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Umbrella Online - Current Issue

umbrella on line

ISSN 0160-0699

Volume 30, No. 2, Jun 2007

ArtPEOPLE

AWARDS

Among the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation grants for 2007 are Jennifer Bolande of Joshua Tree, CA; Ann Gale of Seattle; Stephen Westfall of New York; Tommy White of New York; Michael Light of San Francisco; Richard Ross of Santa Barbara; Alex Webb of Brooklyn; and Donald Weber of Toronto, among others.

Malick Sidibé, the Malian photographer, became the first African to be awarded the Golden Lion Award for lifetime achievement at the Venice Biennale. Robert Storr, the show’s artistic director, said, “No African artist has done more to enhance photography’s stature in the region, contribute to its history, enrich its image archive or increase our awareness of the textures and transformations of African culture in the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st than Malick Sidibé.”

International Center of Photography in New York announced the recipients of its 2007 Infinity Awards. Winners include Tracey Moffatt (art photography); Ryan McGinley (young photographer), artist and critic David Levi Strauss (art writing), and photographer and filmmaker William Klein (lifetime achievement).

Michael Snow is the first winner of the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art’s Award in Contemporary Art. Snow, 77, received $10,000 Canadian ($9,200 US) in honor of his lifetime achievement.

PASSINGS

Sol LeWitt, whose deceptively simple geometric sculptures and drawings and ecstatically colored and jazzy wall paintings established him as a lodestar of modern American art, died in April at the age of 78. For readers of Umbrella, he helped found Printed Matter, the artists’ organization that distributes and now publishes artist books. He was the creator of many artist books, among which “Autobiography”, a 1980 work consisted of more than 1,000 photographs he took of every nook and cranny of his Manhattan loft, as well as images from his home town, Hartford, Connecticut.

Michael Malone, a tattoo artist renowned among his peers for helping to popularize and standardize tattooing through the vivid images of dragons, daggers, cartoon characters and crests that he distributed to tattoo parlors around the world, died in April in Chicago at the age of 64.

Raymond D. Nasher, a real-estate developer and banker who, along with his wife, Patsy, amassed one of the world’s best collections of Modern and contemporary sculpture and built a lavish public home for it in downtown Dallas, died in March at the age of 85.

Salvatore Scarpitta, an artist whose work ranged from three-dimensional wrapped canvases that evoked survival and death to sculptural renderings of cars and sleds that extolled his belief in travel as a metaphor for life, died in April at the age of 88. In the 1970s Scarpitta began constructing sleds, which resembled nothing so much as slow-motion archaeological artifacts, from discarded objects, such as chairs, hockey sticks, Christmas trees, which eh scavenged from trash bins around Manhattan. De Kooning bought his first sled.

Otto Natzler, a ceramicist best known for inventing glazes resembling geologic textures and colors that he applied to forms created by his wife Gertrud in a famous collaboration of more than three decades, died in April at the age of 99. His art appears in dozens of museum collections, including MOMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Walter Bareiss, a businessman who amassed vast collections of African, Western classical and contemporary art, much of which found homes in museums, died in April at the age of 87. His and h is wife’s African collection is on view as a long-term loan to the Birmingham Art Museum in Alabama.

Kitty Carlisle Hart, an actress and singer who earned a niche in movie history by singing in the Marx Brothers’ “A Night at the Opera” but who achieved her greatest fame as a longtime panelist on television’s “To Tell the Truth,” died in April at the age of 96. After the death of her husband, Moss Hart, the playwright, she became a passionate advocate for the arts, serving as vice chairwoman of the New York State Council on the Arts from 1971 - 1976, when she was named chairwoman, a job she held for 20 years.

Bernd Becher, 75, photographer of German Industrial Landscape, known with his wife Hilla for photographing relics of industry in the changing urban landscapes of late-20th century Europe and the U S., died in June. He died after heart surgery, said the photographer Thomas Struth, a former student. They were awarded a Hasselblad Award in 2004. The couple was claimed as “among the most influential artists of our time” noting that “their systematic photography of functional architecture, often organizing their pictures in grids, brought them “recognition as conceptual artists as well as photographers.”

John Szarkowski, the longtime director of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and a dominant figure in the establishment of photography as an art form, died of a stroke at the age of 81. In his later years, he has been recognized as a consummate photographer, as referenced in his retrospective which opened at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2005 and traveled to other cities.

Roy Moyer, a painter who helped bring works by other artists to museums across the United States, died in April at the age of 85. He was trained as an art historian and concert pianist and self-taught as a painter. He was a longtime administrator at the American Federation of Arts, organizing shows such as “Art and the Found Object” with Rauschenberg, Duchamp and Cornell, and recreated the groundbreaking Armory Show of 1913. He then moved to UNICEF as the chief of art and design.

Ruth Mayerson Gilbert, who bought her first camera at 62 and produced remarkable photographs over the next several decades in one chapter of a fully engaged life, died in April at the age of 97. Her first claim to fame was as a dynamic hostess when she lived in Europe. With her first camera purchased at an airport in Asia in 1972, where she didn’t even know how to load the film, 10 years later she was being championed by noted photographers.

J. B. Handelsman, who applied his dry wit to subjects ranging from politics to popular culture while creating nearly 1,000 New York magazine cartoons, died in June at the age of 85. His work also appeared regularly in the British humor magazine Punch.

Silas H. Rhodes, co-founder of a trade school for cartoonists and illustrators in Manhattan that he built into the School of Visual Arts, one of the nation’s most important colleges for art and design, died in June at the age of 91. Besides being an administrator and teacher, he was also creative director for the adventurous posters that the faculty has produced for the New York subway for more than 50 years to promote the institution and recruit students.

Mary Ellen Solt, a poet and poetry critic who often arranged words on the page in a visual graphic, resulting in such works as Forsythia, a poem that looks like a flowering shrub, died in June at the age of 86. She was a leader in the concrete poetry movement that emerged in the 1960s. She was editor of the classic “Concrete Poetry: A World View”.

Luciano Fabro, a prominent artist and theorist in Arte Povera, a movement that began in Italy in the 1960s and championed unusual materials and unorthodox ideas, died in June at the age of 70. Largely self-taught, influenced early by the work of artists such as Yves Klein and Lucio Fontana, he moved to Milano and worked, taught and created there the rest of his life.

Jörg Immendorff, 61, German Expressionist artist, died in May at his home in Düsseldorf. He had been suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease which attacks and destroys nerve cells in the brain. He was on June 14, 1945 in Bleckede, a northern German town. He got noticed in the 1970s with a series of works called “Café Deutschland” that dealt with the division of Germany. One of his most well-known works is an official portrait commissioned by Gerhard Schröder where the former chancellor appears in a gilded hat and clothes. Immendorff was a professor at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art. His last exhibition was held at Berlin’s New National Gallery in 2005.

Marc Lacroix, photographer and friend of Salvador Dalì, died in France after a long disease, his family reported. He was born in 1927 in Paris and lived in Catalonia since the 1970’s. Lacroix worked next to Dalì in projects such as the development of stereo photographs (three dimensions), and a friendship developed between the Dalì marriage and Lacroix. This allowed Lacroix to take pictures of daily scenes of Dalì and Gala that became famous.

Jan Nathan, a champion of small, independent book publishers and the founding executive director of the Independent Book Publishers Assn., died in June at t he age of 68. She gave independent publishers a voice and support in an industry dominated by larger publishers. She facilitated joint exhibitions of books at Book Expo America as well as doing shared advertisements in Publishers Weekly and other trade journals.

Roy DeForest, a painter often associated with the Bay Area Funk artists who captured wide attention in the 1960s for their cartoon-like images, pop-culture themes and Dadaist-style irony, died in May at the age of 77. DeForest depicted a comical, crowded frontier land of people and animals in patchworks of scorched, textured color.

Rudolph Arnheim, a distinguished psychologist, philosopher and critic whose work explored the cognitive basis of art–how we interpret it and, by extension, the world–died in June at the age of 102. At his death, he was professor emeritus of the psychology of art at Harvard University, where he taught from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s. His books include “Art and Visual Perception” (1954, “Film as Art” (1957), and “Visual Thinking” (1969). In these books, he sought to illuminate the nexus of science and art.

James Beck, a Columbia University art historian who became well known as a critic of what he viewed as the ruinous conservation of world masterpieces, including Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling, died in May at the age of 77.

Doug Marlette, the Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist who also crated “Kudzu,” the popular syndicated strip, died in July in a car accident at the age of 57. A cartoonist who was unafraid to offend, Marlette was known for shocking his audiences with his pointed work.

Giuseppe Chiari, famed Fluxus artist, died of a heart attack in May, just after having a major retrospective in Verona, but he didn’t live to see the major book about his work. Born in Florence in 1926, he attended the University of Florence, enrolled in the engineering department, but studied music at the same time. Since the 1960s, he has been experimenting with musical composition. Together with Piero Grossi, he co-founded the Vita Musicale Contemporanea (Contemporary Musical Life Association) in 1961. In 1962, Chiari joined the international Fluxus movement and participated in the first Fluxus Festival. Fluxus was a cosmopolitan, mixed conceptual art movement,, based on the concept of cooperation among different artistic expressions crossing media with the idea of integrating art into life. Chiari’s statements “Art is easy” and “All music is the same” are often used in his work, often written violently, and result in real “visual concept works.”

Odile Speed Crick, the bohemian painter of nudes whose most famous drawing was an illustration of DNA (the double helix) that appeared in a seminal paper by her husband, Francis Crick, and James Watson on its structure, died in early July in La Jolla, California after a short illness at the age of 86.