In Memoriam

This page is dedicated to the artists who lived and worked at Westbeth.
Their presence enriched us, and their passion for making art is gratefully remembered.

This list of artists is based on a variety of sources, including firsthand accounts, press reports, and administrative records. At the bottom of the page is a list of artists for whom we need information.

Dongkuk (Don) Ahn
Painter
1937-2013

Artwork
Bio

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From a 2002 article: “Don Ahn is a Korean-American whose Eastern sensibilities permeate the canvases that he paints in his New York studio. A mood of serenity exists in Ahn’s paintings, juxtaposed with motion and vibrant colors, which demands attention. These colors, combined with the artist’s wide brushstrokes and the way that he splatters and drips paint, all lend to the fluidity and movement in his canvases. Ahn has lived and worked in the United States since the early 1960s, and his work is in collections that include The Museum of Modern Art in New York.”

-Donahn.org/articles, Art in Embassies
Photo: KenVan Sickle

Seth Allen
1941-1986
Actor

La Mama Theater
IMDB Movie database

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“Mr. Allen won an Obie Award for best actor of the 1966-1967 theatrical season for his appearance in ”Futz,’ directed by Tom O’Horgan and performed by La Mama Troupe. He had appeared in productions on and Off Broadway, including most recently ‘Accidental Death of an Anarchist’ (1984) and ‘Lisbon Traviata’ (1985). He was the author of ‘Sissy,’ which is scheduled to be performed at La Mama for its 25th anniversary in November. As a director, he was best known for ‘A Rat’s Mass’ (1969) and ‘Blonde Roots’ (1974), of which he was also the author.”
—New York Times, Aug. 16, 1986
Photo: Seth Allen in “Futz”

“Mr. Andrews was a vivid storyteller, using memories of his childhood in the segregated South to create narrative-based works that addressed human suffering and injustice. Over his lifetime, his social concerns ranged from the civil rights struggle and the antiwar movement to the Holocaust, poverty and the forced relocation of American Indians. … His paintings, prints and collages are in the collections of more than 30 museums, including those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Art Institute of Chicago.”

–Benjamin Genocchio, New York Times, Nov. 12, 2006

Jeff Andrews
1960-2019
Bassist

Jazz Times tribute
Jeff Andrews on YouTube
No Treble tribute

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“Jeff’s passion for music began at 12 when he learned electric bass. After graduating from Dulaney High and studying at Peabody Conservatory, Jeff continued studies at Berklee College of Music, and with several private teachers. He influenced the jazz fusion scene in the early 1980’s, playing bass with notable bands including Blood, Sweat & Tears, Special EFX, Michael Brecker Band, Steps Ahead, Wayne Shorter Quintet, Vital Information, Mike Stern Trio, and Jeff Andrews & New Standards Band. Known for his ensemble work, Jeff was a top-choice for such groups.”

–Baltimore Sun, April 7, 2019

RuthAntonofsky in MemRuth Antonofsky
d. 2012
Dancer, Actress, Writer
Web Page

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“She began her career as a ballet dancer … [in] Caracas, Venezuela, dancing both male and female parts because of the lack back then of trained male dancers. … She returned to New York and studied with Sonia Moore and performed in many off and off-off Broadway plays. … Ruth was also a familiar face in many films, soaps, and print ads. She appeared with Antonio Banderas and Jennifer Connelly in the film Of Love and Shadows. An avid supporter of the arts, she was the main patron of Danisarte.”
–danisarte.org

Diane ArbusDiane Arbus
1923-1971
Photographer
New York Times
Art Story

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Diane Arbus is “noted for photographs of marginalized people—dwarfs, giants, transgender people, nudists, circus performers—and others whose normality was perceived by the general populace as ugly or surreal.”
–Wikipedia

A fortieth anniversary re-issue of Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph, edited by Doon Arbus and Marvin Israel, came out in 2012.

“Mr. Ávalos joined ‘The Electric Company’ in its second season, 1972, a time when there were few Hispanic faces on television. He remained with the show until it went off the air in 1977, appearing in more than 600 episodes. … Mr. Ávalos’s other regular television roles include Dr. Thomas Esquivel on the CBS sitcom ‘E/R’ in the 1980s and Principal Rivas on ‘Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper’ in the ’90s. … His film credits included ‘Hot Stuff’ (1979), ‘Stir Crazy’ (1980), ‘Hollywood Homicide’ (2003) and ‘$5 a Day’ (2008). … In 1983, Mr. Ávalos starred in ‘Condo,’ a short-lived ABC sitcom about an upscale white family and its Hispanic neighbors. The series, which also starred McLean Stevenson, was faulted by some critics for trafficking in ethnically based insult comedy. ‘I think that the greatest enemy to the understanding among people of different backgrounds is not the expression of ideas or the occasional trading of insults,’ Mr. Ávalos told the Associated Press in response. ‘The greatest enemy is invisibility.’ ”
-Margalit Fox, New York Times, Jan. 27, 2014
-Photo: Everett Collection

Helene Aylon
1931-2020
Multimedia Artist

Jewish Women’s Archive
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
ARTnews
Website
Book on Amazon

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“Through her art, Helène Aylon explored the intersectionality among her feminism, the Orthodox Judaism of her upbringing, and her place in a war-torn world. Married to an Orthodox rabbi at 18 and widowed at 30, Aylon investigated her faith and her feminism through installation art and performance art. … In 1982, as part of an eco–feminist performance piece to rescue the earth, she drove an ‘Earth Ambulance’ across the country, stopping at nuclear bases to ‘rescue’ earth in pillowcases donated by hundreds of women. Her work is in the permanent collections of several museums, including the Jewish Museum, MoMA, and the Whitney Museum.

–Profiles, Jewish Women’s Archive
Photo: Jewish Women’s Archive

Margalit Banai
1928-1976
and
Herbert Russcol
1921-1985
Writers

World Catalog
Abe Books
Amazon UK

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The couple co-wrote novels and nonfiction, notably The First Million Sabras: A Portrait of the Native-Born Israelis (1970). They also produced solo works and works with other authors. In 1972, Russcol, a musician, published an introduction to electronic music titled The Liberation of Sound, which is held in many university libraries.

“George Barrow, 91, a saxophonist and a member of Local 802 since 1949, died on March 20. Mr. Barrow picked up music relatively late in life, teaching himself the flute, clarinet and saxophone at the ripe old age of 23. A decade later, he was performing and recording with Charles Mingus, Paul Chambers, Bill Evans, Eric Dolphy, Freddie Hubbard, David Amram and Roy Haynes. He played on the acclaimed 1961 Oliver Nelson album ‘The Blues and the Abstract Truth.’ That same year, he also recorded the score of Elia Kazan’s film ‘Splendor in the Grass,’ which won an Oscar for best screenplay. … Mr. Barrow played regularly at the Apollo Theatre. He also performed in Broadway orchestras, including the original production of ’42nd Street’ as well as ‘Jelly’s Last Jam,’ among others.”

–Allegro, Requiem, May 2013, local802afm.org

P.J. Barry
1931-2019
Playwright/ Director/Actor

Website
Playbill.com
Internet Broadway Database
Video interview

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“P.J. Barry, a playwright whose drama The Octette Bridge Club played on Broadway, died … in Los Angeles after a brief battle with cancer. … Barry’s credits also included And Fat Freddy’s Blues, staged at the O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut; Heritage, about the women in Abraham Lincoln’s life; and other works at the Hudson Guild Theater in New York, where he served as artistic director.”
-Mike Barnes, Hollywood Reporter, Sept. 10, 2019

Robert Beauchamp​Robert Beauchamp
1923-1995
Painter
Wikipedia
AskArt
ArtNet

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“Beauchamp described his drawings as painterly, seeking the spontaneity in an image. He would develop a drawing then a painting, and vice versa. His heavily impastoed paintings, often described as sculptures themselves, came from the pouring of paint from a can, with little planning and constant evolution in the medium upon the canvas. He preferred little planning to his creations, believing that an artist’s work would become stale and repetitive with constant planning.”
–Wikipedia

Barton Benes
1942-2012
Sculptor
Obituary
North Dakota Museum of Art

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The North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks has built a replica of his Westbeth apartment and furnished it as he left it. “Among its objects, many of them macabre, are a blackened human toe; a giant hourglass holding the mingled ashes of two of Mr. Benes’s friends, partners who died of AIDS; a gall stone removed from his friend Larry Hagman, the actor; and a stuffed giraffe’s head.”
–Paul Vitello, New York Times, June 18, 2012

Mirel Bercovici
1917-2010
Painter/Poet

The Villager obituary
Bercovici gallery

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“Mirel Bercovici, a Westbeth painter who once sat in the Philharmonic orchestra pit during rehearsals to capture the image and spirit of Leonard Bernstein, died Sunday at home two weeks after her 93rd birthday. … In July 2002, she had a one-woman show of her work at the Westbeth Gallery on Bethune St. and at the same time was represented in a group show of women artists at the Pen & Brush Gallery on E. 10th St. … The 2002 Westbeth show covered her life as an artist with about 150 paintings ranging from works she did as a prodigy when she lived with her mother in Paris to paintings executed at age 84.”
–Albert Amateau, the Villager, Dec. 29, 2010
Photo: the villager.com

Beryl Bernay
1926-2020
Journalist/Actress/ Photographer /Painter

The Villager interview
New York Times obit

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“Beryl reported prominently from Indonesia during the 1960s political upheaval and massacres there, performed on Broadway and in Paris, created and hosted All Join Hands, America’s first multicultural children’s TV show, interviewed heads of state, reported from international hot spots, worked with civil rights leaders, and accompanied Margaret Mead to Bali in 1977. Her paintings and photography have been exhibited nationally and internationally.”

–Legacy.com, April 24, 2020

Karl BissingerKarl Bissinger
1914-2008
Photographer/Activist
Obituary
Bio
Work

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“Mr. Bissinger’s photographs split the difference between high-gloss fashion photography and reportage, reflecting the rawer, more emotive style asserting itself across the arts in the postwar era. …
“As the Vietnam War heated up, however, he devoted nearly all his time to working as a draft counselor at the Greenwich Village Peace Center. Later, as a member of the War Resisters League, he crusaded for nuclear disarmament.”
Gore Vidal wrote of Karl Bissinger’s work that “there is no country without Karl Bissinger to make art of it.”
–William Grimes, New York Times, Nov. 25, 2008

Bonnie Bluh
1926-2008
Feminist Author

Wikipedia
The Eleanor Roosevelt Girls on Amazon
Obituary

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“Noted feminist author, playwright, actor, teacher, lecturer, and performer. Bluh’s sharp, insightful nonfiction narrative of the emergence of the European feminist movement, “Woman to Woman” (1974), is a landmark account of the second wave of feminism, and her book is used in classrooms across the world. Her popular comic novel “Banana” (1976) is considered by some the first truly feminist novel ever to be published.”
-Legacy.com, Oct. 7, 2008
Photo: from a Lifetime in Pictures – Bonnie Blue Family Album on Youtube

Jane BolmeirJane Bolmeier
1931-2011
Painter
Art Review
Flower Child
Westbeth website

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The shapes in her early work titled 1A “create their own dynamic curvilinear structure interlocked with a network of diagonal lines, indicating furniture, architecture, spatial perspective, lines of vision. This represents the final filling up of the picture, celebrating complexity as the expression of life in stillness, life in art. The empty canvas, the place within which everything forms and evolves, is never relinquished or forgotten, never completely covered up or filled in.”
–Excerpt of review by Don Goddard, New York Art World, 2005

Isabel BorgattaIsabel Case Borgatta
1921-2017
Sculptor
Obituary
WestView News

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“ ‘Sometimes I have something in mind that I want to carve,’ she says. ‘More often, I find a stone that’s simpatico and I want to work with it.’ ”
–WestView News, June 1, 2015

John Bottoms
1938-2015
Actor

Westbeth Boldface
Lortel Archives
Internet Movie Database

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“ ‘Besides being a wonderful all-around actor, he was the most gifted physical comedian I’ve ever worked with,’ said director Joel Zwick of My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame. ‘He could do things with his body that were amazing, and he had a sense of humor that was highly evolved.’ ”

–Quoted in Rohan Preston, Star Tribune, Dec. 15, 2015

Patti BownPatti Bown
1931-2008
Jazz Musician
Recollection
Interview
Obituary
Westbeth Boldface

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“Ms. Bown was an excellent technical pianist, rooted in bop but with a strong dose of gospel-soul in her left hand. … Famed jazz critic Whitney Balliett was a big fan, describing her performance at a Newport ’75 Jam Session as ‘a mischievous wonder. She is an intense performer…Her own improvisations are hard-swinging précis of longer, more elaborate statements that she edits in her head.’ ”
–curtjazz.com

Claire Burch
Artist/Poet/
Filmmaker
1925-2009

Artwork access
Wikipedia
The Berkeley Daily
Street Spirit

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Excerpt from review of Westbeth art show, 1971: “The main interest in [Claire] Burch’s show is a suite of drawings incorporating fragments of family snapshots and matched to the pages of a manuscript of poems. Gallant and garrulous, the poems confront the trauma of the artist’s divorce with lines as likeable as these: ‘… my mother rages get out/and look for a new father for your children/my children don’t want a new father, they want pizza.’ The graceful, economical drawings, meanwhile, depict nice‐looking men and women sitting or lying about in a state of sensuous alertness. The intimacy is unforced and infectious.”

–Peter Schjeldahl, New York Times, Sept. 19, 1971

abcCarole Byard
1941-2017
Illustrator and visual artist
Obituary
Wikipedia
Rent Series

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” ‘I always loved reading, but none of the people in the pictures looked like me. When I worked on my first book I thought about the books I read when I was young. I knew it was important to make the most beautiful book I could make. This isn’t something I’m doing only for black children. Kids of all nationalities and races should see the world is made up of all kinds of people.’ Equally significant was her ‘Rent Series,’ a vintage collection of artwork beginning in the 1980s, which was inspired by a collection of her late father’s rent receipts kept in memory of his lifelong efforts to provide housing for their family.”
–Press of Atlantic City, Jan. 18, 2017

I am ironing the dress in which I ran from the prom/ I am ironing my favorite dresses of long ago/ I am ironing the dresses I did not have/ and the ones that I did have, stitched so finely of fog/ I am ironing the dress of water in which I met you/ I am ironing our tablecloth of sun and our coverlet of moon/ I am ironing the sky/ I am folding the clouds like linen/ I am ironing smoke

I am ironing sad foreheads and deep wrinkles of despair/ I am ironing sackcloth/ I am ironing bandages/ I am ironing huge damp piles of worries/ I am smoothing and patting and folding and hanging over chairs to air out and dry/ I am ironing the tiniest things but for whom or for what I cannot imagine/ I am ironing my shadow which is ironing me.

–“Woman Ironing” by Olga Cabral

Nick CaroneNicolas Carone
1917-2010
Abstract Expressionist
Website
Obituary
Article

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“Mr. Carone was present at the beginning of the New York School and friends with Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko and Lee Krasner. … In the early 1960s his career was eclipsed by Pop Art and Minimalism. He effectively withdrew from the New York gallery world for 40 years but continued working in several mediums and styles. In 1964 he joined the founding faculty of the New York Studio School, where he taught drawing for nearly 25 years. He also taught at Columbia University, Cooper Union and the National Academy of Design.”
–Roberta Smith, New York Times, July 29, 2010

Joe ChaikinJoseph Chaikin
1935-2003
Director/Actor
Encyclopædia
Wikipedia
Obituary

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As founder of the Open Theater, “celebrated for shaking up the presentation of drama in the 1960’s, Mr. Chaikin collaborated with Samuel Beckett and Sam Shepard and staged works in the Joseph Papp Public Theater, Yale Repertory, the Manhattan Theater Club, the Mark Taper Forum and many other theaters. He received five Obie awards, two Guggenheim fellowships and many other honors. …
“The Open Theater became America’s most storied performance group, an experiential retreat where actors and audiences tried out a new stage vocabulary blending mime, dance and storytelling, often to provocative effect.”
–Ralph Blumenthal, New York Times, June 24, 2003

MIRIAM CHAIKINMiriam Chaikin
1924-2015
Poet/Writer
Obituary

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“Author of more than 35 books, she received acclaim for her writing, including the Sydney Taylor Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries, the Notable Book designation, American Library Association and the National Jewish Book Award for illustrated children’s book, 1988, for the beautifully written and illustrated ‘Exodus.’ ”
–The Villager, June 11, 2015

In 2016 the Miriam Chaikin Endowment Fund for Writing was created by her estate. It is in her memory that the Foundation seeks to honor every year a member of the writing community who has created recent works worth sharing across the community.
Call for submissions are posted in the fall on this website.

“Shami began her off-Broadway career in ’63 when her beloved brother Joseph Chaikin formed the Open Theater, directing her in many legendary productions. She toured in Viet Rock, won an Obie for Mutation Show … and the TNC Villager Award for Jean-Claude van Itallie’s Bag Lady (’79). She wrote Selma, which premiered in ’81, then performed in Arthur Miller’s The Last Yankee (’98). Struck by a New York City sanitation truck in ’09, she made a remarkable recovery and performed annually at Westbeth in Stories Around the Table through 2019.”
-New York Times, April 3, 2020

Ted Churchill
1944-1995
Steadicam Operator

Internet Movie Database
Steadicam Demo

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“I was in Rockport, teaching the Steadicam Workshop with Dan Kneece and Travis Clark. Ted came by one evening. He brought a bit of videotape and showed it, sufficiently wowing us all with the clarity of movement, decisive framing and fluid operating. … He was his usual biting self, humorous and fast. One person asked him what he felt was his best asset. I figured oh god, this is a fat pitch he’s been thrown. He stopped with the wiseass stuff and got very sober for a moment, and thought. Then he said, ‘I am not the best Steadicam Operator in the world- ( At the time, debatable….. )- but I can tell you this much: I’m the fastest. Nobody waits on me. I get in there, I do my homework, I prep and am ready, I shoot the scenes and I get out. Quick and painless.’ ”

Peter Abraham, “Ted Churchill Remembered,” SteadicamForum.com, June 16, 2004

“Carol Cole, who went by the nickname Cookie, appeared on her father’s ‘The Nat King Cole Show’ on television in the 1950s and went on to appear on TV and in movies in the 1960s and ’70s. Her credits include ‘Sanford and Son’ and the 1974 movie ‘The Taking of Pelham One Two Three.'”
-Legacy.com
-Photo: Wikipedia

Ronnie Cutrone
1948-2013
Painter

Website
Wikipedia
Artnet.com

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“As a painter, Mr. Cutrone was a representative of the school often called post-Pop. In his best-known pieces, he painted cartoon characters like Woody Woodpecker and Donald Duck onto American flags and those of other nations. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum and elsewhere. … Mr. Cutrone was equally renowned as someone who had known almost everyone, and tried almost everything, in the New York art world of the 1960s and after, bridging the sea change from Pop to punk.”

-Margalit Fox, New York Times, June 26, 2013
Photo: Stephen Shore

Carmen Czernik
d. 2013
Pianist

Remembrance by her daughter

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“Carmen Czernik was born in Spain and received her musical training in the U.S. She attended the Mannes College of Music … and then earned her master’s degree from the Juilliard School of Music, where she was a scholarship student of Beveridge Webster. … Upon graduation, she was awarded a Fulbright grant for two years to Italy. … Miss Czernik has performed extensively in this country and has toured South & Central America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.”

-Publicity folder

Giglio Dante
Painter/Sculptor
1914-2007

Wikipedia
Artnet
Ask Art.net

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“Giglio Dante came to Boston from Rome in 1921. … Considered a teenage prodigy, Dante started painting portraits and murals at a young age. In the mid-1930s when working for the WPA , he was commissioned to paint two murals, depicting working Italian immigrants at the Michelangelo School located on Charter Street in Boston. … He was also part of the dramatic Abstract Expressionist movement in New York during the mid-1940s and 50s. … Dante showed his work in Boston and New York City during the 1940s and moved permanently to New York in the 1950s. He became part of the Betty Parsons Gallery for 10 years. … He was one of the first artists to move into the Westbeth Artists Community in 1970 where he exhibited in their major shows.”
-Wikipedia
Photo: Night Face painting by Giglio Dante (courtesy of ArtNet)

Nassos Daphnis
1914-2010
Painter/Sculptor

ARTnews
Wikipedia
Artsy.net

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“At a time when Abstract Expressionism placed a premium on psychological intensity and spontaneous mark-making, [Nassos Daphnis] coolly arranged color in precise, controlled patterns on the canvas. In his color-plane theory, black commanded a forward position, with blue, red and yellow progressively receding toward white, which represented infinity. … ‘The important thing for me was to place the color in its proper plane, which I feel is the only way that a color can exist,’ he said in an oral history interview for the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art in 1964.”

-William Grimes, New York Times, Dec. 12, 2010
Photo: Arthur Mones 1980, courtesy of Richard Tattinger Gallery

Robert DiNiro SrRobert DeNiro, Sr
1922-1993
Painter
Website
Obituary
The Art Story

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“Robert De Niro, Sr. was part of the celebrated New York School of post-war American artists. His work blended abstract and expressionist styles of painting with traditional representational subject matter, bridging the divide between European Modernism and Abstract Expressionism.”
–robertdenirosr.com

Neil Derrick
1931-2018
Novelist

The Last Bohemians blogspot
Lambda Literary Organization

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“The writer Neil Derrick was raised in California. Under the pen name Bruce Elliot, he published ‘The Potency Clinic’ and other novels. In 1970, Derrick had a brain tumor removed and lost much of his sight. With his partner Edward Field, he wrote the novel ‘The Villagers’ in 1980 [revised 2000].”

–Dylan Foley, The Last Bohemians, Aug. 30, 2011

Photo: Copyright Days of Love

johnmemoriamJohn Dobbs
1931 – 2011
Painter/ Poet
Obituary
Westbeth Web Page
Essay on John Dobbs

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“ ‘I’m not afraid to say I’ve made paintings that can be hard to live with,’ Dobbs wrote near the end of his life, responding to often-heard comments that his work is both beautiful and disturbing.”
–Mona Molarsky, examiner.com, on The Last Bohemians

Ree Dragonette
1918-1979
Poet

Westbeth Boldface
Wikipedia
YouTube

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“Dragonette was called a ‘metaphysical poet’ and a ‘jazz poet’ … She was involved in a number of performances with dancers and musicians. In 1962, she performed her poetry with the Eric Dolphy Quintet at Town Hall. Active in the poetry scene in New York City, Dragonette, along with poet Howard Ant, is said to have started poetry readings at the 10th Street Coffee House in the early 1960s. … Her published work includes Parable of the Fixed Stars (Allograph Books, 1968) and Remember Zion (Mercedes Books, 1970).”

–Boldface, Westbeth.org

Sherman Drexler
1925-2014
Painter

Wikipedia
Pollock Krasner Foundation
YouTube interview

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From a review of the exhibit Art Paradise: Fifty Years of Painting: “Mr. Drexler … has followed his own slightly eccentric path for more than five decades, but his paintings of generalized female nudes (based on his wife, the Pop painter and writer Rosalyn Drexler), horses or deer in the midst of broad, flat areas of paint combine the primordial and the abstract in a way that is close to the center of a Modernist mainstream running from Matisse to Susan Rothenberg. The large canvases featured in this small retrospective show have a scruffy, raw appearance; they are not beautiful but they exude a persuasive urgency of purpose.”

-Ken Johnson, New York Times, Feb. 4, 2005
Photo: lastbohemians.blogspot.com

“[Helen] authored many books of poetry … and novels, including A Thousand Wives Dancing. … Her novel [The] Dream of Rewards was nominated for the Pushcart Press 10th Annual Editors’ Choice Award. Her fiction, poetry, reviews and articles have appeared in many journals. … Helen was a member and playwright-in-residence at the Circle Repertory Theater in NYC in its early years. Her play Time Shadows was produced in 1969 … Helen was one of the founding members of the Westbeth Playwrights Feminist Collective, and had many plays produced Off-Off Broadway at the Theatre for the New City in the ’70s and ’80s. Her plays have been performed by many experimental theater companies throughout the United States, Europe, and South America.”

-Jackie Lipton
Photo: Jackie Lipton

“Ralph Dubin [was] an artist whose work evolved from social realist figuration into one more heavily influenced by abstract forms. … Mr. Dubin’s early work was influenced by Ben Shahn, whom he met while attending the Brooklyn Museum Art School. He was represented by the Kraushaar Galleries in New York from 1952 to 1975.”
–New York Times, March 16, 1988

Hélène Dworzan
1925-2017
Writer

Obituary
Time of the Chrysalis

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“Hélène Dworzan was born in Paris. … [She] moved to the United States in 1950. … While working as a translator and teacher, Hélène Dworzan was an active member of the New York literary scene, serving as associate editor of the Chelsea Literary Review from 1970 to 1981, founding the Continuum series of poetry and fiction readings in 1970; she continued to direct that program until 1976. In addition to her critically acclaimed novel, Le Temps de la Chrysalide, she has written short stories and poems that have appeared in various publications. … In 1961, she received a grant from Material Jewish Claims against Germany in support of a fictional narrative based on her experiences as a survivor of the Holocaust.” [Editor’s note: Dworzan was an original member of the Westbeth Playwrights Feminist Collective.]

–Amazon.com, The Time of the Chrysalis, About the Author, 2011
Photo: Tom Monaster, Daily News 1971

Gil EvansGil Evans
1912-1988
Jazz Composer / Arranger
Website
Website
Obituary

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Gil Evans was “one of America’s great jazz composers and arrangers. … In the course of his career he became, after Duke Ellington, the most important composer and orchestrator in postwar jazz. … It was with the Thornhill band, between 1941 and 1948, that Mr. Evans first started making a name for himself, writing luminescent, floating arrangements and reworking be-bop standards.”
–Peter Watrous, New York Times, March 22, 1988

Marsha Farley
1923-2006
Sculptor
Website
Award

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Marsha Farley made use of “found objects and remnants from everyday life to create fascinating and inventive sculptures. Her work prompts reflection of how the human and the mechanical world interconnect.”
–The Tanner Foundation

Fred Farr
1914-1973
Sculptor/Painter

Portland Art Museum
Brooklyn Museum
Smithsonian American Art
Works

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“Drawing largely on Oriental and prehistoric precedents, Mr. Farr evolved an art that combined the freedom of the first generation of the New York School with timeless archaic art. … Paul Rosenberg & Co. exhibited his bronzes of horses in four showings between 1957 and 1972. Previously, he had exhibited at the Bertha Schaefer Gallery and had executed murals for the Social Security Building in Washington and other public buildings.”

–New York Times, June 18, 1973
Photo: invaluable.com

“When Louis Faurer encountered memorable silhouettes and faces on New York’s sidewalks, he highlighted the liveliness and sorrow of metropolitan life. He rarely looked up at the skyline: New York’s essence was on its teeming streets, especially in Times Square, which he prowled at night,” wrote Sarah Moroz in the New York Times. Moroz ends the article with a quote from Agnès Sire, director of the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson: ” ‘The general public didn’t know Louis Faurer, but all the specialized people with a thorough understanding of the medium were touched by his work … They saw in him a great originality — his deep empathy, his mastery of composition. It’s photography without flashiness; that is to say, it is not hyperbolic. It’s sensitive and honest. People recognized that in him, but it’s not necessarily easy to see.’ ”
–Sarah Moroz, New York Times, Sep. 27, 2016

“The name of the American Leonard Freed, who has died aged 77, became synonymous with that of the ‘concerned photographer’. In the wake of the second world war, photojournalism became increasingly involved with human rights and, in Freed’s case, with civil rights in his homeland. As a documentarist of the situation of African-Americans, he always had an eye for the unexpected and upbeat, often in the grimmest of circumstances.
“He followed the years of struggle against segregation and discrimination by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), photographing Martin Luther King Jr and his great march across the US from Alabama to Washington; equally, his image of children playing around a water hydrant in New York became an icon, along with those of daily life in that city, still effectively segregated by ghettoisation in the 1950s and 60s.”
—Amanda Hopkinson, Guardian, Dec. 6, 2006

Yoshishige Furukawa
1921 – 2008
Painter

Maus Contemporary
Hyperallergic.com
Robert Henry Contemporary

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“Yoshishige Furukawa moved to America in the 1960s, and split the last decades of his life between the United States and his native Japan. The impact of these decisions is reflected in his multifaceted work from the 1970s, which indicate an eye to Minimalism as well as a deep sensitivity to material and line that recalls Japanese Imperial architecture. … His work is in numerous important Japanese Museum collections, including the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo; the National Museum of Art in Osaka; the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto … [and was] exhibited in the U.S. and Japan throughout his life.”

-roberthenrycontemporary.com
Photo: Artist’s estate and Beta Pictoris Gallery/Maus Contemporary

“Jean Garrigue rose from an insecure, unknown student to become a part of the literary canon because of her original, vibrant poetry which encompassed both the intellectual and personal. Her poetry had a lyric quality and wildness that was presented in flashes of memory and images which captured the imagination of the literary community. Garrigue is considered her generation’s true Romantic poet.”

— J.D. McClatchy, Abstract for “Wildness Asking for Ceremony,” The American Poetry Review, March-April 1992

Sonia GechtoffSonia Gechtoff
1926-2018
Abstract Expressionist
Article
Interview
Obituary

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Sonia Gechtoff was a “prominent Abstract Expressionist on the West Coast early in her career and later a mainstay of the New York art scene. … Hilton Kramer of The New York Times called her ‘one of the most gifted artists of her generation.’ ”
–Neil Genzlinger, New York Times, Feb. 9, 2018

Vito Giacalone
b. 1930
Painter

Artist Page
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Work on Ebay

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“Vito Giacalone was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1930, and … practiced for a lifetime as an abstract artist in New York City. He [was] a long-standing, exhibiting member of the American Abstract Artists. Giacalone … taught color theory at the School for Visual Arts in New York.”

–Art in Embassies, U.S. Department of State

Arlene GottfriedArlene Gottfried
1950-2017
Photographer
Obituary
Website

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Arlene Gottfried’s “arresting images of ordinary people in New York’s humbler neighborhoods earned her belated recognition as one of the finest street photographers of her generation.”
–William Grimes, New York Times, Aug. 10, 2017

sallygrossSally Gross
1933-2015
Dancer/Choreographer
Obituary
Wikipedia
A Life in Dance excerpt

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“Ms. Gross’s work, built from the fundamentals of spare, precise movement and gesture and staged with a painter’s eye for figures in space, was emblematic. Inspired, she often said, by literature and art and by details of her own autobiography, she translated those elements into elliptical, impressionistic tableaus. …

“The documentary maker Albert Maysles titled his 2007 film about her work ‘The Pleasure of Stillness.’ ”
–Bruce Weber, New York Times, July 24, 2015

Alex Haberstroh
1906-1973
Film Producer/Special Effects Expert

Internet Movie Database
The New Yorker Magazine

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“Mr. Haberstroh headed the Haberstroh Film Studio, Inc., 9 West 19th Street. In the nineteen‐fifties, he was a pioneer in making low‐budget space films with the Captain Video television series. As a result, he became a special‐effects expert for numerous TV commercials. … In 1962, excerpts of his ‘First Men Into Space’ simulated, for many TV viewers, the earth‐orbiting space voyage of John Glenn, the astronaut. Among Mr. Haberstroh’s other films were ‘Trip to the Planets’ and ‘Space Probes,’ produced in cooperation with Encyclopaedia Britannica Films, Inc., and a five‐film astronomy series, produced in cooperation with McGraw‐Hill Films.”

-New York Times, Dec. 8, 1973

Gerald Hahn
Painter
1938-1987
Obituary
Prabook

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Gerald Hahn [was] a painter and associate professor of art at Queens College. The native Brooklynite “exhibited his paintings in several one-man shows. Before joining Queens College, he had taught at the New York School of Interior Design and Pratt Institute. He was an alumnus of the Cooper Union and had two degrees in art from Yale University. Professor Hahn contributed to ‘The Art of Drawing’ by Prof. Bernard Chaet and wrote ‘Optical Artificials: Understanding Color Mixing.’ ”
–New York Times, Feb 21, 1987

Barbara Hammer
1939 – 2019
Filmmaker

Website
ARTnews Article
Interview at NY Film Festival

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“ ‘Hammer strives in her films for a new visual language, a new way of presenting images that disrobes the conventions of the straight realm and reimagines the garb of our queer world in all its underground pathos, sexuality, playfulness and positively perverse gaze,’ the poet Janlori Goldman wrote on the website of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in Manhattan in 2017, when the museum held an exhibition of Ms. Hammer’s work. …. Ms. Hammer delved into lesbian history and culture through the stories of artists like the photographer Alice Austen (in the documentary ‘The Female Closet’) and the poet Elizabeth Bishop (‘Welcome to This House’). She explored menstruation (‘Menses’), coverage of the AIDS epidemic (‘Snow Job’) and how women view their sexuality compared with male images of women and sex (‘No No Nooky T.V.’).”
– Richard Sandomir, New York Times, March 20, 2019

Moses Gunn
1929 – 1993
Actor

Westbeth BoldFace
Wikipedia
Internet Movie Database

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“Mr. Gunn, a co-founder of the Negro Ensemble Company, played myriad roles. He received an Image Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for his performance as Booker T. Washington in the 1981 film ‘Ragtime,’ and an Emmy nomination for his role in the television mini-series ‘Roots’ as Kintango, the leader of a secret society in Africa that preserved and performed the rites of manhood. His numerous stage appearances included ‘Othello’ and the original New York production of ‘The Blacks,’ by Jean Genet, in 1962.”

–Charisse Jones, New York Times, Dec. 20, 1993

Peter Hanssen
1934-2011
Painter

Blog
Obituary

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“Peter taught painting, drawing, and art history for 35 years at [Kingsborough Community College], Pratt Institute, and Marist College. … Peter was known for his abstract expressionist paintings, satirical drawings, and digital photography. His work has been exhibited widely.”

-KCC Retirees Newsletter, Vol. 5, Issue 1, Spring 2011

Theodore Haupt
1902-1990
Painter

Wikipedia
Minneapolis College of Art and Design
Mutual Art.com

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“He was an American Modernist painter that used elements from the Cubist and Surrealist movements and is well known for his New Yorker magazine covers. … Haupt moved to Manhattan in 1927, supporting his studio art through graphic design assignments for the New Yorker, Charm, and Vanity Fair for five years. His debut cover for the New Yorker was produced almost immediately and he created forty-five covers for the magazine during his stay in New York. … In the 1930s, his paintings were displayed in several New York art galleries, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Whitney Museum … [Later], he worked his way through abstract, color-drenched, non-representational painting styles and created a series of Surrealist-inspired paintings.”

-Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Alumni Profile
Photo: New Yorker cover, February 28, 1931

Ruth Herschberger
1917-2014
Poet

Westbeth Boldface
Poets.org
Poetry Foundation

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Ruth Herschberger is the author of Adam’s Rib (1948), a seminal book of feminist essays. Her poems have been published in journals and anthologies, and collected in A Way of Happening (1948) and Nature & Love Poems (1969). The following is an excerpt of her poem “The Huron,” which was included in the book Westbeth Poets: An Anthology of Poets (1971).

“I swam the Huron of love, and am not ashamed,
It was many saw me do it, scoffing, scoffing,
They said it was foolish, winter and all,
But I dove in, greaselike, and swam,
And came up where Erie verges.”

-photo Sergei Gerard

“Evelyn Hofer was born in Marburg, Germany, in 1922 and died in 2009 in Mexico City. In the years in between, Hofer created a body of work that both looked back to the tradition of August Sander and anticipated the color work of William Eggleston, causing her to be called ‘the most famous unknown photographer in America’ by New York Times art critic Hilton Kramer – a devout supporter of her work.
–danzigergallery.com
Photo: Andreas Pauly

unnamed​Beate Wheeler Holst
1932-2017
Painter
Website

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“In a review of her 1963 show at the Feiner Gallery, ArtNews called her canvases ‘marvelously colored’ and ‘constantly expanding’ concluding the review with an encapsulation of the writer’s experience as follows: ‘Shapes sink and rise like drum beats leaving other spots in a dead space long enough to vibrate, and then the relationship moves on catching other lights from other places. All of this magic is conjured with saturated light.’… Beate continued to paint and to draw while, sometimes stubbornly, refusing to promote her work. She famously refunded the proceeds from the sale of one of her paintings after realizing that she wasn’t ready ‘to let the painting go.’ ”
–beate-wheeler-holst.com

Spencer Holst
1926-2001
Writer
New York Times obituary
Spencer Holst papers
Goodreads

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“Mr. Holst gained his reputation partly from his own readings of his stories. He was a big-eyed man and read the magical tales with an air of constant wonderment, as if they had been dropped on his doorstep just that morning. They were short and often funny stories in which animals mixed with people. The poet Hugh Seidman, Mr. Holst’s neighbor for 30 years in Westbeth, the housing complex for artists in the West Village, said, ‘Once you heard him perform his classic tales, like “The Frog” or “A Balkan Entertainment,” it was impossible to get his voice out of your head, impossible not to hear it each time you read one of his fables.’ ”
–Harvey Shapiro, New York Times, Dec. 5, 2001

Richard HundleyRichard Hundley
1931-2018
Pianist and Composer
Obituary
Website

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“In 1987 he was among twelve composers recognized by Carnegie Hall as a standard American composer for vocalists in its International American Music Competition. Mr. Hundley’s songs are now part of the vocal repertory in every major music school in the U.S. as well as leading schools in Europe.”
–New York Times, legacy.com, Feb. 28, 2018

“His was the fight of the black man in America seeking to be offered, in simplest terms, the elusive fair consideration for available opportunities. He asked for and expected what his talent and his citizenship had led him to believe he deserved: the right to compete, not with special privilege or preference, but on a level playing field where everybody else scrambled to display their gifts, their reasons, their dreams. … He had remarkable eyes, of the sort that made James Baldwin a compelling, beautiful human being, and Hugh’s colour, the most warm and urgently engaging brown imaginable, was anchored by a smile that didn’t so much glitter or shine as it brought a gentle, memorable light.
“To have known him, as a worker in the arts and as a neighbour in New York’s fabled Greenwich Village, will be to miss Hugh a great deal. He could talk you into a daze, on a street corner, in the lobby of your apartment building or his, below a marquee or outside a coffee shop. Hugh never met the conversation he didn’t like or was willing to end. He was the Harlem kid who wanted a world as old as human communication, a place where Shakespeare had been comfortable, and Olivier, Poitier, and Eugene O’Neill, too.”
–Clayton Riley, The Guardian, July 25, 1995
Photo: Hugh Hurd in “Shadows”

“Mr. Ignatow was the author and editor of 27 books, including ‘I Have a Name’ (1996) and ‘Shadowing the Ground’ (1991). He published short stories and a memoir, ‘The One in the Many’ (1988), and edited collections of the work of William Carlos Williams and Walt Whitman. The critic Ralph J. Mills once wrote that Mr. Ignatow followed ‘in the tradition of those genuine poets who have, in independent ways, struggled to create a living American poetry from the immediacies of existence in this country, from the tragedies and potentialities of its legacy, and from the abundant music and vitality of its language.”’
–Dinitia Smith, New York Times, Nov. 19, 1997

Ralph Iwamoto
1921-2013
Painter
Review
Japanese American Military Service archives
Website

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“When Ralph Iwamoto was a young painter in 1950s New York, the avant-garde was in a frenzy of abstraction. Abstract Expressionists were turning out heroic canvases full of grand gestures and psychological underpinnings. Iwamoto was painting abstractly, too, but he was making works distinct from theirs. A Hawaiian of Japanese extraction, he embraced Japanese iconography. …
“As a teenager in 1941, he was an eyewitness to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which he watched from a tree on a hill … Sixty years later, in 2001, he again witnessed an historic attack: From the vantage point of his … apartment in Greenwich Village, he saw the Twin Towers go down. Despite these bookending cataclysms, Iwamoto has always reached for the serene and the cerebral in his art. His work expresses the modern world, but it’s above the fray.”

–Margaret Regan, Tucson Weekly, Jan. 17, 2008
Photo: Laura Kina (detail)

Robert Jensen
1938-1990
Architect/Historian

Amazon Books
Library Thing

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“Mr. Jensen … was an associate editor of Architectural Record magazine from 1968 to 1973. He was a co-author with Patricia Conway of ”Ornamentalism: The New Decorativeness in Architecture and Design” … He organized several exhibitions, including a [1979-80] retrospective at the Bronx Museum of the Arts on the history of the South Bronx. Titled ”Devastation/Resurrection,” the exhibition dealt with the causes of the area’s deterioration and possibilities for its rehabilitation. In 1988 Mr. Jensen mounted an exhibition, ”Architectural Art: Affirming the Design Relationship,” at the American Craft Museum.”

-New York Times, July 12, 1990

Halvard JohnsonHalvard Johnson
1936-2017
Poet
Obituary
Website

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“An innovative, richly colloquial poet, Hal was also poetry editor of The Hamilton Stone Review for six years, as well as a member of our editorial board.” His poetry and other writing are widely available online and on HSR.
–Hamilton Stone Review, Spring 2018

Cliff Joseph
1922-2020
Artist

Aaron Galleries
Chicago Crusader
Smithsonian
TFA exhibits

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“Joseph was the co-founder of the 1960’s Black Emergency Cultural Coalition in NY—an artists group involved in creating socially conscious artworks. ‘My art is a confrontation. Among the many realities of art expression, this remains the most constant purpose of my aesthetic. It is, of course, a social art, based on my “gut” perceptions of our worldly conditions; but it draws upon each viewer to confront himself in consideration of his role in affecting those conditions.’ ”

-“Cliff Joseph: Artist and Activist,” Works,aarongalleries.com

Allen Katzman
1937-1985
Poet

The East Village Other
Wikipedia
World Catalog
Amazon

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From a review of Allen Katzman’s book The Immaculate: “Mr. Katzman’s short sojourn with Apache Indians in Oklahoma inspired two of the five sections of this book of brief poems, but he is at his best in his East Village city sparrow performances. If there are some inconsequentials such as: ‘My own mind is very hard to me. It’s as if/ it were carrying ME around!’ there are also fortunate flashes: ‘From a doorway a/ woman stumbles past me and blunders into/ old age.’ Katzman bobs through some punchy perceptions dealing with love, gut humanity and cybernetic apocalypses (‘AMERICA HATES HER CRAZIES!’). He is the founder and editor of the East Village Other, and it’s a kind of hurried mimeo poetry most of the time–but scrappy and fresh.”
-kirkusreviews.com, June 1, 1970

“In the 1950’s Mr. Katzman was featured in group shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Venice Biennale. His work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney, the Modern, the Art Institute of Chicago and elsewhere. … Mr. Katzman was a slatherer, using a palette knife to lay down paint so thick ‘its troughs and crests seem almost like a frozen sea,’ the New York Times said in 1951. Writing in the Times in 1964, Stuart Preston described Mr. Katzman’s figure and landscape paintings as ‘deviously expressionist in character, by an artist whose style might be described as restrained Soutine.’ ”

-Margalit Fox, New York Times, Nov. 1, 2004

Minoru Kawabata
1911-2001
Painter

Artnet
Wikipedia

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“Mr. Kawabata moved to New York in the late 1950’s after he received an enthusiastic visit in Japan from the dealer Betty Parsons. In this country, he showed for many years at her gallery in the company of several great Abstract Expressionist painters – Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko and others – with whose work his own has a great affinity.”

–Douglas C. McGill, New York Times, March 4, 1988
Image: Untitled painting by Minoru Kawabata

“James Kelly had a career which spanned nearly seven decades, including paintings and graphic works. While his work in his native Philadelphia had more of a geometric quality, inspired by Piet Mondrian, his move to California in 1950 changed his style to more gestural, using thick impasto oil paint and swirling motifs common of the San Francisco scene. [Kelly and his wife Sonia Gechtoff moved to New York City in 1958.] … Kelly’s work is part of many permanent collections including the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Los Angeles Museum of Art, the Harvard University Art Museum, the Pasadena Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.”

-Anita Shapolsky Gallery, Sept. 14, 2017
Photo: David Richard Gallery

Risaburo Kimura
1924-2014
Painter

Artist Kimura
Artnet

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“Post-sōsaku hanga (creative print movement) artist and master of serigraph technique, Risaburo Kimura ha[d] [a] special affinity for big cities, being born close to Tokyo and later living in New York. In the late 1960s, he started his most important series of prints, ‘City’ series, with well over 400 different renderings of a big city. All of the cities he represented in this series are fictional, and are reduced to masterly use of several colors and minimization of architectural elements.”
—”Risaburo Kimura: Cityscapes,” morikami.org/archives/

“Galway Kinnell was often compared to his favorite poet, Walt Whitman, whose ‘Crossing Brooklyn Ferry’ Kinnell movingly read aloud every year on the far side of the Brooklyn Bridge at a benefit for the New York poetry library Poets House. Like Whitman, Kinnell — who died in 2014 having won the Pulitzer, the National Book Award and a MacArthur, among other honors for books published between … 1960 and 2006 — was a poet of capacious interest in the natural world, profound commitment to social justice, and deep sympathy for the people he saw.”
—Craig Morgan Teicher, latimes.com, Dec. 1, 2017

Gerald Krefetz
1932-2006
Writer

Wikipedia
Obituary
World Catalog

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“Gerald Krefetz, a financial consultant and the author of ‘The Smart Investor’s Guide’ and other books, has written a concise but comprehensive handbook to the enormous quantity of information that appears daily in the financial and business sections of major newspapers. … A monkey throwing darts, it has been said, can choose investments as well as any professional. Maybe so, but I’d just as soon entrust my investments to a monkey who has digested the information in Mr. Krefetz’s excellent book.”

-Lawrence S. Ritter, New York Times, Oct. 21, 1984

“BeaBea Kreloff
1925-2016
Painter/Activist
Activism
Obituary
Remembrance

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Painter, teacher, activist, radical lesbian feminist, and co-founder and Director Emeritus of Art Workshop International, her work ” is in the permanent collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., as well as in a number of private collections. She was an avid feminist, actively involved with the anti-war movement, gay liberation, and women’s issues.”
–mapado.com

Bettye LaneBettye Lane
1930-2012
Photographer
Obituary
Photography
Collection

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Bettye Lane, a photojournalist, ” gained wide recognition for her rich trove of pictures documenting the feminist movement in the 1970s and ’80s. Her pictures of women pumping their fists and waving banners as thousands marched down Fifth Avenue captured the energy and passion of the moment. …
“Ms. Lane turned her lens as well on civil rights demonstrations, war demonstrations during the Vietnam era and marches for gay rights. She was one of the few photographers to document the Stonewall protests in Greenwich Village. … The New York Public Library houses many of her photographs of the gay-rights struggle.”
–Leslie Kaufman, New York Times, Sept. 21, 2012

“Freda Leinwand was a photographer noted for documenting the Women’s Liberation Movement in the 1970s and 1980s. Leinwand was one of the original tenants of the West Village’s Westbeth Artist Housing in New York City, where she lived until her death in 2012. Many of her photographs depict the Women’s Literary Salons that were often held at Westbeth. … Although she spent much of her time photographing the Women’s Movement, Leinwand made her living taking photographs for textbooks, and expressed a particular interest in depicting women working in ‘non-traditional’ jobs.”
—Biography, Freda Leinwand Collection, Barnard College Archives
Photo: Freda Leinwand Papers, Schlesinger Library

Peter Lombard
1935-2015
Actor

The Villager
Internet Broadway Database
NY Times

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“A longtime West Village resident, [Peter Lombard] moved to New York in the late 1950s to pursue an acting career, and married Peggy Anne Watson in 1960. … He worked steadily on Broadway through the 1960s and ’70s, appearing in many plays, including ‘Generation’ (opposite Henry Fonda), ‘Carnival,’ ‘Promises, Promises’ (as Jerry Orbach’s understudy), ‘Conquering Hero’ (directed by Bob Fosse), ‘Pretty Belle’ (opposite Angela Lansbury) and ‘1776’ (as Thomas Jefferson).”

–The Villager, April 9, 2015

Description from the Ora Lerman Charitable Trust about a traveling exhibition beginning in the spring of 2018: “Ora Lerman: Telling Tales is a mini-retrospective of her paintings, watercolors, drawings, sculptures, and Cibachromes that spans the course of her thirty-year career, emphasizing seminal periods and recurring themes. The exhibition reveals her unique ability to combine personal history with universal fables, creating narratives that are original yet familiar as they cross generations and geographic boundaries. Lerman takes inspiration from a variety of sources as diverse as Aesop’s fables to the familiar fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, and from the creationist story of Eve in the Garden of Eden to the Indian goddess Yakshi, a symbol of fertility in the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain faiths.”

–lermantrust.org

Robert Ludwig
1924-2019
Painter

Westbeth Icon
Carter Burden Gallery

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In the mid-1950s, Robert Ludwig came to New York City during the era of the 10th Street galleries. He had several one-man shows at the Phoenix Gallery. Bob’s credo as an artist was to show up every day at the studio. The result was a large body of artwork, much of it exploring geometric abstraction. Through the years, he participated in many shows at the Westbeth Gallery. He also had an ongoing relationship with the Carter Burden Gallery.

–Adapted from Terry Stoller, Westbeth.org, Westbeth Icons

John Manship
1927-2000
Painter

Work
Gallerix
Smithsonian American Art

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“Mr. Manship was born in New York City. While a student at Harvard, he converted to Roman Catholicism, and many of his paintings and sculptures were based on religious themes. … In a 50-year career, he had many one-man shows in the United States and Europe. … He was a leading authority on his father’s [sculptor Paul Manship] career. He published a biography, ‘Paul Manship,’ in 1989, and frequently lectured on and authenticated his father’s work.”

-New York Times, Nov. 22, 2000

“Ralph Martel worked ‘intensely and joyfully’ in his studio every day, recalls his son James Martel. … Growing up and later, James admired Ralph’s many skills, ‘He was good at a large number of things, welding, joinery, carpentry, and he made his own tools sometimes.’ James says his father knew [the] art of Intarsia, an Italian wood inlaying technique, and Japanese joinery and incorporated these intricate techniques in his wood sculptures which curve and flow with deceptive simplicity. … He was inventive and playful too. James recalls being fascinated with the way his father wielded a grease machine that spurted red lipstick grease into sculptural forms as the machine was moved from place to place. … He and other children from families who lived at Westbeth Artists Housing loved Ralph’s 20’-30’- long sculptures made of a synthetic material that he inflated and then deflated in the building courtyard.”
–U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, nyharbor.va.gov, March 28, 2018

Nancy MeehanNancy Meehan
1931-2016
Dancer / Choreographer
Review
Obituary

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Nancy Meehan was “a highly original choreographer and dancer whose evocative, plotless works on nature themes found a special place amid opposing trends in experimental dance. … A tall, striking dancer who combined sensuous grace with nuanced force, Ms. Meehan came to notice as a leading soloist in the Hawkins troupe, from 1961 to 1970. … Ms. Meehan founded the Nancy Meehan Dance Company in 1970 and introduced her style with ‘Hudson River Seasons’ in a dazzling premiere.”
–Anna Kisselgoff, New York Times, Nov. 30, 2016

Hal Miller
1933-2017
Actor

Wikipedia
Westbeth.org
YouTube

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“[Hal] Miller received his Actors’ Equity Association card in 1966 while working with Joseph Papp in Henry V and his Screen Actors Guild card in 1971 after being hired by Columbia Pictures. He appeared in the Lizzie Borden film Born in Flames … In 1968 he was invited to perform experimental, integrated theater for one season at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. From 1972 until 1974, Miller played Gordon on Sesame Street. Miller made the decision to leave Sesame Street for mainstream acting. [In his later career, he went on to performing and singing in Europe and Asia.]”

–Wikipedia.org

Hilda Morley
1916-1998
Poet
Poetry Foundation
Poets.org

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“Hilda Morley, an American poet who gained wider recognition late in life, decades after she first published her imagist free verse, died on Monday. … She was 81 and had moved to London last year to continue work on a biography of her late husband, the avant-garde composer Stefan Wolpe. … Ms. Morley published five books of poetry in which she articulated emotions and feelings in free verse, but a type of verse as measured as dance or music. She was a ‘master of that ability,’ Robert Creeley, a fellow poet, said.”

-Wolfgang Saxon, New York Times, March 27, 1998

Alice S. Morris
Writer/Literary Editor
1903-1993

GoodReads
Voetica.com

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“From 1951 to 1968, Mrs. Morris was the literary editor of Harper’s Bazaar. Herself a writer and critic of modern fiction, she helped to introduce many fresh American authors to the reading public. … PEN International awarded her a Sue Kaufman Lifetime Achievement Award in 1977 for the editorial assistance she had given to new and emerging writers. … She was the editor of ‘The Uncommon Reader’ (Avon Books, 1965), a selection of 35 outstanding short stories she had steered toward publication in Harper’s Bazaar. She also wrote a book of poems, ‘Crane on the Hackmatack.’ At her death she was working on a series of humorous poems.”

-New York Times, Sept. 30, 1993

“Mr. Moses was a co-founder of the Free Southern Theater, a pioneering black touring company. In 1976 he and George Faison directed, staged and choreographed the Leonard Bernstein-Alan Jay Lerner musical ‘1600 Pennsylvania Avenue’ on Broadway … The director’s emergence coincided with the proliferation of other black theater artists, beginning in 1969 with [Amiri] Baraka, then known as LeRoi Jones, and his play ‘Slave Ship’ at the Chelsea Theater Center. Mr. Moses won an Obie Award for his striking production. After directing plays at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and the Arena Stage in Washington, he moved to Broadway in 1971 as the director of [Melvin] Van Peebles’s earthy inner-city musical, ‘Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death.’ … He went on to direct [Ed] Bullins’s ‘Taking of Miss Janie,’ at the Henry Street Settlement and then at Lincoln Center.”

-Mel Gussow, New York Times, April 18, 1995
-Photo: If You Don’t Know, Now You Know (Facebook page)

Joe Muranyi
1928-2012
Clarinetist

Tribute to Joe Muranyi
AllMusic.net
YouTube performances

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“Mr. Muranyi … was among a handful of jazz musicians who began their careers in the 1950s but looked to an earlier era for inspiration. Although he once studied with the forward-thinking pianist and composer Lennie Tristano, he spent most of his career with Dixieland bands, and he was widely regarded as one of the premier clarinetists in that genre.”

-Peter Keepnews, New York Times, April 28, 2012

NantandyNantandy
1927-2016
Mixed Media
Obituary
Westbeth website

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“Nantandy was a painter, sculptor, muralist, gallery owner and educator … and was one of the first artists to create sculptured three-dimensional canvases in the 1960s.”
–The Villager, Feb. 25, 2016
Photo: Mills Tandy Photography

Madeleine Yayodele Nelson was the founder and guiding light of Women of the Calabash, a company of percussionist/singers that celebrated the music of Africa and the African diaspora. The company performed in concerts and festivals in the U.S. and overseas. Nelson played a variety of percussion instruments, specializing in the shekere, a dried gourd covered with beads, which she handcrafted, played and taught. As a solo artist, Nelson recorded with Paul Simon, Edie Brickell, and Billy Harper. She was also involved with a number of groups in addition to her own, notably mbiraNYC, Kalunga, and Alakande!

In 2014, Nelson talked about having played for four presidents, including “Thomas Sankara, who invited Women of the Calabash to Burkina Faso in 1985. … We did shows, shows were done for us, they took us around to three different cities, and the president invited us for lunch. And I gave him a shekere. When we were invited to Africa, I wrote the song ‘Coming Home’ because we were coming home. I wrote it on a steel pan, which was not familiar to a lot of people there. So when we played it, people would come and gather to look in at it. For me, performance is a constant learning experience and something that makes me so happy and makes other people happy. … I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

–Profiles in Art, Westbeth.org
Photo: Karim J. Nelson

Minoru Niizuma
1930-1998
Sculptor

Medium – Art Blog
Wikipedia
Artnet

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“Mr. Niizuma was born in Tokyo and … moved to New York in 1959 and had his first solo show in New York City at the Howard Wise Gallery in 1966. … He worked predominantly in stone, especially marble, and was known for his sensitive use of its textures and veins. His designs ranged from the geometric to the organic and sometimes used patterns reminiscent of folk art, fabrics and ritual vessels. … His work is in public collections in the United States, Europe and Japan, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the National Museum of Modern Art in Japan.”

-New York Times, Sept. 29, 1998

“Mr. Oppenheimer was author of a number of volumes of poetry. … He also wrote two nonfiction books, ‘Marilyn Lives,’ about Marilyn Monroe, and ‘The Wrong Season,’ about the 1972 New York Mets. … He was the first director of the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s-in-the-Bowery Episcopal Church in Manhattan from 1966 to 1972, where he introduced many poets who read from their own works. From 1969 to 1984, he was a columnist for The Village Voice.”

– New York Times, Oct. 13, 1988

Jess Osuna
1928-2011
Actor

Wikipedia

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“Osuna had a successful film, television and stage career, including the films A New Leaf, Three Days of the Condor, All the President’s Men, Taps and Kramer Vs. Kramer, and the television shows Columbo, Kojak, NYPD and Hawk. … First a student, then an instructor and performer at HB Studios in Greenwich Village, New York City. He studied with both Herbert Berghoff and Uta Hagen and eventually taught his own classes. For the last 7 years or so of his life he studied with Austin Pendleton, at HB, and performed with the HB Ensemble.”
–Wikipedia

Laurie Ourlicht
1953-2010
Printmaker

Brandywine Workshop Archives
Dieudonne Residency
Mutual Art

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“Ourlicht’s recent work consists of large scale monoprints featuring images of wrestlers and bodybuilders. ‘These figures suggest power struggles and bravura. I’ve always been interested in working with the human body.’ Bodybuilders is a dramatic monoprint in which Ourlicht demonstrates her ability to apply color in an expressionistic manner while maintaining concise and distinctive figurative forms. … Through her art, she is interested in expressing a quality of beauty that extends beyond the narrow limits that dominate contemporary society.”

Samella Lewis, African American Art and Artists, 2003

Irene Peslikis
1943-2002
Feminist Artist

Wikipedia
Duke Univ. Archives
Veteran Feminists of America

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“She was a feminist artist who was one of the principal founders and organizers of the entire women’s art movement (especially on east coast). She organized the first show of 2nd Wave women artists … was a founder of the first feminist art school, the Feminist Art Institute … She was one of founders of the New York Studio School for Drawing, Painting and Sculpture … With another feminist artist, Pat Manairdi, Irene founded the journal Women & Art, which helped to make the great portraitist Alice Neel famous. … Irene was a founding member of Redstockings, the leading Feminist women’s theoretical and consciousness-raising group in New York City.”

–Rosalyn Baxandall, veteranfeministsofamerica.org

-Portrait by Alice Neel (detail)

John Peters
1927-2019
Poet

Chelsea News
John Peters reads Marijuana poem

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Asked by musician Andrew Schulman about what he had done for a living, John responded, “A lot of things. I was a longshoreman, worked in construction, the hotel business. I’ve lived in Westbeth, one of New York’s oldest artist communities, for years. I got in there because I’m a poet, always have been, even when I worked those day jobs. … My poetry came out of an early love—a passion for storytelling, both in the giving and receiving. It brings me joy. ‘Joy’ is my favorite word.”

–From Waking the Spirit: A Musician’s Journey Healing Body, Mind, and Soul by Andrew Schulman, 2016
Photo: From Elijah White film on John Peters

Donald Pierce
1916-1999
Painter/Sculptor

Worth Point
Building Provincetown
Invaluable

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“Throughout his long career as an artist, Donald Pierce has recognized that juxtaposing familiar things in unfamiliar ways is both the method of assemblage and the essence of humor. Pierce displays a singular gift for transforming castoff found objects into wry totemic artifacts of modern life. … His work is represented in such distinguished public collections as the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio, Rutgers University, the Slater Memorial Museum, the San Diego Museum of Fine Arts, and others.”

-Dome Gallery, New York City, press release, “Works for Walls,” March 5 – April 2, 1991

“A memorial reading in honor of poet and fisherman Allen Planz, a regular on the East End and Manhattan poetry scenes for more than 50 years and former poetry editor of The Nation, will be held at the Hampton Library in Bridgehampton … Fourteen books of Mr. Planz’s poetry and hundreds of his articles have been published. He was the recipient of numerous awards and endowments, including an award from the North Sea Poet Society in 2005 and a 1976 Pushcart Prize.”

-Southampton Press, May 18, 2010
-Photo: Ryan D. Curtis

“Elizabeth Pollet was the daughter of Joseph Pollet, a prominent Greenwich Village painter. She was a statuesque woman with high cheekbones, and was one of the great beauties of the 1950s intellectual scene. Pollet met the poet Delmore Schwartz not long after she graduated from the University of Chicago in the early 1940s. Their tumultuous relationship lasted 15 years, ending in 1957. Pollet was the author of the best-selling novel A Family Romance.”

—Dylan Foley, The Last Bohemians, June 23, 2012

“Ned Polsky … is best known and will no doubt be remembered by sociologists for his ventures into the field of deviance. The five essays that make up his book Hustlers, Beats and Others, recently republished in an updated edition by Lyons Press, are both sociological and literary masterpieces indicative of the author’s ambitions and perspectives. … He loved books, of which he was an avid collector, had a passion for literature and the arts, had tried his hand at writing a serious novel, played pool well enough to have participated in several tournaments. … During his career, he was in and out of publishing, was the editor of several prestigious magazines, became professor at SUNY-Stony Brook and, after retiring, opened and ultimately sold an antiquarian book business specializing in biographies.”

-Kurt Lang, Footnotes, November 2000, asanet.org

Michael Ponce de León
1922-2006
Painter, Printmaker

American Art – Smithsonian Museum
Brooklyn Museum
Mutual Art
Annex Galleries

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“Although born in Miami, Florida, Michael Ponce de León grew up in Mexico City, where he received his education. While he studied architecture at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, he also became interested in drawing. He began to publish cartoons in popular magazines like The New Yorker after serving in the U.S. Air Force during the 1940s. After World War II, his cartoon series titled Impulses was syndicated in the United States and Europe. … In the 1950s and 1960s he was the recipient of several grants, including a Guggenheim and two Fulbrights. … In 1964 he was commissioned by the U.S. Post Office to design a stamp celebrating the fine arts, and between 1965 and 1982 he was sent by the State Department to a number of countries in cultural exchange programs. He has exhibited in London, Paris, and Venice as well as in New York and Washington, D.C. His works, especially his collages and intaglios, are represented in permanent collections all over the world.”
-Matt S. Meier and Margot Gutiérrez, The Mexican American Experience: An Encyclopedia, 2003.
Image: Self Portrait, 1965

Jean Promutico
Painter
1936-2018

Jean Promutico | Westbeth
Carter Burden Gallery
Blouin Art Info

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“Jean Promutico makes paintings that are highly abstract but based on observations of nature. The surface of each work is vital to the presence of the piece, in the building of layers and exquisite mark making that push these paintings into a meditational and reflective realm.”

–Mark Mckinney, Blouin Art Info

Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar
1922-2004
Colombian Painter/Sculptor

Arts of the Americas
Artsy.net
Maldonado Art Collection

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“In 1967, after settling once again in New York, Ramírez Villamizar dedicated himself to his sculpture in the round. His Column (American Bank, 1967) was the first monumental work he made in the United States. The sculptures of this period had great dynamic and rhythmic sense, with planes and forms that seemed to move through space. Some had a floating aspect, which was obtained by the virtual elimination of their support. In 1969, he represented Colombia at the 10th Biennial de São Paulo, where he was awarded the second international prize. During the early years of the 1970s, he produced numerous monumental sculptures in the United States, among them De Colombia a John Kennedy (Kennedy Center, Washington D.C., 1973), a gift from the Colombian Government to the American nation.”
-Juan Carlos Maldonado Art Collection, jcmac.art

“Mr. Reagon was 16 in 1959 when he emerged as a leader of the civil rights movement in Albany, Ga. … In 1962 he became a founder of the Freedom Singers, usually a quartet of two men and two women who sang gospel-style freedom songs to rouse support for the civil rights movement. … In the late 1960’s and early 70’s, Mr. Reagon became active in the movements against the Vietnam War, nuclear weapons and environmental destruction. … In 1988 he moved to Berkeley, where he founded the environmental group Urban Habitat and Urban Justice Organization.”

-Lawrence Van Gelder, New York Times, Nov. 19, 1996
– Charlotta Janssen painting of Cordell Reagon for her series on Freedom Fighters.

Edith Issac-RoseEdith Isaac Rose
1929-2018
Painter
North Fork Women for Women Fund

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“Taking as her professional name her parents’ first names, Edith was a prolific artist working first as an abstract expressionist then turning in the 1980s to figurative, political work consisting of drawings, paintings, and embroideries which she called ‘Daily Rage.’ She had been represented by the Phyllis Kind Gallery and her work is in the Hirshhorn Museum as well as numerous private collections. Edith, along with her partner of 35 years, Bea Kreloff (1925-2016), founded Art Workshop International in 1981 where they held art and writing workshops in Assisi, Italy, Monhegan Island, Maine, and Puerto Escondido, Mexico.”
–North Fork Women for Women Fund

Herman RoseHerman Rose
1909-2007
Painter
Obituary
Obituary
Website
Gallery

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“At a time when big-scale abstraction was ascendant, Mr. Rose painted small, airy, light-filled views of skies and rooftops in an Impressionistic manner. He painstakingly constructed his pictures from countless little blurry squares and dabs of paint, producing an enhanced tension between the concrete substance of the paint on the canvas and the spacious and luminous illusion of reality the work projected.”
–Ken Johnson, New York Times, Dec. 28, 2007

Leatrice Rose
1924-2014
Painter

Ask Art
Painting
Metropolitan Museum
Guild Hall

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From a review in the New York Times, April 14, 1989: “On East 57th Street, at the Cyrus Gallery, are the thoughtful, vibrantly colored canvases of Leatrice Rose, an artist who like Ms. Bourgeois has exhibited in New York City for more than 30 years. Ms. Rose specializes in the well-crafted still-life arrangement, but her landscape passages, which echo the flat, verdant density of Matisse in the 30’s, are also impressive.”

-Roberta Smith
Photo: painting by Leatrice Rose

In a review of Harry Roskolenko’s memoir When I Was Last on Cherry Street, Allen Churchill wrote: “Harry Roskolenko jumped from the ghetto of New York’s Cherry Street to literary respectability in the time-honored pattern of the radical of the nineteen-twenties and thirties. The one step he skipped was fighting in the Spanish Civil War, and he missed this only because he was newly in love with a Greenwich Village girl. For the rest, he touched every base of the ball park. After a fight with a stern father, he ran away from home at 13, became an adolescent seaman on a tanker, read voraciously in a library unexpectedly found aboard. After trips to Europe, he returned to New York to attend night school. …”
—New York Times, May 23, 1965
Portrait by Clifton Ernest Pugh

In a 1979 review of The Collected Poems of Muriel Rukeyser, Thomas Lask wrote, “Even those who have followed Muriel Rukeyser’s career from those early volumes ‘Theory of Flight’ and ‘U.S. 1’ must be surprised at the bulk of the work, the sustained career. We have taken her a little too much for granted, perhaps because she has appeared in so many public forums in other guises: on the side of the underdog, the unjustly condemned, the defenseless, those whom life outmaneuvered. We have forgotten that we have in our midst a considerable poet, one who has remained as loyal to her craft as to her social vision, a woman for whom the writing of the poem is the verbal equivalent of the political gesture. … Poetry was never an artifice to Muriel Rukeyser. … The woman and the poet were one. She was always committed. What that commitment meant to her is the substance of her richly rewarding book.”

–Thomas Lask, New York Times, Aug. 22, 1979
Photo: Rollie McKenna

Peter Ruta-2Peter Ruta
1918–2016
Painter
Website
911 Memorial

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“ ‘I think of my life as a life in the sunlight, with many bright colors, and yellow lightbulbs indoors at night.’ … He roamed the world, painting landscapes in Italy, Mexico, New Mexico, New England, France and Spain. He painted New York City from the 9lst floor of the North Tower, World Trade Center, as a guest of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in 2000 and 2001.”
–peterruta.com

Lawrence Sacharow
1937-2006
Theatre Director

Fordham College Theater Department
Lortel Archives
CUNY TV interview

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“Sacharow, known to peers, colleagues and students alike as a humane and daring director, tangled with some of the most challenging works of modern theater, including plays by Edward Albee, Samuel Beckett, Anton Chekhov and Sam Shepard. … For his direction in 1994 of Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, ‘Three Tall Women,’ Sacharow received the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Direction and was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle award. In 2003, Sacharow directed the highly celebrated off-Broadway production of ‘Beckett/Albee,’ an evening of one-act plays starring Marian Seldes and Brian Murray.”
-Fordham News, Aug. 15, 2006
-Photo: Fordham News

“A child of immigrant parents, Lucia Autorino was born in New York City at the end of World War I. She studied at the National Academy of Design as well as the Art Students League, and in 1940 was awarded a scholarship to study with Hilla Rebay at the Museum of Non-Objective Art—the original name of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Autorino’s conservative style was transformed under the influence of the European-born Rebay, who introduced a generation of Americans, including Guggenheim, to the latest trends in abstraction. … Autorino worked for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and taught at the Art Students League and New York University. … She is the author of three books on painting.”

-NYPL, Prints With/Out Pressure: American Relief Prints from the 1940s through the 1960s

“A composer and Conceptual photographer, Cosmos primarily photographed the intersecting worlds of music, art, theater, and film in 1970s New York. While some of his images of art installations appeared in Avalanche magazine, and his shots of celebrities appeared in New York magazine, the vast majority of his thousands of images were never published. Cosmos stored them in boxes in his studio at Westbeth Artists Community, where he lived for forty-one years.”
-Annette Leddy, Oct. 13, 2016, The Primary Source/The Blog, Archives of American Art
Photo: Archives of American Art

Fred F. Scherer
1915-2013
Artist/Diorama Painter

Website
NPR Weekend Edition

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“When Scherer was 19, luck intervened: a family friend heard that the American Museum of Natural History was looking for a young apprentice artist. He applied with a painting and clay model of a polar bear and got the job. In 1934 Scherer was trained under George Peterson to learn how to make accessories such as plants, rocks and trees for the Museum’s dioramas. During this time he also worked in the anthropology department restoring archeological objects of endlessly diverse materials such as wood, stone, metal, tapestry, bone and ceramics. Scherer went on to work for the museum for 38 years, painting backgrounds for over fifteen dioramas that are still on display in The Chapman Memorial Bird Hall, The African Hall and The North American Hall. ”

-Biography, fredfscherer.com
Photo: Deirdre Scherer, fredfscherer.com

Tobias SchneebaumTobias Schneebaum
1922-2005
Writer
Obituary
Wikipedia
Review

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“Mr. Schneebaum came to prominence in 1969 with the publication of his memoir, also titled ‘Keep the River on Your Right’ (Grove Press). The book, which became a cult classic, described how a mild-mannered gay New York artist wound up living, and ardently loving, for several months among the Arakmbut, an indigenous cannibalistic people in the rainforest of Peru.”
–Margalit Fox, New York Times, Sept. 25, 2005

Arlene ShermanArlene Sherman
1947–2008
Producer
Obituary
SFGate

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“Sherman received two Primetime Emmy award nominations in the category Outstanding Children’s Program, for her work on Don’t Eat the Pictures: Sesame Street at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Sesame Street Jam: A Musical Celebration. …
“She has also been nominated for ten Daytime Emmy awards in the categories Outstanding Children’s Series, and Outstanding Pre-school Children’s Series, for her work on Sesame Street. She was nominated from 1991 to 2003, and won all ten awards.”
–Wikipedia

Tom Shooter
1941-2004
Painter

Sculptural portrait
Biography

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“Tom Shooter had a one-person exhibit in the Westbeth Gallery, October 4 to November 2, 2003. It was a very strong exhibit. He presented large oil paintings that in most instances dealt with the still ongoing AIDS crisis. The work was very compelling by showing the reality of an AIDS patient’s physical condition to the viewer. Most viewers were emotionally moved by the work, and for some it brought tears.”

—Jack Dowling, Westbeth artist and curator, Aug. 31, 2019

Harry Shunk
1924-2006
Photographer
NY Times article
Collection
Archive

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“Harry Shunk had photographs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and he worked with some of the great artists of the late 20th century. … Harry Shunk, born Schunke, was a mysterious figure in the art world who invented a biography for himself and spent much of his last years refusing contact with the outside world.”
–John Leland, New York Times, Aug. 11, 2012
–Photo: Detail, Getty Images, Shunk Kander Collection

Mordecai Siegal
Writer
1934- 2010
Tribute
Amazon Books

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“As we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Goodnewsforpets.com, we pay tribute to the legendary Mordecai Siegal, a longtime goodnewsforpets.com columnist who passed away on April 1, 2010. … A pet writer of over 35 books, he was also president emeritus of the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) and a founding member of the Cat Writers’ Association. He was born in Philadelphia but spent most of his adult life as a New Yorker.”

-Goodnewsforpets.com, Feb. 19, 2020
Photo: Shel Secunda

Barry “Butch” Sigel
1943-2018
Visual Artist

Artsy Shark
Website
Book sculpture
NY Art World Review

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“Much of what Sigel does is accompanied by mistakes and accidents, in the sense that everything is there by accident–boats, lighthouses, crucifixions–and that his process of forming images and pictures parallels the accidental nature of the world we experience every day. Everything in the world is useful to us, or at least we have learned to fit everything into our concept of a useful world. But what is it when it is not being useful, when it is in the mode of having no particular meaning in our lives–that is, most of the time. Then we are immersed, at least visually, in a universe of shapes and colors and how they relate to one another, a universe from which the language of art issues. This language, as Sigel understands, is no more fixed than the world–our ordinary, unkempt, flea market world–from which it comes. It depends on accident, and it is this that his screenprints, particularly, insist upon.”

-Donald Goddard, “SigelReeceWay: An Exhibition by Barry ‘Butch’ Sigel, Jesse Reece, Jeff Way,” Art Review, New York Art World, 2004
-Barry Sigel self-portrait

Pedro Pablo Silva
1935-2013
Artist/Sculptor

Mosaic Art Source
Tiles In New York Blog
Rehabilitation of Famous Dragon
AskArt.com

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“Renowned internationally for his massive community art installations, Pedro [Pablo Silva] galvanized over 3,000 people from all walks of life to participate in creating the beautiful mosaic benches surrounding Grant’s Tomb. He designed similarly ambitious projects in Nashville, Chicago, and Scotland.”

-Legacy.com, June 23, 2013
Photo: gcanews.com

Gilbert Sorrentino
1929-2006
Writer

Poetry Foundation
The Guardian
WNYC Archives interview

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“There is no other American writer whose oeuvre remotely resembles that of Gilbert Sorrentino, and it is tempting to say that no other living American can match his artistic achievement. It is the diversity of his artistry that separates him from his peers. As a poet, he has written works of a uniquely American flavor in the lyric vein of William Carlos Williams and Robert Creeley; he has also written dazzlingly baroque verse that reveals the influence of the French symbolists and Guillaume Apollinaire. His novels comprise his most important contribution to literature, and once again, it is the sheer diversity that is arresting. Sorrentino has written dark, fatalistic novels like The Sky Changes; hilarious satires like Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things; impassioned aesthetic manifestoes like Splendide-Hotel; and towering metafictions like Mulligan Stew.”

-David Andrews, The Review of Contemporary Fiction Fall, 2001
-Photo: Wikipedia

Anita SteckelAnita Steckel
1930-2012
Painter
Obituary
Brooklyn Museum
Jewish Women’s Archive

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” ‘Anita Steckel was a visionary artist whose work addressed issues of gender, pleasure and sexual politics well before the founding of the women’s art movement’ [Richard Meyer].”
–Paul Vitello, New York Times, March 25, 2012

Joe Stefanelli
1921-2017
Abstract Expressionist

Information
Artnet
Video interview

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“Joe Stefanelli … is a true painter, a lifelong painter and a painter whose work is built to last. This is made clear in his every least move with the loaded brush. It is clear from what he puts in, and it is also clear from what he leaves out. His paintings come, moreover, from the very center of himself, rather than from those peripheral areas in which a craving for success is the prime motivation.”
–John Russell, New York Times, Jan. 26, 1986
Photo: From American Abstract Expressionist: Joe Stefanelli by Thomas Herskovic, 1991

“Rosalyn Stern of New York has been a favorite in the past two Pratt Graphic Center International Miniature Print exhibits shown locally at Troup Gallery. An experimenter with Lucite plates and combining zinc and collagraph plates, her abstractions with deep rich tones have been in many travelling national and international shows including cultural exchange shows sponsored by our State Department in Caracas, Venezuela, and Warsaw, Poland. National exhibitions include the Boston Printmakers, National Academy of Design, Philadelphia Print Club and the Oklahoma National Print and Drawing Exhibition.”

-Dallas Times Herald review, April 27, 1969

“Ms. Sultan was a matter-of-fact proponent of the avant-garde. Her calling cards included Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which she performed with all the repeats in downtown New York and, later, in uptown concert halls . . . But Ms. Sultan was open to all kinds of music. She met [John] Cage in 1945; his ‘Études Australes’ from the mid-1970’s, based on notes derived from star charts, were written for her. Other contemporary composers whose works she performed included Earle Brown, Stefan Wolpe, Alan Hovhaness, Ben Weber and Christian Wolff, one of her students. She said in a 1996 interview: ‘Music is music. That’s all.’ ”

–Anne Midgette, New York Times, July 3, 2005
Photo: Marilyn Schwartz

Anne TabachnickAnne Tabachnick
1927-1995
Figurative Artist
Obituary
Work
Hyperallergic
Memoriam

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“Like many artists of her generation, including Larry Rivers, Nell Blaine and her close friend, Robert De Niro Sr., Ms. Tabachnick was familiar with the gestural techniques of Abstract Expressionism, but, looking to Matisse, preferred to used them in portraits, landscapes and figure paintings.

“Her first New York show was in 1951 at the Circle in the Square Gallery. … Ms. Tabachnick is represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the University Art Museum, Berkeley.”
–New York Times, June 23, 1995

“The artist Tania, who adopted the mononym in 1958 after working under a number of married names through the 1940s and early ’50s, created art in a wide range of mediums (painting, sculpture, works on paper, and collage), but is perhaps most well known for her wall murals. In particular, she is recognized for a highly visible monumental wall painting from 1970 that stretches 13 stories along the side of a Greenwich Village high rise. Not only exemplary of Tania’s typical abstract style, the work also represents her interest in public art.”

-artspace.com
Photo: Wikipedia

Irv Teibel
1938-2010
Field Recorder/
Founder, Syntonic Research, Inc

Obituary
Irv Teibel archive
Pitchfork feature story

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“Irv Teibel was an audio polymath, ambient and new age music pioneer and the founder of Syntonic Research, Inc., the record label responsible for the influential ‘Environments’ series (1969-1979). These records were the first publicly available psychoacoustic recordings and helped ignite a flurry of interest in environmental sound. … Over the years, the ‘Environments’ recordings found major national, international, and, as Irv claimed, interstellar audiences (‘Environments 6’ might have been included in the ‘Sounds of Earth’ collage compiled by Carl Sagan and his team and placed aboard Voyager Spacecraft’s ‘Golden Record’).”
–Irv Teibel archive, home and bio
Photo: Teibel archive

Walasse Ting
1929-2010
Painter
Sotheby’s New York’s Vibrant Eastern Sun
Artnet

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“Born in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, Ting was raised in Shanghai. It is said that he began painting on the sidewalks at 4 years old and started creative painting on outdoor walls at 10. He briefly attended the Shanghai Art Academy, but always considered himself to be a self-taught artist. In 1952, he emigrated to Paris, where he formed close friendships with various members of the CoBrA expressionist group (a European avant-garde movement) that drew inspiration from children’s paintings and primitive art. In 1958, Ting moved to New York where abstract expressionism and pop art were at their peak. There he met Sam Francis and Andy Warhol, and they became close friends. Despite these close relationships, he never considered himself to be a part of any artistic movement or group. As an artist, he prided himself on his aloofness in walking down his own path and staying true to his inner naivety, and he was described as ‘having a pure heart concealed in a wild vessel.’ ”
–Wang Jie, SHINE, Oct. 21, 2018

Mollie Tureske
1909-2002
Painter/
Printmaker/
Sculptor

Atelier 17 bio
David Hall Fine Art

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“[Tureske] began working at Atelier 17 in 1946 and exhibited with the group at the Laurel Gallery in 1949 with an engraving and soft ground etching titled Floating. Unfortunately, this print and others by Tureske have not been located. In addition to Atelier 17, she studied with Hans Hofmann, spending several summers during the 1950s at his school in Provincetown. By the mid-1950s, Tureske concentrated primarily on making whimsical wire sculpture, reminiscent of Alexander Calder’s wire creations. These large sculptures were both stand-alone pieces, but also found a place in the store windows of upscale clothing stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Gunther Jaeckel, Forstmann Woolens, and also in theatrical contexts as stage settings.”

-Christina Weyl, The Women of Atelier 17, Biographical Supplement

Dolly Unithan
d. 2018
Mixed Media Artist

Website
Metropolitan Museum
Artist gallery

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“I am a Malaysian-born artist. My art expresses a universal spirit encompassing my sense of ancestral memory and ethnic identity in which the essence, form and textures of the past shape my interpretations of the present and sense of the future. In building bridges spanning the past, present and future, local knowledge is transcended to exemplify a world communality.”
–Excerpt from the artist’s statement, artist gallery.net

Milda Vizbar
1933-2019
Artist/designer

MDA artwork collection
Original artwork
Amazon

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“Vizbar [was] an award-winning professional artist and designer. She graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in Communication Design and taught art for 16 years. Vizbar also illustrated children’s books and has published two books of humorous drawings. Her works are in public and private collections in Canada, the United States, Lithuania, England and Scotland.”

–Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA)
Photo: @Maile Studios

Freddie WaitsFreddie Waits
1940-1989
Musician
Obituary
Website

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Freddie Waits was “the house drummer for Motown Records, performing with the Temptations, Martha and the Vandellas and Stevie Wonder, among others.

“When he moved to New York, he worked with Little Willie John at Small’s Paradise in Harlem. Later he was an original member of the New York Jazz Sextet and a member of M’Boom, the percussion choir. …

“Mr. Waits performed with numerous artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, Donald Byrd, Sonny Rollins, Freddie Hubbard, Johnny Hodges, Richard Davis, Jackie McLean and Reggie Workman.”
–New York Times, Nov. 22, 1989

“The Brooklyn-born Walotsky graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1966. His first job was with Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine. He later painted posters of such rock stars as Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison and created album jackets for RCA and other record companies. … His fine-art paintings and book cover art, which frequently featured space aliens and surreal landscapes, have been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the U.S. Embassy in Paris.”

-Los Angeles Times, Aug. 3, 2002
Photo: Charles N. Brown

ARNOLD WECHSLERArnold Wechsler
1930-2017
Painter
Obituary
Website
Web Page

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His abstract paintings were “inspired by popular cultures, often reflected in forms that balance organic and geometric forms with native pictographs.”
-Westbeth Artist Page

Philipp Weichberger
1936-1985
Painter

Arizona Daily Sun article
Artnet
Artist page

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“The artist, who was born in Bremen, Germany, in 1936, was a self-taught painter who began his painting career in 1950. He lived and worked in Paris from 1955 to 1959, then Brussels, finally settling in Manhattan in 1965. … At a young age, Weichberger established an international reputation and had more than 50 one-man shows in Europe and the United States, participated in the Biennales of Tokyo and Paris, and the ‘Salon Comparaisons’ at the Musee d’Art Moderne in Paris.”
–Betsey Bruner, Arizona Daily Sun, Sept. 25, 2011

Iain Whitecross
1936-2019
Painter/Electronic Artist

New Works Interview
Art auction

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Iain Whitecross was born in the U.K. He started out in economics but came to the U.S. and got involved with Experiments in Art and Technology. He did a number of pieces in that field. “The Electronic Garden” was shown in OK Harris Gallery and the Hyde Collection in Upstate New York in 1992. Another large installation titled “The Seasons and Other Cycles of Life” was shown at “Images du Futur” during the 1998 ISEA biennial in Montreal.

In 2001 Whitecross returned to painting with “Reef Dreams” and with a close focus on the unfamiliar or the unexpected in the natural world. His many exhibitions included shows at the Atea Ring Gallery in Upstate New York, as well as the Graham Gallery in New York City, the Brooklyn Museum, Portland Museum, and Galerie du Damier in Paris. He was the recipient of fellowships from several art colonies, including MacDowell, the Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Millay Colony.

-Elena Borstein, July 2020

“Mr. Williams manages to inject the smallest gestures with an understated but powerful poignancy. One of the finest American dancers of his era, he has carved a niche for himself as that rare performer who can dazzle technically without for a moment losing sight of the dance’s dramatic resonance.”
–Jennifer Dunning, New York Times, Dec. 11, 1984

“In 2004, when Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Dudley Williams was preparing to retire after four decades in dance, an interviewer asked about the unique longevity that characterized his remarkable career. He simply replied, ‘Good Lord. I love it. I absolutely love it. I think God gave me a talent, and if I don’t use it, shame on me. That’s the way I look at it. I love dancing. I love performing, and I can still do it. Why not? Why not?’ “
–Zita Allen, New York Amsterdam News, June 11, 2015

“Paintings by nine lesser known WPA workers who went on to establish credible careers as fine artists are currently on view [at Phantom Gallery in Los Angeles, 1986] in an excellent exhibition that stands as a bittersweet reminder of an American Dream that comes to seem increasingly remote. Portraying the working class as possessing boundless dignity and resilience, these pictures are infused with a spirit of hope that’s sadly moving in that it seems a bit quaint today. … The majority of these artists were either born or lived in New York, and their work is rooted in a distinctly urban sensibility; we see, for instance, construction workers relaxing on the girders of a high rise in Joseph Wolins’ ‘Lunch Hour.’ Painting in a muted, lyrical style evocative of Charles Sheeler, Wolins specialized in exterior scenes: industrial ports with tugboats and towers spewing steam, a chicken market, a view of an overground subway bridge on the Bowery.”

—Kristine McKenna, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 28, 1986

photo: Joseph Wolins at Westbeth, taken by his son, John Wolins 1983

Mel Wong
1938-2003
Dancer/
Choreographer

San Francisco Gate
New York Times
UC Santa Cruz

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“Mr. Wong brought everything to his art and believed art could bring an expansive sense of meaning in return. His dances incorporated water, stones, petrified wood, language, spirituality and his own skill with yo-yos, honed to championship levels as a Chinese American boy growing up in Oakland.
“A member of the fabled Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 1968 to 1972, he also was an avid painter, sculptor and ceramicist throughout his life. ‘He used dancers as if they were colors on a canvas,’ said his wife and fellow dancer, Connie Kreemer. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche, but his work really was all about the oneness of the universe.’ ”
–Steven Winn, SF Gate, July 23, 2003
Photo courtesy of Connie Kreemer

Stefan Wolpe
1902-1972
Composer

Website
Milken Archive
NY Times obituary

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“Born at the turn of the 20th century, Stefan Wolpe belonged to a generation of composers in the German cultural orbit who believed that modern art was a means of transforming both the individual and society. Wolpe was imbued with the idea that avant-garde art can serve the man on the street and the audience in the concert hall, and he dedicated himself to forming an entente between new music and the ordinary listener. He sought to incorporate elements of the vernacular and traditional musics of his successive homelands in an inclusive language. … In 1951 he affirmed in his diary: ‘The world has to get conscious of my way of making music … a thoroughly organized but proud, erect, hymnic, profoundly contained, human evocation.’ ”

—Austin Clarkson, Milken Archive of Jewish Music

Athos Zacharias
1927-2019
Painter

Website
Late Works brochure
Obituary

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“Over the course of his career, during which he exhibited in New York City, throughout the United States, and on the East End, his work drew on elements of Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, which emerged in the mid to late-1960s. In many of his recent paintings, cartoon figures and Ben-Day dots of the latter movement were overlaid with swirling slashes of paint. … ‘I was between generations,’ he said. ‘I loved Pop art, so I wanted to find a way to swoosh it together with Abstract Expressionism. I was really interested in what Warhol was doing. Some of the abstract artists verbally assaulted me when Pop elements started to appear in my work.’ ”

-The East Hampton Star, Aug. 22, 2019

Jean Zaleski
Painter
1920-2010

Website
Archive

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“At first glance Jean Zaleski’s paintings appear to chronicle the places that she has visited, the sites that have attracted her, and the immediacy and vigor of her response to these experiences. But as a critic who has followed her work for more than two decades, I have learned the true subject of Zaleski’s art is far deeper and more complex than it seems initially. Her richly hued paintings represent the many faceted artist: her childhood roots in Malta, and the self as realized through the places she continues to inhabit. Paradoxically, though Zaleski has spent much of her life in New York City, her paintings represent Nature—living forms, both plant and animal, and other structures that have become her world.”
—Joan Marter; Jean Zaleski, A Retrospective: Four Decades of Painting, Catalog, 2000
photo: Virginia Center for the Creative Arts

Richard A. Zarro
1946-2003
Writer/Artist

Timeline of Life
Bio and Poem
Books on Amazon

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“The modern artist often has to be part scientist, part mystical optimist, part teacher-poet. Richard Zarro is such an artist, combining technical, physical evolutionary trends with the visionary fantasies of the ancient prophets, all reconciled in a dynamic that pushes man deep into himself and farther and farther toward that ‘otherness’ of the great saints and oriental philosophers.”

-Ree Dragonette, from an art show flyer quoted in Timeline (link above to website created by Roberta Culver, 2004)

Sandor Zugor
1923-2002
Painter/Printmaker

Art World Database
Hungarian National Gallery

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The Westbeth Graphics Studio, which opened in 1970, “began in response to the needs of the first printmakers who moved into Westbeth. Working with the then Board of Directors, printmaker Sandor Zugor found space in the I Building. Under his energetic and long-term leadership, two Charles Brand presses—an etching press and lithography press—were donated to the studio. The tall lockers—still in use—came from a passenger ship company.”

—Catalog, “Printmakers from the Westbeth Graphics Studio,” October 1-16, 2011
Photo: Tom Haar