Born in New York in 1941, Jacki Apple was an artist, critic, producer, writer, and performer. She died at her home in Culver City, CA on June 8, 2022. Her artistic practice spanned media and disciplines, from installations, performance, and photography, to sound, film, artists books, conceptual works, and public art projects. Concerned with the politics of the environment and natural resources of species, she was an early figure in what has come to be known as eco-feminism. Read more about her life and career on her website and in an obituary written by Jeff McMahon for Artillery Magazine.
Apple received the Distinguished Teaching of Art Award from the CAA in 2012. She was also a dedicated member of CAA, having had roles in CAA’s Nominating Committee (2009-2010), Services to Artists Committee (2011-2014), and Distinguished Teaching of Art Award jury (2013-2016) in addition to participating in a number of CAA programs for artists. In addition, she attended CAA’s Annual Conference since the 1980s and since 1995 had organized many panels for artists and art historians on cutting-edge topics.
Sam Gilliam, the famous and groundbreaking abstract American painter, died in his home in Washington D.C. on June 25 at the age of 88. A part of the Washington Color Field painters of the 1960s, Gilliam freed his paintings from traditional supports and became well known for draping and folding his abstract canvases. Interested in color, form, and process, his approach combined painting with sculpture, and used pouring and staining techniques to create broad fields of color.
His works are included in many of the nation’s most prominent art collections and museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Tate Modern, and the National Gallery of Art.
Gilliam’s enormous draped canvases were the most visible aspect of his career, but he also supported his fellow artists through collectives, mentorship, and service. As a lifetime member of CAA he contributed actively to the CAA community in myriad ways – donating artwork, serving on juries for our distinguished awards, serving on committees, and sitting on our board of directors.
As the chair of the Sub-Committee on Public Art of the CAA Artists’ Committee he helped draft our 1987 standards and guidelines for public artworks. This was revised and reapproved in February of 2022 and remains a canonical guide for artists working in the public realm.
He also donated artwork alongside Kiki Smith, Faith Ringgold, and Miriam Shapiro to support CAA’s Professional Development Fellowship Program in the early 2000s.
In addition, he volunteered his time as a board member from 1985-1988 and served on our juries for the CAA Artist Award for a Distinguished Body of Work and Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Read more about his career here.
Samella Lewis, an artist, curator, and historian whose writings shaped African American art history, has died at 98. She died on Friday, according to the Museum of African American Art in Los Angeles, which Lewis founded. In 2021, the College Art Association, where Lewis had once been on the publications committee, gave her its esteemed lifetime achievement award.
Learn more about Samella life and work here.
Christopher M.S. Johns, the Norman L. and Roselea J. Goldberg Professor of Fine Arts and professor of history of art and architecture, died at his home on May 8 after a long illness. He was 67.
Read more about Christopher’s life and work here.
Wilbur Niewald, a longtime CAA member and artist, recently passed away at the age of 97. He was professor emeritus at the Kansas City Art Institute and a recipient of CAA’s Distinguished Teaching of Art Award in 1988.
Read more about Wilbur’s life and work here.
Dr. Margaret Rose Vendryes unexpectedly passed away on March 30, 2022. A former member of CAA, Dr. Vendryes was most recently appointed as the incoming Dean of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. Dr. Vendryes Professor was in the Department of Performing and Fine Arts and Director of the Fine Arts Gallery at York College at the City University of New York (CUNY) and Professor of Art History for more than two decades. Additional information on the life and work of Dr. Vendryes can be found in the announcement Tufts University issues upon her appointment as Dean. That announcement can be found here.
Longtime CAA member and renowned art historian, Charles Dempsey, passed away on February 22, 2022. Professor emeritus in the Department of the History of Art in Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Dempsey’s specialized in Renaissance and Baroque art. In his long career, Dempsey mentored hundreds of students and shaped his field, publishing widely, including in CAA’s The Art Bulletin. He also received CAA’s A. Kingsley Porter Prize. To read more about his life and career, please visit this page.
Image source: The New York Times by Todd Heisler
CAA mourns the loss of artist Carmen Herrera who died February 12, 2022 at the age of 106. Recognized by CAA in 2016 as the Distinguished Artist for Lifetime Achievement, Herrera’s career received attention in the last few decades of her life. Born in Cuba in 1915, she originally studied architecture but switched her focus to painting when she moved to New York City in the 1930s. At the age of 89 in 2004, she had her first major show and review at Manhattan’s Latin Collector Gallery. Now her minimalist and hard-edged paintings, with a focus on line, form, and color, are widely celebrated in the collections of major museums around the world. In a 2009 interview she said, “It’s a compulsion that also gives me pleasure. I never in my life had any idea of money and I thought fame was a very vulgar thing. . . . And at the end of my life, I’m getting a lot of recognition, to my amazement and my pleasure.”
Image source: Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
CAA mourns the loss of Jonathan Brown, an art historian and curator who has had an immense impact on the study of art in the Hispanic world. With over fifty-one years of teaching, eight at Princeton and forty-three at the Institute of Fine Arts (IFA), Brown’s influence was far-reaching. As he put it, “Without modesty, I believe I have made a mark in my field—Hispanic art—and in the wider world of art history.”
As a student at the beginning of his career, Brown studied Spanish literature at Dartmouth College and studied abroad in Madrid, where he discovered and cultivated his lifelong interest in Velázquez and Spanish Baroque art. After finishing his doctorate at Princeton in 1964, he joined the Princeton Department of Art and Archeology from 1965–73 and then ultimately decided to pursue scholarship and teaching, publishing his first book in 1973 based on his dissertation, Images and Ideas in Seventeenth-Century Spanish Painting. He said that he was told “that it fell like a bombshell in the ranks of Spanish art historians. Implicitly, the book created a bridge between the iconographical approach of Panofsky and a contextual reading . . . ” This was just the start of a long career that included exhibitions at major museums, scholarly publications, awards, and other accomplishments. In his tenure, his work shaped the study of Spanish Baroque art and defined the practice of Velázquez, producing texts and surveys that have become standard references for the field. In the last decades of his life, as the Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts at the IFA, he expanded his practice to include Hispanic and colonial art in the Americas.
In 2011, Brown served as the Distinguished Scholar for CAA’s Annual Conference. This honor invites preeminent scholars in the field to participate in a session at the conference along colleagues and former students. The session can therefore be viewed as the equivalent of a living Festschrift: an occasion for applauding, examining, and extending a distinguished career in art history and an opportunity for encouraging dialogue between and among several generations of scholars. In recognizing the significance of this moment, he said that he had “received many awards for my contributions to the field, of which the most important is the Distinguished Scholar by the College Art Association . . .”
Longtime CAA member, Amy Kirschke, passed away on November 27, 2021. Kirschke was a UNCW faculty member, a recent department chair, and a Professor Emerita in Art and Art History. Her family has established the UNCW Dr. Amy Kirschke Scholarship in Art and Art History in her memory.
Amy Kirschke specialized in modern art, including the art of the African Diaspora and African contemporary art and was a prolific scholar and professor. She published, edited, and contributed to several books including Aaron Douglas: Art, Race and the Harlem Renaissance (1995, University Press of Mississippi), Art in Crisis: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Art of African American Identity and Memory (2007, Indiana University Press), Women Artists of the Harlem Renaissance. (2014, Mississippi University Press), and Aaron Douglas: African American Modernist (Yale University Press, 2007).