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In Memoriam: Remembering Those the Art World Has Lost in the Coronavirus Pandemic | artnet News

In Memoriam: Remembering Those the Art World Has Lost in the Coronavirus Pandemic | artnet News

Historian of African American art and culture Pellom McDaniels III, 52, who retired from the NFL to focus on scholarship, died on April 19. McDaniels, who was the curator of African American Collections at Emory University’s rare book library, played as an NFL lineman in the 1990s before earning a PhD and publishing books on subjects ranging from photography and masculinity in World War I to early black sporting pioneers. He organized more than a dozen exhibitions for Emory, including one on the art and activism of artist Camille Billops. ()

Animator Ann Sullivan, 91, who worked on Disney Renaissance films such as , died on April 13. Sullivan, who grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, first worked in Disney’s animation paint labs in the 1950s before moving to Hanna-Barbera, the studio behind and . She returned to Disney to work on films including  and adopted digital animation techniques in the late 1990s before retiring in the early 2000s. “All she ever wanted to do was work at the Walt Disney Studios, and she did,” Motion Picture and Television Fund CEO Bob Beitcher said in a statement. ()

New York graffiti artist Nic 707, 60, who brought street art back to the subways in the late 1980s, died on April 12. Born Fernando Miteff in Buenos Aires, the artist made his name by reviving the genre some years after New York officials cleaned up the city’s early subway art scene. Instead of creating large-scale murals on the exterior of subway cars, he replaced the ads that adorned their insides. The idea, he said, was to foreground the temporariness of his gestures. “I wanted to leave an impression,” he said. “As long as you saw and remembered it, I’m happy with that.” ()

Dealer-scholar John Driscoll, 70, who ran one of America’s oldest art galleries, died on April 10. Driscoll shepherded Driscoll Babcock gallery, which was founded in 1852, into new territory when he took over in 1987, moving the gallery to Chelsea and signing contemporary artists to show alongside such established figures as Winslow Homer and Mary Cassatt. Before turning to the commercial world, Driscoll held appointments at Yale University and New York University, among other institutions. ()

Prolific Iraqi architect Rifat Chadirji, 93, who designed more than 100 buildings in the country, died on April 10. Chadirji, who died in London, was renowned for his fusion of modernist forms with traditional Middle Eastern designs. Among his works was the Unknown Soldier Monument of 1959, which was demolished in 1982. A statue of Saddam Hussein took its place in 2003. In 2017, an award in his honor was established to recognize significant projects completed in Iraq. ()

Artist Tom Blackwell, 82, a pioneer of the Photorealist movement, died on April 8. A self-taught artist, Blackwell grew up in Chicago and Incline, California, and moved to New York in the late 1960s, where he emerged alongside Richard Estes as a key figure in the “New Realism” movement. He taught at the School of Visual Arts in the 1980s and has been represented by Louis K. Meisel Gallery since 1976. ()

Feminist artist Helène Aylon, 89, who explored Judaism and pacifism through her work, died on April 6. Aylon, who grew up in Brooklyn and attended the Shulamith School for Girls, took up art in earnest after enrolling at Brooklyn College and meeting Mark Rothko, who visited her studio. She recalled her later encounter with feminism as “a rebirth that dazzled my imagination like a sunrise, and plucked me out of the guilt that was caving in on me.” ()

Lexington, Kentucky, gallery owner Carleton Wing, 77, who left behind a career as a technical writer to explore his interest in art, died on April 2. The artist and gallerist, who retired from his full-time profession in the late 2000s, ran his gallery out of Kentucky and Florida while making his own artworks exploring varying “altered egos.” Among his final works were portraits of guardian angels. ()

Cartoonist Juan Giménez, 76, who created popular science-fiction comic books with collaborator Alejandro Jodorowsky. In the 1990s, the pair began publishing , an epic space opera about patricide and codes of honor. Giménez also worked on the animated film  and won several prestigious awards in his field. ()

Curator and painter David Driskell, 88, who championed the long history of art by African Americans, died on April 1. In 1976, Driskell curated the groundbreaking traveling survey “Two Centuries of Black American Art: 1750–1950,” which debuted at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and featured the work of 63 artists. Although LACMA asked Driskell to organize the show, he still had to win over its board. “I said, ‘It just happens to be that white Americans have little or no knowledge about what black Americans have done in the visual arts. So this is an educational process for everybody,’” he recalled in 2009. ()

Jersey City gallerist and special-needs children’s advocate Javiera Rodriguez, 43, died on April 1. A teacher in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Rodriguez was also part of a team that ran the Raven Gallery from 2014 through 2017. As an artist, she collaborated with Elisabeth Smolarz for “The Encyclopedia of Things,” a project at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, in 2017. ()

French politician Patrick Devedjian, 75, who was leading the charge to build a new museum dedicated to the Sun King, died on March 30. Devedjian was the head of Hauts-de-Seine, France’s wealthiest district, and was due to serve as director of a planned museum about Louis XIV in Saint Cloud, Le Musée du Grand Siècle. Even in his final months, he was busily securing acquisitions to build out the museum’s collection. ()

Writer Michael Sorkin, 71, who gave voice to activist ideas in his architectural criticism, died on March 26. Sorkin made his name as a writer for the in the 1980s, focusing on how urban design enhanced or denigrated democratic ideals. Among his dozen books is from 2009, which chronicled his walks through the city. ()

Artist Paul Karslake, 61, who raised money for charities by selling his portraits of Hollywood celebrities, died on March 23. The artist, who lived in the English town of Leigh and was a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, raised tens of thousands of pounds for organizations such as hospice centers by putting his portraits up for sale. In 2005, the Karslake Centre for arts education at the Cornelius Vermuyden School and Arts College opened in his honor. ()

Critic and historian Maurice Berger, 63, whose prescient work addressed representations of race, died on March 23. For seven years starting in 2012, Berger, who grew up in a public housing project in Manhattan, wrote “Race Stories” for the “Lens” section of the , a column that looked at race in relationship to photography and championed many non-white image-makers. He also organized the exhibition “Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American Television” at the Jewish Museum in 2015. ()

Modernist architect Vittorio Gregotti, 92, who designed buildings as well as entire cities, died on March 15. Gregotti, who was as happy to design cultural centers as he was sporting arenas, was highly regarded for his Olympic Stadium in Barcelona, for which he preserved a facade from 1929 while expanding and renovating its interior. He retired and closed his firm in 2017, saying that “architects are only creating images, to amaze, rather than propose projects.” ()

Watercolorist Liu Shouxiang, 62, who taught at the Hubei Institute of Fine Arts in Wuhan, died on February 13. The artist was highly regarded in his native China for his still lifes and landscapes. After studying at the Hubei Institute, he returned to the school as a professor, and later retired to focus on his artwork. ()


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