Tuesday, February 11, 2014

On Facebook, i often post on deaths of artists, writers, actors, directors, dancers, especially if i knew them. It's getting to the point where so many people that i've met over the years have died, and it's always sad. Another factor in terms of Facebook is that many friends post links to obits, often as soon as the news of someone's death is announced, and that's one way of finding out about these passings.

That's how i learned of the death of Nancy Holt. Mira Schor posted a link to an obituary that was published on the Artforum website. She was a brilliant and articulate exponent of Earth Art; of course, her early work was overshadowed by her status as the widow of Robert Smithson, but she developed her own distinctive vision. In many cases, i only knew her work from photographs, because those works were installed at remote locations. However, on occasion she did work in film and video, initially in collaboration with her husband. But my memories of Nancy had to do with the period when i had moved from Morningside Heights to Soho (which happened in 1980); there were friends that i had, and we'd meet up at art openings and talk about art, and Nancy was one of those people. We already knew Nancy because, when we working for Eva Wisbar's VRI (a film and video distribution company that often worked in conjunction with Castelli-Sonnabend Films), we were involved in the distribution of the films and videos that Nancy and/or Robert Smithson had made. But Nancy was one of those people i'd hang out with; i hadn't seen her in a while (i think the last time might have been during the Robert Smithson retrospective at The Whitney Museum of almost a decade ago), but i remember those days.

Today, woke up to two passings of note. The first was from Denmark: Gabriel Axel, award-winning producer-director of "Babette's Feast" (which i watched again last week), died at the age of 95. And this morning, news of the death of Shirley Temple Black, the most famous child star in history. Remember watching her movies on TV when i was a child; until the mid-1960s, her films were ubiquitous. She died at the age of 85. Of course, she was the first to receive the juvenile Academy Award (an honor which would be given to such others as Deanna Durbin, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien, Peggy Ann Garner, Claude Jarman Jr., and Ivan Jandl; the last would be Hayley Mills, after that, the award was discontinued).

Well: two more people to be ignored by Turner Classic Movies during 31 Days of Oscar!


Blogger Rose Kelleher said...

At least you blogged about it. That's how you show appreciation for someone's contribution, you talk about it and remind people.

Another small way, which may seem tedious and thankless, but which (I think) is more effective than it looks, is to write Wikipedia articles about people. I notice there's no article about Jerry Joffen.

8:24 AM


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