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John M. Rosenfield: In Memoriam

posted by September 18, 2014

Richard Edwards is professor emeritus of the history of Chinese art at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

John M. Rosenfield

John M. Rosenfield

My recollections of John M. Rosenfield, one of the preeminent historians and curators of Asian Art who taught for decades at Harvard University, are vivid and convey my sense of loss upon learning of his death, on December 16, 2013, at the age of 89. We shared the same “vibrations” as we passed through the life of our careers, hopefully to our mutual profit but certainly to mine. His book on Chōgen’s wooden portraiture is beside me as I write these words.

Rosenfield was a consistently energetic force in our field from the time we were in graduate school together. Our view of the Far East was nurtured during the 1950s in the musty yet friendly basement environment of Harvard’s Rubell Library, where the books on Asian art were kept, under the guiding hand of Benjamin Rowland.

John had an extraordinary sense of personal relations. We will never forget how closely related he was to this personal approach. He was not just a professional. He was a great man because he was a warm-hearted person, one whom you could always meet on a personal level, a quality seldom found in those too wrapped up in their professional duties and accomplishments.

It goes without saying we shared an interest in the world of art, but in addition his memory is warmly related to activities of our whole family. Along with his intellectual skill, this made him a great man to us. We lived in the same rented house serially, at Teramachi Imadegawa-angaru Junenji-mai in Kyoto, not far from the Imperial Palace grounds, in 1958–59. Later the Rosenfields lived there in 1964, and we took up occupancy again in the summer of 1964 after their departure.

John reached out to my children and family, who remember how welcoming he and his wife Ella were when we stopped over in Los Angeles and stayed with them on our way to the Far East. He was especially helpful to my daughter, Joan, a college sophomore at the time (1968/69), who was apartment hunting in Boston having found a summer job there. She did not meet with immediate success, and as John drove her to various locations he reassured her that the “Perfect Pumpkin is somewhere,” instilling hope that the ideal apartment was just around the corner. If one is willing to share family matters with a friend, it isa clear indication of resilience in dealing with the inevitable problems of living.

His kindness to our family was an emanation of warmth from his own with Ella and his two children, Sarah and Paul Thomas. My lateness in expressing my thoughts in no way diminishes the shock and bereavement felt at having to relinquish such a constant friend and insightful scholar so superior in humanity. Would that he were still working among us.

Filed under: Obituaries

Sam Hunter: In Memoriam

posted by July 30, 2014

David E. Nathan is the author of this obituary.

Sam Hunter, the founding director of the Rose Art Museum, whose keen insights into the art of his day allowed him to build the museum’s acclaimed collection of modern and contemporary art, died on July 27, 2014, in Princeton, New Jersey. He was 91.

Financed by a $50,000 gift from Leon Mnuchin and his wife, Harriet Gevirtz-Mnuchin, Hunter made acquisitions in the early 1960s that established the Rose as a major force in the art world. The works he collected, masterpieces by Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and other leading artists, form the core of the Rose’s beloved collection and continue to set the tone for the museum’s collecting and exhibition practices.

“Sam Hunter played an integral role in the early days of the Rose Art Museum, and his prescient purchases propelled the museum into the consciousness of the art world just a few years after its founding,” said Frederick M. Lawrence, president of Brandeis University. “The way in which he built the early collection, a discrete number of outstanding acquisitions, none for more than $5,000, is one of the iconic stories of the early years of Brandeis University. His impact on the Rose in particular and the university in general continues to this day.”

Hunter came to Brandeis in 1960 as director of the Poses Institute of Fine Arts, and shortly thereafter become the first director of the Rose. Organizers of the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle approached him about curating an exhibition for the Fine Arts Pavilion. The resulting collection of 114 works from 87 artists, including many by artists whose work he would later purchase for the Rose, was subsequently displayed at Brandeis.

In late 1962, Mnuchin called from New York to announce that he and his wife had inherited $50,000, which they wished to donate to the Rose to fund a contemporary art collection. Hunter and Mnuchin immediately began exploring the galleries of New York, often with Robert Scull, a friend of Mnuchin and a prominent collector of Pop art.

“The guiding principle of the selection was individual quality rather than tendency,” Hunter wrote for the brochure accompanying the collection’s exhibition. “As a matter of policy, the collection focused on younger artists with only a token representation of the older generation…. Abstract Expressionism is the collection’s point of departure, taken at a point of subtle but significant transition.”

Although Hunter and Mnuchin set a limit of $5,000 per painting, they managed to gather early and important works by Claes Oldenburg, Jim Dine, Tom Wesselmann, James Rosenquist, Adolph Gottlieb, Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, Marisol, Morris Louis, Johns, Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein, Warhol, and many others.

“It is very difficult to imagine a more significant founding director than Sam Hunter has proved to be,” said Christopher Bedford, the Henry and Lois Foster Director of the Rose. “Just as Brandeis established its academic reputation with incredible rapidity, so Sam made sure the same happened to the Rose through the acquisitions he made and the exhibitions he organized. The status we enjoy today is in large part due to his vision in the 1960s.”

Bedford also pointed out that Hunter was a towering figure in both curatorial and academic spheres. “He had one foot in the world of museums and one foot in the world of scholarship, a model for how the Rose thinks of itself today,” he said. “He was as much a director/curator as he was a scholar, and that dual commitment continues to represent the Rose in the work we do today.”

Upon learning of Hunter’s death, Bedford decided to name the Rose’s newly established emerging artists fund in his memory. “The fund lacked a name,” Bedford said, “and today it became very apparent what the name of the fund should be. It seems incongruous to apply this term today, but the Gevirtz-Mnuchin fund was an emerging artists fund in the early 1960s: Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, and Ellsworth Kelly were the emerging artists of their day. It’s only just that we would perpetuate Hunter’s legacy with a fund that boasts his name.”

A native of Springfield, Massachusetts, Hunter graduated from Williams College in 1943. He served in the United States Navy from 1943 to 1946, rising to the rank of lieutenant junior grade and receiving five battle stars.

Hunter began his professional art career in 1947, when he joined the New York Times as an art critic for a two-year stint. He studied at the University of Florence through the Hubbard Hutchinson Fellowship, earning a certificate of studies in 1951. He spent a year as an editor with art publisher Harry N. Abrams before serving as editor of Arts magazine.

In 1955, Hunter was appointed associate professor of art history at the University of California, Los Angeles, but left in 1956 to become curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Two years later, he moved to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts as chief curator and acting director.

After leaving Brandeis in 1965, he was appointed director of the Jewish Museum and lectured as a visiting professor at Cornell University. In 1969, he became professor of art history at Princeton University and curator of modern art at the university’s art museum. He retired from Princeton as professor emeritus in 1991.

Hunter is survived by his wife, Maïa; their son, Harry; two daughters, Emmy and Alexa, from his previous marriage to Edys Merrill; and one grandchild, Isabella. A funeral service was scheduled for July 30 in the Princeton University Chapel.

Filed under: Obituaries

Recent Deaths in the Arts

posted by July 25, 2014

In its periodic list of obituaries, CAA recognizes the lives and achievements of the following artists, historians, teachers, curators, dealers, philanthropists, and others whose work has significantly influenced the visual arts. Of special note is a text on a distinguished scholar of nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Russian art, Grigorii Iurevich Sternin.

  • Roger Ackling, a British sculptor who was a contemporary of Richard Long, Hamish Fulton, and other artists who graduated from Saint Martins School of Art in the 1960s, died on June 5, 2014. He was 66 years old
  • Jack Agüeros, a writer, activist, and the former director of El Museo del Barrio in New York, died on May 4, 2014. He was 79
  • Eppie Archuleta, a New Mexican weaver who worked in fiber and fabric, passed away on April 11, 2014, age 92. In 1985 she received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts
  • Gordon Bennett, a pioneering Australian artist whose work challenged race, power, history, and social conventions, died on June 3, 2014. He was 58 years old
  • Tito Enrique Canepa Jiménez, a Dominican painter who lived and worked in New York after immigrating there in the 1930s, died on February 11, 2014. He was 97
  • Lynne Cohen, an award-winning Canadian photographer who had taught at the University of Ottawa from 1974 to 2005, passed away on May 12, 2014. She was 69
  • Deborah Deery, an art educator and academic administrator at Moore College of Art and Design, died on August 19, 2013. She was 49 years old
  • Joseph Doyle, an artist and teacher based in Houston, Texas, died on July 9, 2014, at age 54
  • Lee MacCormick Edwards, a philanthropist as well as a lecturer in art history, a photographer, and an author, passed away on April 19, 2014. She was 76
  • John Clovis Fontaine, chairman emeritus for both the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, died on September 23, 2013. He was 81 years old
  • Edythe Goodridge, a curator and the former director of visual arts for the Canada Council, died on June 4, 2014. She was 77
  • Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of a Nazi art dealer who secretly hoarded millions of dollars’ worth of modern art for decades, died on May 6, 2014. He was 81
  • Anne Hollander, a celebrated author and a historian of fashion and costume, died on July 6, 2014. She was 83 years old
  • Hans Hollein, an Austrian architect and educator who won the Pritzker Prize in 1985, passed away on April 24, 2014. He was 80
  • On Kawara, a Conceptual artist and painter whose work addressed the passage of time, died in late June 2014. He was 81 years old
  • Maria Lassnig, an Austrian figurative painter whose retrospective is on view at MoMA PS1, died on May 6, 2014, age 94
  • Stanley Marsh, an eccentric Texan millionare who commissioned the Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo, died on June 17, 2014. He was 76
  • Cynthia Mills, the executive editor of the Smithsonian Institution’s journal American Art, died on May 1, 2014. She was 67 years old
  • Robert Olsen, a Los Angeles–based painter of outdoor urban scenes, died on April 14, 2014. He was 44.
  • Jennifer Wynne Reeves, an abstract painter based in New York, passed away on June 22, 2014. She was 51
  • Nan Rosenthal, a curator for the National Gallery of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, died on April 27, 2014, at the age of 76
  • Jerry Rothman, a Los Angeles–based sculptor who was a member of a ceramics movement called Otis Clay, died on June 5, 2014, at age 80
  • Frederic Schwartz, an architect, city planner, and the designer of several memorials for September 11, died on April 28, 2014. He was 63
  • Claude Simard, a cofounder and director of Jack Shainman Gallery in New York, died on June 24, 2014, at the age of 57. Simard was also an artist and performer
  • Grigorii Iurevich Sternin, a distinguished scholar of nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Russian art, died on November 23, 2013, age 86. CAA has published a special text on Sternin
  • Massimi Vignelli, an Italian-born graphic designer who created the 1970s map for New York’s subway system, died on May 27, 2014. He was 83
  • Ultra Violet, an artist, actor, author, and Andy Warhol superstar, passed away on June 14, 2014. She was 78
  • Melvin J. Wachowiak Jr., a senior conservator for the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Conservation Institute, died on May 28, 2014. He was 56
  • Khin Maung Yin, an influential modernist Burmese artist who painted colorful portraits, passed away on June 10, 2014, age 76

Read all past obituaries in the arts in CAA News, which include special texts written for CAA. Please send links to published obituaries, or your completed texts, to Christopher Howard, CAA managing editor, for the next list.

Filed under: Obituaries, People in the News

Grigorii Iurevich Sternin: In Memoriam

posted by July 11, 2014

Alison Hilton is Wright Family Professor of Art History and director of the MA program in art and museum studies at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and Irina Karasik works at the State Russian Museum.

Grigorii Iurevich Sternin, a distinguished scholar of Russian nineteenth and early twentieth century art, chief scientific officer and senior researcher at the Institute of Art History of the Ministry of Culture, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Arts, died in Moscow on November 23, 2013. He was 86.

Sternin was among the most influential art historians of his generation, those who began their academic careers just after World War II, during the Cold War. Born in 1927, Sternin studied art history at Moscow State University, graduating in 1950, and continued his postgraduate work in the Department of Russian Art under the eminent professor A. A. Fedorov-Davydov. After defending his candidate’s dissertation on Russian book illustration of the 1840s in 1953, Sternin worked at one of Moscow’s leading art-history publishing houses, Iskusstvo (Art). He became a member of the Union of Artists of the USSR in 1957.

Sternin’s career is most closely connected with the Institute of Art History of the Ministry of Culture in Moscow, where he worked until the end of his life. He served as research scholar and head of the Sector on Fine Arts and Architecture of the Peoples of the USSR between 1962 and 1975, a difficult period marked by signs of liberalization that were not sustained, when artists, writers, and administrators of arts institutions faced obstacles that are hard to appreciate today. Perhaps as a way of finding a perspective on his own times, Sternin became interested in what made artistic innovation happen in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and this was the subject of his doctoral dissertation. “Artistic Life in Russia at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries” explored the many elements, some crucial and some tangential, that made up “artistic culture” in a period of complex political and social change. Sternin earned his doctorate in 1973 (in Russia this signifies substantial scholarly achievement beyond the first, candidate’s degree; it is roughly equivalent to full professorship).

Much of Sternin’s research continued to probe the interrelationships among the arts and other aspects of Russian culture. His publications, more than two hundred books and articles, are noted for their breadth of conception and their scrupulous attention to detail; many include chronicles of events with citations from artists’ writings and contemporary periodicals. Among his major works are: Khudozhestvennaia Zhizn’ Rossii na rubezhe XIX – XX vekov (Artistic Life in Russia at the Turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, 1970); Khudozhestvennaia zhizn’ Rossii nachala XX veka (Artistic Life in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century, 1976); Vzaimosviaz’ iskusstv v khudozhestvennom razvitii vtoroi poloviny XIX veka; ideinye printsipy, strukturnye osobennosti (Interconnections of the arts in the artistic evolution of the second half of the 19th century; conceptual principles, structural peculiarities, edited volume, 1982); Russkaia khudozhestvennaia kul’tura vtoroi poloviny XIX – nachala XX veka (Russian Artistic Culture of the second half of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, 1984); Ilia Repin (with Elena Kirillina and others, 1985, 2011); Russkii modern (Russian Art Nouveau, with Elena Borisova, 1988); Khudozestvennaia Zhizn’ Rossii 1900-1910-kh godov (Artistic Life in Russia 1900–1910s, 1991); Khudozhestvennaia Zhizn’ Rossii vtoroi poloviny XIХ veka, 70-80-e gody (Artistic life in Russia in the second half of the 19th century: the 1870s-80s, 1997); Obrazy i liudi Serebrianogo veka (Images and People of the Silver Age, coauthored with L. S. Aleshina, 2002); Khudozhestvennaia Zhizn Rossii 30-40-kh godov 19-ogo veka (Artistic Life in Russia in the 1830s–40s, 2005), Dva veka: Ocherki russkoi khudozhestvennoi kul’tury (Two Centuries: Sketches of Russian Artistic Culture, 2007), Ot Repina do Grigor’eva (From Repin to Grigoriev, 2009). Sternin was an author and editor of the authoritative Istoriia Russkogo Iskusstva (History of Russian Art published by the Academy of Sciences, 1952–1964), specifically volume 10 on the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; he was closely involved in the conception, editing, and writing of a new History of Russian Art (22 volumes planned) and was the editor of volume 14 on the first third of the nineteenth century, published in 2011.

The Russian scholarly community recognized Sternin’s contributions. He was named an Honored Artist of Russia in 1994, elected a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1997, and designated a Laureate of the State Prize of the Russian Federation in 2004. At the memorial service at the Institute of Art History in November 2013, colleagues and former students recalled his constant attention to human relationships, both as part of his approach to art history and in his daily life as a teacher and mentor. Generous in providing books, articles, and advice to his students and even to visiting researchers, he was also an astute critic. He could identify problems of interpretation and actively seek ways of finding solutions, without ever dictating or imposing his views. Sternin’s empathetic responsiveness to colleagues and students will be missed as much as his brilliance as a scholar.

He is survived by his wife, the art historian Liliia Stepanovna Aleshina.

Filed under: Obituaries

Frederick Horowitz: In Memoriam

posted by April 23, 2014

Elaine Wilson is an artist and a former colleague of the deceased at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Frederick Horowitz, an artist, art educator, writer, and passionate champion of the work and teaching philosophy of Josef Albers, died on September 12, 2013, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was 75 years old.

Horowitz was born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut, and attended Yale University, earning a BA in English in 1960 and a BFA in painting in 1962. His life was forever changed when he enrolled in Albers’s drawing class. Although Horowitz later received an MFA in painting at the University of Michigan in 1964, his contact with Albers at Yale was defining. In the book Josef Albers: To Open Eyes (New York: Phaidon, 2006), coauthored with Brenda Danilowitz, Horowitz recounts the comment Albers made about one of his drawings of the textural quality of a log of wood:

In his crit of one day’s results, Albers singled out a drawing in which repeated black strokes of a soft pencil had jabbed a hole in the newsprint. “Yah,” he exclaimed with delight, and only half ironically, “this boy is getting into it!”

The 12 x 18 inch newsprint pad in which Horowitz did many of the exercises for this class is preserved today, signaling the importance he placed on his experience in this course.

Horowitz spent thirty-five years teaching drawing, design, color, and art appreciation at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor. He was widely respected in southeast Michigan as a teacher with authority and integrity. He mentored countless students who went on to become artists, transferring to four-year art programs around the country. Many of his students were older individuals whose lives were deeply enriched by his courses.

At Washtenaw Horowitz taught the art-appreciation course and wrote More Than You See: A Guide to Art (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985) for use in it, while also widening the book’s scope for a broader audience. More Than You See departs from many textbooks for art appreciation and art history: instead of presenting artworks in a chronological order or grouping them by “ism,” it presents a series of questions about looking at a wide range of paintings and objects without necessarily providing the answers. These questions continually challenge readers to think for themselves.

One chapter, titled “Looking over the Artist’s Shoulder,” compares and contrasts an Italian Renaissance painting, Guercino’s Esther before Ahasuerus (1639) and the preparatory drawings for it, with a miniature painting from India and its preparatory drawing. Another chapter, “Reading Paintings,” examines the formal characteristics of several works of art. Horowitz was especially interested in process and in the artist’s choices. By including works from the museums and galleries close to his school, such as the University of Michigan Museum of Art and the Detroit Institute of Arts, he tied the book to the experience of his students whom he regularly took to these institutions to see the real thing.

In 1992 Horowitz began thinking about writing a book on Albers’s teaching. Brenda Danilowitz, chief curator at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in Bethany, Connecticut, worked with him and coauthored the book. Horowitz interviewed numerous artists who had studied with Albers, asking them about the teacher’s presence in the classroom and studio and about the impact and import of the particular projects he assigned. Research at the archives of the Bauhaus, Black Mountain College, Yale University, and the Albers Foundation yielded a rich trove of material, which Horowitz and Danilowitz eventually worked into Josef Albers: To Open Eyes. This groundbreaking book has already changed the teaching of numerous younger artists and art professors, reinvigorating their work in the studio classroom.

While writing To Open Eyes, Horowitz began two courses—on design and on color—at Washtenaw Community College, putting into practice the ideas he was acquiring from his research. His own experience taking the color class at Yale with Albers’s own student, Sewell “Si” Sillman, meant that he was well prepared.

As a teacher Horowitz was disciplined and demanding, a tough but kind critic and grader. He required a great deal from his students, but when he saw a need to mentor and foster the talent of particular individuals he went above and beyond his regular duties to help them. This approach led to developing personal relationships that would last well beyond their time at Washtenaw.

Horowitz’s mentoring did not stop with students. He routinely worked with the part-time faculty that he recruited to teach many sections of the studio-art and art-appreciation classes, discussing with them course assignments and curricula, student behavior, grading policy, and even their students’ artwork. He created an atmosphere of cooperation and collegiality within the college’s art area that made it a laboratory for good teaching, a unique place for the overworked and underpaid instructors to work in. He was honest and generous with everyone, while holding all to his own high standards.

After retiring from Washtenaw Community College in 2003, Horowitz continued to lecture around the country and give workshops on Albers and on color and design (including presentations at the Foundations in Art: Theory and Education conference in 1997 and 2003 and at Black Mountain College Museum and Art Center in Asheville, North Carolina.) Abroad he taught workshops at art schools in Mexico City and Jerusalem.

Horowitz’s recent research at the Albers Foundation included close examinations of several Homage to the Square paintings. He developed his thoughts into a manuscript, now awaiting publication. This text—unlike any other of which I know about this body of work—looks closely at how Albers’s color choices interact with each other in specific ways; it also describes poetically their effect after extended looking. Most people don’t spend the amount of time in front of these works to have the experience Horowitz recounts, but hopefully more of them will. In addition, Horowitz speaks about Albers’s color course in the new digital format of the artist’s influential book Interaction of Color (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013. He was also part of a new online art-appreciation course being developed at Washtenaw Community College.

At a memorial celebration of Horowitz’s life at Washtenaw in late October 2013, family, friends, and colleagues remembered him as deeply humane, curious, warm, devoted to his family, funny, and generous with his time, intellect, and heart. He leaves behind a trail of people who loved him and a host of younger artists who, thanks to his inspiration, are devoted to teaching well.

Filed under: Obituaries

Recent Deaths in the Arts

posted by April 23, 2014

In its periodic list of obituaries, CAA recognizes the lives and achievements of the following artists, historians, teachers, curators, dealers, philanthropists, and others whose work has significantly influenced the visual arts.

  • Molly Lamb Bobak, an artist, teacher and the first Canadian woman to be sent overseas as a war artist, died on March 2, 2014. She was 95
  • Markus Brüderlin, a Swiss curator, art historian, and director of the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, died on March 16, 2014, at age 55
  • Chu Teh-Chun, a Chinese painter also known as Zhu Dequn who was celebrated for integrating traditional Chinese painting with Western abstraction, died on March 26, 2014. He was 94 years old
  • Derek Clarke, a painter inspired by Scottish and Irish landscapes, died on February 10, 2014, at the age of 101. He had taught for many years at the Edinburgh College of Art
  • Margaret Crow, a Texan philanthropist and matriarch of a family of real-estate developers, died on April 11, at age 94. The Trammell and Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas is named for her and her husband
  • Alan Davie, a Scottish painter of colorful abstractions, passed away on April 5, 2014. He was 93 years old
  • Lucia Eames, a designer, the daughter of Charles Eames, and the owner of the Eames Office for twenty-six years, died on April 1, 2014. She was 83
  • Joseph Anthony “Joe” Gatto, a noted jewelry artist and the founding visual-art dean of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, died on November 13, 2013. He was 78 years old. CAA has published a special obituary for Gatto
  • John Heskett, a writer, professor, and lecturer on industrial design who greatly expanded the theorization of his subject, died on February 25, 2014. He was 76
  • Frederick Horowitz, an artist, educator, author, and advocate of Josef Albers’s teaching, died on September 12, 2013, at age 75. CAA has published a special text on Horowitz
  • Alexis Hunter, a feminist and conceptualist photographer who based in London, died on February 24, 2014. She was 65
  • Charlotte Jirousek, associate professor of textiles and apparel at Cornell University, passed away on February 12, 2014. She was 75 years old
  • Peter Kalkhof, a German artist based in London known for his colorful linear abstractions, died on February 24, 2014, at the age of 80. He also taught art for many years at Reading University
  • Monika Kinley, a British curator, collector, and dealer who specialized in outsider art, passed away on March 9, 2014, at age 88
  • Donald F. McCallum, an art historian, professor, and scholar of Japanese art, died on October 23, 2013. He was 74 years old. CAA has published a special obituary for McCallum
  • Kenneth W. Prescott, an art historian, curator, and ornithologist whose last position was chairman of the Department of Art at the University of Texas at Austin, died on August 20, 2013. He was 93
  • Ernest Silva, a painter, sculptor, and professor at the University of California, San Diego, from 1979 to 2013, died on February 24, 2014. He was 65
  • Edward Sozanski, an art critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer for three decades, died on April 14, 2014. He was 77 years old
  • Martin Sullivan, the former director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery from 2008 to 2012, died on February 25, 2014. He was 70
  • Theo Wujcik, an artist, professor, and master printmaker who worked with Jasper Johns and Robert Morris, died on March 29, 2014, at age 78

Read all past obituaries in the arts in CAA News, which include special texts written for CAA. Please send links to published obituaries, or your completed texts, to Christopher Howard, CAA managing editor, for the next list.

Filed under: Obituaries, People in the News

Joseph Anthony “Joe” Gatto: In Memoriam

posted by January 17, 2014

Joseph Anthony “Joe” Gatto, a noted jewelry artist and the founding visual-art dean of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, died on November 13, 2013. He was 78 years old.

Born on December 22, 1934, in Pueblo, Colorado, Gatto was the son of immigrants. His father was a shoveler in the steel industry, and his mother was a garment worker. The family moved west, and Gatto attended Fairfax High School in Los Angeles, California, where he aspired to attend college. He worked bagging groceries, studied, and lettered in four sports. After military service at Fort Lewis, Washington, he attended California State University, Los Angeles, and Pepperdine University in Malibu, where he earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art and education. Gatto was the first in his family to graduate from college and earn advanced degrees.

An award-winning jewelry artist, painter, photographer, and author of several books on teaching art, Gatto cofounded the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), where he was visual-arts dean from 1985 to 2002. He was a recipient of the California “Bravo” Teacher of the Year Award and was honored at the White House by both Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Always active in his church and community, Gatto supported the parish and school at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church and participated in local politics. In 2004 he fulfilled a lifelong dream, serving as delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Joseph A Joe Gatto Nesting Bird 3

Joe Gatto, Nesting Bird 3, gold, coral, pearl, and found objects (artwork © Joe Gatto)

After retiring from LACHSA, Gatto continued to teach figure drawing and art-education courses at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He exhibited and gained national acclaim for his finely crafted art jewelry shown under his brand Wear Art Now. A dedicated father and grandfather, avid gardener, collector, and world traveler, Gatto lived life to its fullest while he nurtured the creative lives of others.

Gatto is survived by brothers Don and Frank, his daughter Nicole and her husband Mark, his son Mike and his wife Danielle, his daughter Mariann and her fiancé Eric, his grandchildren Damian, Elliana, and Evangelina, and his former wife Isolde, plus countless cousins, admiring students, and loving friends.

Memorial services were held on November 22, 2013, in Los Angeles, with hundreds in attendance. The Los Angeles Police Department is continuing its investigation into Gatto’s untimely death. Donations in his memory can be made to one of his favorite charities: (1) Historic Italian Hall Foundation, 125 Paseo De la Plaza, Suite 400, Los Angeles, CA 90012; (2) Los Angeles Community Garden Council, 4470 West Sunset Boulevard, No. 381, Los Angeles, CA 90027; or (3) Tuition Magician, Joe Gatto Arts Scholarship, 4470 West Sunset Boulevard, PMB 378, Los Angeles, CA 90027.

Filed under: Obituaries

Donald F. McCallum: In Memoriam

posted by January 17, 2014

Sherry Fowler is associate professor of Japanese art history at the University of Kansas. She earned her doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1994.

Donald F. McCallum

Donald F. McCallum

Donald F. McCallum, a celebrated art historian and treasured teacher, passed away peacefully in his home on October 23, 2013, after battling sudden metastatic prostate cancer. He was 74 years old.

McCallum had a long distinguished career as a scholar of Japanese art history, over seven years of which were spent doing research and fieldwork in Japan. In June 2013, he retired from his position as professor in the Department of Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He was a beloved teacher known for his serious commitment to education alongside a sharp sense of humor. Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, on May 23, 1939, McCallum earned his PhD at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and his AB at University of California, Berkeley.

He began teaching at UCLA in 1969 and served as chair of its Department of Art History, interim director for the UCLA Center for Japanese Studies, director of the University of California Tokyo Study Center, Toyota Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan, Franklin D. Murphy Lecturer at the University of Kansas, and Hooker Distinguished Visiting Professor at McMaster University. His numerous awards include fellowships from the International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto, the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art, the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, the Korean Cultural Service, the Japan Foundation, and the John D. Rockefeller III Fund.

Donald F. McCallum Hakuhō Sculpture

Donald F. McCallum, Hakuhō Sculpture (2012)

McCallum’s research on Japanese art had a wide breadth, but his main area was Japanese Buddhist art in which he published three books: Hakuhō Sculpture (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2012); The Four Great Temples: Buddhist Archaeology, Architecture, and Icons of Seventh-Century Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2009); and Zenkoji and Its Icon: A Study in Medieval Japanese Religious Art (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994). His interests expanded to Korean art, modern Japanese art, and even tattoos, as exemplified in his articles “Korean Influence on Early Japanese Buddhist Sculpture,” in Korean Culture (1982); “Three Taisho Artists: Yorozu Tetsugoro, Koide Narashige, and Kishida Ryusei,” in Paris in Japan: The Japanese Encounter with European Painting (1987); and “Historical and Cultural Dimensions of the Tattoo in Japan,” in Marks of Civilization: Artistic Transformations of the Human Body (1988). In addition to his books, McCallum’s published articles and book reviews that number over seventy will continue to have a significant impact on the field for years to come.

As a dedicated teacher at UCLA for forty-four years, McCallum shared his passion and knowledge with thousands of students and patiently served as dissertation advisor to eleven graduate students. His rigorous training style and strong, personal commitment toward his students, even after they started their own professional careers, was instrumental toward enabling some to become leaders in Japanese art history. Among them are tenured faculty members at Yale University, Portland State University, the University of Kansas, the University of Regina, Taiwan National Central University, California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, and the University of Maryland. Aside from helping his own graduate students, McCallum enthusiastically and generously supported nearly the entire next generation of younger scholars in Japanese art history with great encouragement and by writing thoroughly researched letters of support for tenure and promotion.

McCallum will be dearly missed by many, both in and outside academia. He is survived by his wife Toshiko, his son Kenneth and his daughter-in-law Takayo, his daughter Sumako and his son-in-law James Turner, and his grandchildren Ella Sachiko and Jackson James Turner. Anyone who has ever talked with him or heard him lecture knows how devoted he was to his family and was more than likely treated to many humorous tales about his cherished grandchildren.

The Donald F. McCallum Memorial Fund has been established to support the Department of Art History and the UCLA Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies. Memorial gifts to support the fund can be made out to the UCLA Foundation and sent to: Alexa Almazán, UCLA College Development, Division of Humanities, 1309 Murphy Hall, Box 951413, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1413.

Filed under: Obituaries

Recent Deaths in the Arts

posted by December 27, 2013

In its regular roundup of obituaries, CAA recognizes the lives and achievements of the following artists, historians, curators, dealers, collectors, and others whose work has significantly influenced the visual arts. Notable deaths in fall 2013 include the artist Anthony Caro, the photographer Saul Leiter, the philosopher and critic Arthur C. Danto, and the scholar and curator Karin Higa.

  • Kirk Alexander, an art historian, civil engineer, and educational-technology expert who worked at Princeton University and the University of California, Berkeley, died on October 1, 2013. He was 63
  • Charles Cajori, an artist who was part of the second generation of Abstract Expressionists in New York, passed away on December 1, 2013, at the age of 92
  • Anthony Caro, a British modernist artist who created colorful, welded steel sculptures, died on October 23, 2013. He was 89 years old
  • Arthur C. Danto, a philosopher and art critic who taught at Columbia University and wrote for the Nation, died on October 25, 2013, at age 89
  • Wanda Ewing, an artist, printmaker, and associate professor of art at the University of Nebraska, died on December 8, 2013. CAA has published a special obituary for Ewing, who was a member of CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts, written by Maria Elena Buszek
  • Günther Förg, a German artist who worked in painting, sculpture, and photography commented on modernism, died on December 5, 2013. He was 61
  • Michael Harvey, a pioneer in the craft of lettering and the development of typefaces, died on October 18, 2013, at the age of 81
  • Karin Higa, a scholar of Asian American art and a curator for the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, passed away on October 29, 2013. She was 47. Higa had been a member of the editorial board for Art Journal, which has published a series of remembrances
  • Jenny Hoon, a lecturer on textile design at the Derby School of Art (now the University of Derby) for many years, died on October 15, 2013, at age 79. She also served as an administrator and examiner for numerous schools
  • Saul Leiter, a pioneering photographer of images using color film, died on November 26, 2013. He was 89 years old
  • Georgina Livingston, an English landscape architect whose projects included the visitor’s center at Stonehenge and the Cambridge University Centre for Mathematical Sciences, died in October 2013. She was 72
  • Brian MacDermot, a London stockbroker who became a dealer of nineteenth-century Orientalist painting, died on September 12, 2013, age 82
  • Gridley McKim-Smith, an art historian who specialized in seventeenth-century Spanish art and a longtime professor at Bryn Mawr College, passed away on October 19, 2013. She was 70 years old
  • Samuel Clifford Miller, director of the Newark Museum from 1968 to 1993, died on November 7, 2013, at the age of 83
  • José Esteban Muñoz, a queer theorist and a professor in the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, died on December 4, 2013. He was 46 years old
  • Hajime Nakatani, a professor of East Asian art history who worked in Canada and Japan, died in June 2013. He was 46
  • George Ortiz, a French collector of antiquities from Sumer, Babylon, Egypt, and Greece, passed away on October 8, 2013. He was 86
  • George Rodrigue, a New Orleans–based artist beloved for his paintings of the Blue Dog, died on December 14, 2013. He was 69
  • Leslie Sacks, a Californian art dealer with galleries at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica and in Brentwood, died in October 2013. She was 61 years old
  • Àngeles Santos, a Catalan artist who was often called the Spanish Rimbaud, died on October 3, 2013. She was 101 years old
  • Martin Sharp, a psychedelic artist who designed album covers in the late 1960s and who founded Oz magazine, died on December 1, 2013, age 71
  • Michael Sullivan, a historian of Chinese art who taught at Stanford University from 1966 to 1984, died on September 28, 2013. He was 96
  • Deborah Turbeville, a fashion photographer and a contemporary of Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin whose images appeared in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, died on October 24, 2013. She was 81 years old
  • David Vestal, a photographer and professor at Parsons School of Design, the School of Visual Arts, and Pratt Institute, died on December 4, 2013. Born in 1924, he received two John Simon Guggenheim Fellowships in photography in 1966 and 1973
  • Ian White, an artist, curator, and writer who performed his works at Tate Britain, Tate Modern, and the Institute for Contemporary Arts in London, died on October 26, 2013, at the age of 41
  • Victor Zamudio-Taylor, a Mexican curator, art advisor, and promoter of contemporary art, has died. Born in 1956, he was once a Rockefeller Foundation senior associate researcher at the National Museum of American Art and the Archives of American Art

Read all past obituaries in the arts in CAA News, which include special texts written for CAA. Please send links to published obituaries, or your completed texts, to Christopher Howard, CAA managing editor, for the next list.

Filed under: Obituaries, People in the News

Wanda Ewing: In Memoriam

posted by December 20, 2013

Maria Elena Buszek is associate professor of art history in the College of Arts and Media at the University of Colorado Denver.

Wanda Ewing

Wanda Ewing (photograph by Dana Damewood)

The artist and educator Wanda Ewing died in Omaha, Nebraska, on December 8, 2013, of complications from chemotherapy. She was 43 years old.

Born on January 4, 1970, Ewing received her BFA in printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute, and later both an MA and MFA in printmaking from the University of Iowa. She was an associate professor of art at the University of Nebraska in Omaha, where she began teaching in 2005, leading courses in foundations and senior capstones for studio majors. She was a longtime member of the College Art Association, on whose Committee on Women in the Arts she served at the time of her death, as well as the Southern Graphics Council, where she was the International Board of Directors’ secretary.

Ewing’s work ranged from traditional print media to sculpture and, most recently, fiber arts. She was influenced by folk-art aesthetics and the depiction—and lack thereof—of African American women in popular culture, often with a biting, comical edge. Ewing’s best-known series included her pin-ups Black as Pitch, Hot as Hell, voluptuous clothing from The Summer I Wore Dresses,and faux magazine covers entitled Bougie. Her work has been included in exhibitions and purchased for collections throughout the world, and was reproduced in such publications as the Paris Review.

At the time of her passing, her series of brand-new, latch-hook works, Little Deaths, was on display at the RNG Gallery in Council Bluffs, Iowa—which will remain on exhibit, with additional works, through January 2014 as a memorial. She was, perhaps, proudest of her inclusion in the 2010 exhibition A Greater Spectrum: One Hundred Years of African American Artists in Nebraska at the Museum of Nebraska Arts, where her work was included alongside that of luminaries such as Aaron Douglas. Ewing was the recipient of grants and honors from the Women’s Caucus for Art, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and the Nebraska Arts Council, among other accolades.

Wanda Ewing

Wanda Ewing, Girl #9, from the series Black as Pitch, Hot As Hell, 2006, acrylic and latex paint on carved plywood, 48 x 48 in. (artwork © Wanda Ewing)

Ewing was also an excellent educator, beloved and respected by both colleagues and students at the University of Nebraska for her rigorous curricula, her no-nonsense critiques, and her outreach to the regional arts community. Her legacy at the school will live on in the form of the Wanda Ewing Scholarship Fund.

Wanda Ewing will be remembered by all who knew her for her larger-than-life personality, tremendous warmth, and indomitable spirit. She is survived by her mother Elouise Ewing; her siblings Mona Yaeger, Clarence Ewing III, and Annette Ewing McCann; and her nephew and niece Devlin and Kayleigh McCann.

Filed under: Obituaries