museums in Washington, DC, but appeared primarily in scientific papers and books. She was a very special illustrator, sometimes spending 80 hours to do one drawing. Through her artistry and the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, which she founded, she became a prominent figure in her field.

Masumi Hayashi, a photographer who used panoramic collages to make beautiful and powerful statements on toxic waste sites, abandoned prisons and remnants of the internment camps that held Japanese Americans during World War II,d ied in August at the age of 60. A California native, she was a longtime professor of photography at Cleveland State University. She was found shot to death near her third-floor apartment in Cleveland, while another tenant, an artist and sculptor who worked as a maintenance man in the apartment complex, was also found shot to death near the ground floor. Before she became a professor in Cleveland, she was involved in a range of artistic endeavors, including printmaking, silk screening and photo-transfer quilting. She developed her own systematic photographic style in which she took multiple exposures of a subject an assembled them into panoramic scenes. The finished pieces were large, sometimes 6 feet wide or more.

Marion Cajori, an independent filmmaker who chronicled the creative process in documentaries about artists, died in early August at the age of 56 as a result of cancer.. She worked as director, producer and writer, but her interest in artists came from her parents, two New York painters, Charles Cajori and Anne Child. She earned a B.F.A. at School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and was a member of the feminist editorial collective Heresies in the early 1970s.

She collaborated with Joseph Kosuth to make her first film, “Sept. 11, 1972”, a Minimalist portrait of sunlight in her studio. She also collaborated with video artist Joan Jonas and the director Lizzie Borden. She made films about Joan Mitchell, Chuck Close, Louise Bourgeois.

Arlene Raven, a pioneering historian and advocate of women’s art, died in Brooklyn, NY at the age of 62 on 1 August.

She was the founder in 1973, along with Judy Chicago and Sheila de Bretteville, of the Feminist Studio Workshop, the educational component of the Woman’s Building in Los Angeles. She did feminist conscious-raising, was creator and editor of Chrysalis, an influential magazine of women’s culture, and in 1977 she initiated the Lesbian Art Project, in which she took part as a performance. She was also a founder of the Women’s Caucus for Art.

She was author or editor of nine books, including the important anthology “Feminist Art Criticism” (1988) with Cassandra L. Langer and Joanna Frueh as co-editors. She published widely as a critic and essayist and received the Frank Jewett Mather Award for distinction in art criticism from the College Art Association in 2001.

Walter Allner, the Bauhaus-trained graphic designer and art director of Fortune magazine from 1962 to 1974 who introduced a European Modernist typographic sensibility to American magazine design, died in July at the age of 97. During the time he was at Fortune, he maintained the elegant overall design, but also did 79 covers, which ran the gamut from minimalist graphic abstraction to complex photographic collage.

Buffie Johnson, a painter whose work spanned much of the 20th century and ranged from Surrealism to Abstract Expressionism to larger-than-life hyper-realism, died in August at the age of 84, She began showing her paintings in the 1930s, continued to exhibit until the end of her life. In 2002, in honor of her 90th birthday, she was the subject of a one-woman show at the Anita Shapolsky Gallery in New York. She knew everyone, being a woman of independent means with a social twist, meeting most of the 20th century’s leading artists, writers and performers.

Sven Nykvist, the Oscar-winning great filmmaker, who was Ingmar Bergman’s cinematographer of choice, died in Sweden in September at the age of 83. His sense of lighting led people to call him “Master of Light” because of the moods and atmosphere he could create with light.

Seymour Rosen, an early champion of environmental folk art, spent most of his life trying to preserve and gain respect for work by untrained artists, creating SPACES, Saving and Preserving Arts and Cultural environments, in 1978. He remained its driving force for 30 year. The foundation nominated 11 environments for California State Landmark status just in 1981, including Grandma Prisbrey’s Bottle Village in Simi Valley and Nitt Witt Ridge, a meandering mock castle in Cambria sculpted out of castoffs. As of 10 years ago, the foundation had documented more than 700 folk-art environments around the country. He was 71 and died in Los Angeles, his home for all these years.

William A. Garnett, 89, who elevated the genre of aerial photography to a form of artistic and poetic expression with his sweeping pictures of forests, sand dunes, agricultural crops and suburban grids, died in Napa, California (his home) in August. He spent the last 50 years and 10,000 hours of flying time in his own 1955 Cessna 170B which he piloted himself as he photographed out the window, using a variety of camera formats, using both black and white and color film.

Ann Richards, former governor of Texas, a Democrat known for her freewheeling oratory with a cutting sense of humor, died in September of cancer of the esophagus, at the age of 91. She is in these pages because I met her in 2005 at The Gates by the Christo and Jeanne-Claude, where she was a member of a team that put up the poles and the fabric, and she was so very excited to be part of the project.

Alan Fletcher, who helped revive postwar British design and typography through his dynamic corporate identity work and book designs, who was also the co-founder of Pentagram, London’s first major international design consultancy, died in September at the age of 74. In his twilight years, he was consultant art director for Phaidon Press, where he was responsible for books on design history, theory, and process, including Art & Ideas series by Phaidon. He was the author of “The Art of Looking Sideways” (Phaidon, 2001), an exhaustive compendium of inspirational quotes and excerpts from hundreds of artists, designers and thinkers, a kind of “a journey without a destination.” Steven Heller relates that he was just finishing his second monograph, “Picturing and Poeting.” He died wearing a T-shirt with handwritten words taken from one of his posters: “I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.”

Vico Magistretti, an architect and industrial designer celebrated as the dean of Italian modernism for his sculptural furniture and lamps of the 1960s and afterward, died in September at the age of 85.

Michael Richard, a rock musician and amateur photographer who became legally blind four years ago but continued performing and taking photos that he exhibited across the country has died at the age of 58. The malignant tumor behind his right eye was removed by surgery in 2002 and a genital eye condition left Richard able to see only gauzy shapes. With the help of his wife, he used a manual camera and adjusted the setting with a magnifying glass. He then worked in the darkroom and developed his own prints. He was known for his black-and-white images of buildings, street vistas, outdoor sculpture and other urban sites shot at angles that turned them into tactile, abstract forms.

Julio Galan, enfant terrible of Mexican art, died at the age of 47 of a brain hemorrhage, in late August. He was very well-known, first brought to international notice by Andy Warhol and strongly influenced by the grotesque imagery of Francis Bacon and the homoerotic photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe. He was seen as a trailblazer by gay artists throughout conservatively Catholic Latin America.