The year 2020 seemed like it would be somehow special. Instead, it has been about death, a new virus that has sent many of us to stay home, an economic meltdown, and millions of job losses. Every once in a while, the news is just too much, especially with some of the political situations that make totally no sense. This is why we love books and movies and art. It gets us out of our head.
But what has been hard right now is the recent deaths of three artists, although the virus apparently has not had an impact on them.
Ray Tomasso, the extraordinary cast-paper artist living in Colorado, created stunning hybrids of painting and sculpture. He died in late June. He left a beautiful body of work, and has been immensely helpful with his mentoring skills and working with artists who also focused on paper. As well, his interest in letterpress work was a natural.
Earlier, the incredibly prolific and wise Christo passed away in late May. He was in Colorado a lot, along with his wife, Jeanne-Claude, also an artist. First, was Valley Curtain, in the early 1970s in Colorado, and then they spent years working on another project in Colorado, titled Over the River. Eventually, the anti-art contingent in the southern part of Colorado kept throwing lawsuits at them and blocking their progress. She passed away in late 2009. The anti-art crowd was just too much, unfortunately: He gave up the project. My hope to work on the installation was a true let-down – not just for me, but for so many other people who loved their work.
The third artist – actually, a designer and graphics bright light – I never knew, but we know his work made him a star. Milton Glaser died on his 91st birthday in late June, and his obituaries and remembrances have been plentiful. Some have included his writings (my favorite: “12 Steps to Hell” about designers who are not being honest about their work).
Below are links about Glaser, who was one of the co-founders of New York magazine in the 1960s. His thoughtful and smart works are sprinkled throughout these pieces, especially in the piece in Dezeen. Also, there are links to obituaries for Tomasso and Christo in Westword; they were written by art historian and critic Michael Paglia, who knew both of them well. Obituaries are the final honors for those whose work we admire. Thank you for that.