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RIPs in the art world, 2011

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Photo gallery of twelve of the departed from The New York Observer.

George Tooker. Artist. (b. 1920). “Everyone can say, ‘Yes, I’ve been in that faceless situation,’ even if it’s just standing in line waiting to apply for a driver’s license," Thomas H. Garver, author of the monograph "George Tooker" told The New York Times, referring to Mr. Tooker's paintings.

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Leonora Carrington lived a long and adventurous life:

Proper Englishwomen, of course, did not become artists, did not run off to France with married men, were not abandoned in France by said married men, and did not end up as distraught refugees in Spain. She must have been nuts. Or, so her proper English family decided, having her committed to a Spanish mental hospital.

http://mexfiles.net/...he-english-way/

Peter Schjeldahl pares the list down:

Cy Twombly, Leo Steinberg, John Chamberlain, Lucian Freud, and Helen Frankenthaler died. They won’t be replaced.

http://www.newyorker...-happening.html

As Schjeldahl and the art world reassess what the loss of Willem de Kooning - in the midst of the postmodernist boom twenty or so years ago - really signified. Edwin Denby sat for some of the men portraits and de Kooning did this curtain drop for Marie Marchowsky's 1946 dance Labyrinth:

http://www.moma.org/...ng/archives/256

Seated Man:

http://www.moma.org/...ng/archives/270

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Thanks for the links, Quiggin.

Cy Twombly, Leo Steinberg, John Chamberlain, Lucian Freud, and Helen Frankenthaler died. They won’t be replaced.

Nor indeed will any of the others. They lived in a special era for art.

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As Schjeldahl and the art world reassess what the loss of Willem de Kooning - in the midst of the postmodernist boom twenty or so years ago - really signified. Edwin Denby sat for some of the men portraits and de Kooning did this curtain drop for Marie Marchowsky's 1946 dance Labyrinth:

Thanks so much for the links. I don't really look at his work very often, and then I'm surprised all over again by how much I like it.

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Sometimes, the "RIP" has to stand not only for individuals, but the kind of cultural institutions they created. I'm thinking of two New Yorkers -- Olga Bloom and Anthony Amato -- who brought musical performances closer to the people. Bargemusisc and Amato Opera Company were local, scrappy ... and cheap. We need more of that that nowadays. But, as the NY Times puts it, the economic model of serious, shoe-string classical operations, working in their own performance spaces, may no longer be sustainable in NYC.

With the Loss of 2 Leaders, the End of an Era

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One of them found a tiny old theater on a grungy stretch of the Bowery. The other mortgaged her home to buy a 19th-century coffee barge and haul it to the Fulton Ferry Landing in Brooklyn.

Everything in New York comes down to real estate, to finding places where things can happen. In the last few weeks the city and its cultural landscape have lost the people who created two of the unlikeliest, loveliest places for us to see and hear music performed.

That coffee barge, bought for $10,000 in 1976 by Olga Bloom, who died on Nov. 24 at 92, became the floating chamber-music hall Bargemusic. And the 107-seat theater on the Bowery, a few doors down from the punk-rock club C.B.G.B., was, starting in 1964, the home of the Amato Opera, which its founder, Anthony Amato, who died on Tuesday at 91, liked to call the smallest grand opera company in the world.

Two scrappy institutions; two idiosyncratic, unforgettable spaces. The passing of their longtime leaders is a moment to think about the arts and where they live.

I made it to Bargemusic only a couple of times, for new music not often performed elsewhere. Amato Opera was one of my favorite places for several decades. The singing was heart-felt and impassioned; on the best nights it was a good deal more than that. Audiences were enthusiastic, sometimes singing along -- not afraid to respond to the action with gasps or groans or belly laughs.. The feel of Amato Opera made me think of what it might have been like to live in a small Itallian town, one far from the beaten track, when a touring company was in town for a few nights. I guess I always thought of it as something permanent, eternal ... (or so it seemed).

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