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Profile: German zookeeper-turned-artist paints in oil on aluminum

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Written by lifePR service   
Tuesday, 24 March 2015 16:41
German artist Frank Krüger preparing his 'canvas.' Image submitted. CALA RATJADA, Mallorca (lifePR) – The German artist Frank Krüger, who has been living in Mallorca since the ’90s and runs two galleries there, has recently begun painting in oil on 3mm aluminum. The artist’s fame continues to grow inexorably: his famous bull paintings, the different impressions of his chosen home Mallorca, or those from one of his many trips to New York are hanging on the walls of art enthusiasts around the world.

The paintings captivate the viewer's eye mainly through intense and glowing colors and their powerful expression.

"I would compare my art form to surreal photo realism,” says Krüger.

Recently, he has been working with aluminum as a basis for his works. The aluminum comes from Valencia and is manufactured especially for him. "I then process it myself, grind and weld it," Krüger explained.

Through further special handling, the finished works can also be displayed outdoors – in a garden, lounge, pool area or terrace. Thus, many of his works are available in oil on canvas, gold leaf, silver leaf, copper and aluminum. Of course, many of his art prints are available in both Majorcan galleries in Caja Ratjada and Palma.

Many prominent clients have let themselves be portrayed in oil by the artist. The list of stars from the stage, film and sport is long and spans from George Clooney and Tom Hanks on to Claudia Pechstein and Rudi Völler all the way to Sean Connery and Michael Douglas.

The picture of the athlete Claudia Pechstein was auctioned for more than 10,000 euro.

A piece of the Berlin wall has also been painted on by Krüger, and a work of his can be viewed in Berlin's natural history museum.

The modern and inviting concept of his gallery that is spread across 500 square meters and two stories in Costa d'en Brossa, right in the heart of Palma's old town, has been very successful for the past year.

"In order to keep the gallery in Palma exciting, we also display other artists. At the moment, Christian Sommer can be seen and soon there will be a vernissage with Nobert Jäger," says the native-born Berliner, who lives with his wife, the designer Laura Hahne, and daughter in Mallorca.

"I love the city of New York, which I visit at least once a year. This passion is reflected in many of my works, and it would be one of my biggest dreams to one day open a gallery there too," says Krüger.

Krüger, born in 1962 in Berlin, already created extraordinary works with oil on canvas in his early childhood. As the son of a photographer and a technical illustrator, a sense for detail, perspective and color harmony was something that he was aware of from an early age.

His wish to study art was shattered shortly before his school leaving examination because of bad appraisal from his art teacher. He left secondary school "on the spur of the moment" and completed a three-year apprenticeship as an animal caretaker in the Berlin zoo.

After that, years of artistic self-discovery followed until he finally decided to move to Mallorca and focus solely on art, following successful exhibitions in Berlin and Mallorca. Since 2007, the artist has been working and selling his works in the Galeria Frank Krüger on the boardwalk of the harbor of Cala Ratjada, Paseo Colom 13, Mallorca and also in the new Galeria Frank Krüger since March 2014, Costa d'en Brossa 3, 07001 Palma de Mallorca, Tel. 0034/971425861. Visit his website at .

German artist Frank Krüger preparing his 'canvas.' Image submitted.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 March 2015 08:09

In Memoriam: Swiss artist Hans Erni

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Written by Associated Press   
Monday, 23 March 2015 09:26
Swiss painter, designer, and sculptor Hans Erni in 2010. Image by Barbara Hess. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Germany license.

BERLIN (AP) – Swiss artist Hans Erni, whose prolific work ranged from tiny postage stamps to enormous frescoes, has died, his daughter said Sunday. He was 106.

Erni's daughter, artist Simone Fornara-Erni, announced on her Facebook page that he "passed away peacefully" on Saturday.

Erni produced hundreds of paintings, sculptures, lithographs, engravings, etchings and ceramics. He kept up a punishing work schedule deep into old age, completing a series of paintings for the International Olympic Committee in his 80s and painting a fresco at a church in Saint-Paul-de-Vence in southern France, where he had a vacation home.

Born Feb. 21, 1909, in Lucerne, Erni studied art in Paris and Berlin. He was strongly influenced in his early days by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, but his abstract era ended with his first public success, a huge mural titled Switzerland, Vacation Land of the People commissioned for the 1939 national exhibition in Zurich.

Many other official commissions followed though Erni's communist sympathies then got him into trouble, and he later said that for 20 years he was "boycotted, defamed, spied on and banned from cultural life as a national traitor." Swiss bank notes he designed in the 1940s weren't printed because he was deemed a Marxist.

However, the crushing of Hungary's 1956 uprising against communist rule was an ideological turning point for him.

"Tanks destroyed my vision of life," he declared at the time.

Erni created more than 90 stamp designs for Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the United Nations.

"I am convinced that it is possible to express something even on the smallest space — supposing that you have something to say," he once wrote. He also designed theater costumes and sets, as well as ceramics.

Erni's first wife, artist Gertrud Bohnert, died in a horse-riding accident. Their daughter, Simone, is herself a prominent artist. With his second wife, Doris, he had a son and two daughters, one of whom died of leukemia.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Swiss painter, designer, and sculptor Hans Erni in 2010. Image by Barbara Hess. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Germany license.
Last Updated on Monday, 23 March 2015 09:31

Former Ambassador Michelle Gavin named Africa Center director

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Written by Museum PR   
Thursday, 19 March 2015 12:12

Ambassador Michelle D. Gavin. U.S. Department of State image

NEW YORK – The Africa Center today announced that former U.S. Ambassador Michelle Gavin has been appointed as managing director, an executive role responsible for the Africa Center's development, strategic expansion and everyday operations. The Africa Center, once known as the Museum for African Art, aims to provide a gateway for American engagement with the African continent, headquartered in New York City.

Gavin will oversee the development of infrastructure and programming in support of a mission that spans culture, business and policy. Gavin's team will develop and curate a wide range of artistic exhibitions and events, foster a transformational and international enterprise network and develop a policy center that will serve as a new Africa-focused think tank. Altogether, the Africa Center aims to transform the international understanding of Africa, with its youngest population, and to promote direct engagement between African artists, business leaders and civil society and their counterparts from the United States and beyond.

Gavin will also oversee the closeout of the capital fundraising campaign and the completion of the Africa Center's permanent home at 1280 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan, at the intersection of 110th Street. The purpose-built Robert A.M. Stern-designed complex is located less than 20 minutes from the United Nations at the beginning of “Museum Mile” on the northeast corner of Central Park.

Hadeel Ibrahim, co-chair of the Africa Center's board of trustees, said, “We are delighted to announce Michelle Gavin's appointment. After such a distinguished career in public service dedicated to US-Africa relations, we look forward to her leadership as we build a world-class public institution, the Africa Center, here in Harlem, New York City.”

Before joining the Africa Center, Gavin served as U.S. Ambassador to Botswana from June 2011 to March 2013.

Before being asked to be President Obama's personal representative to Botswana, Gavin served for two years as a special assistant to the president and the senior director for Africa at the National Security Council.

Gavin received an M.Phil. in international relations from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and earned a B.A. from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, where she was a Truman Scholar.

“I am captivated by the potential of The Africa Center to build new bridges between the United States and Africa. This institution will be good for Africa, good for America, and good for New York City, providing a real center of gravity for Africa-related activity,” said Gavin.

For more information, visit The Africa Center online at


Ambassador Michelle D. Gavin. U.S. Department of State image 

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 March 2015 12:23

William H. Windham III appointed VP of Automobile division at Morphy's

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Written by Auction House PR   
Wednesday, 18 March 2015 14:56
William H. 'Bill' Windham, VP Automobile division at Morphy Auctions. Image provided by Morphy’s. DENVER, Pa. – Dan Morphy, founder and president of Morphy Auctions, takes pleasure in announcing the appointment of William H. “Bill” Windham III, to the position of VP Automobile Division.

Windham is a solid professional with a 35-year track record in the automotive and racing fields. He comes to Morphy’s with an impressive background that includes top-management experience at hi-line auto dealerships and interaction with all major sanctioning bodies of racing.

Before joining Morphy’s, Windham was general operations manager for Billion Auto Group in Bozeman, Montana. From 2003 to 2005, he was a sales and racing team member at Brumos Porsche in Jacksonville, Fla., and for four years prior to that, was general manager and motorsports director at Vision Porsche Audi in Reading, Pa. He previously held management and partnership posts at other top automotive dealerships in Pennsylvania and, at one of them, served as NASCAR Busch program director. Early in his career, he worked in communications at both Penske Racing in Reading, Pa., and the Reading Stock Car Association.

Windham graduated with a Pre-Law degree from Montana State University. In the late 1980s and again in the mid 1990s, he put his education to work as a valued executive-support team member at law firms in Lancaster (Pa.) and Reading.

In his free time, Windham enjoys working on his own sports cars, going for country drives with fellow Porsche Club members, and taking part in activities organized by the many car clubs and racing associations to which he belongs. He is past president of Berks County Legal Administrators and is a board member with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“When I attended Dan Morphy’s first automobile sale last year, I was deeply impressed at how professionally he and his team conducted the auction, and I’ve gone to some of the finest car auctions in the world,” Windham said. “I could see the potential for tremendous growth, so I contacted Dan and told him I wanted to be a part of that growth. I’m very grateful that Dan gave me with the opportunity.”

Dan Morphy described Windham as “…uniquely experienced. Bill brings a lot to the table from his many years in management or partnership positions with luxury car dealerships, his connections in the racing industry and his friendships with other classic car collectors. We know that Bill will be a great asset to our team in the years to come.”

Morphy’s fast-growing Automobile Division conducts auctions at its flagship location in Denver (Lancaster County), Pa., as well as its satellite gallery in Las Vegas, Nevada, which serves a burgeoning West Coast clientele. Morphy Auctions will host an Automobile Auction featuring 40 highly select classic cars and motorcycles at the Las Vegas location on April 25th. An Automobile Auction is also planned for May 16 at the Pennsylvania gallery. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers for both events.

For additional information on either sale, or to speak with Bill Windham about consigning to a future Morphy automobile event, call 717-335-3435 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Visit Morphy’s online at .

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William H. 'Bill' Windham, VP Automobile division at Morphy Auctions. Image provided by Morphy’s.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 March 2015 15:09

Frank Stella among honorees at July 16 Anderson Ranch fete

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Written by Outside Media Source   
Tuesday, 17 March 2015 09:07
Photo courtesy of the artist, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York; and Dominique Lévy, New York and London. Credit: Erik Hesmerg, Amsterdam.

ASPEN, Colo. – Anderson Ranch Arts Center, a premier destination in America for art making and critical dialogue, celebrates creativity and service to the arts by recognizing the accomplishments and contributions of key figures in the art world. This summer, Anderson Ranch will honor Frank Stella with the National Artist Award and Jennifer and David Stockman with the Service to the Arts Award at its 19th Annual Recognition Dinner. The gala evening will take place July 16, 2015, at 6:00pm at the historic Hotel Jerome in Aspen.

“We are thrilled to honor Frank Stella, an enduring artist and icon who is actively influencing the art world today,” said Nancy Wilhelms, Executive Director of Anderson Ranch Arts Center. “His career and contributions span over an incredible 50 years, and his work is as alive now as it has ever been. Our enthusiasm for Frank is only matched by our admiration for world-class collectors, Jennifer and David Stockman, whose sphere of influence in the art world and stalwart support for the advancement of art is truly remarkable.”

Hosted at the height of Aspen’s summer season, the Recognition Dinner brings together art world luminaries and supporters to enjoy a festive evening of celebration and fundraising, including cocktails, dinner, dancing and a live auction. Specially selected contemporary artworks will be featured in the live auction, including a Liza Lou sculpture contributed by White Cube Gallery and more.

Tables and tickets are currently available at or by calling Anderson Ranch at 970/923.3181 x227. Proceeds from the evening benefit Anderson Ranch educational programs.

About the Awards:

The National Artist Award is given to nationally and internationally recognized artists who have supported artists, created innovations in art making, and whose careers have set an example and a direction for other artists. Past recipients include Theaster Gates, Bill Voila, Cindy Sherman, Vik Muniz, Laurie Anderson, Christo and Jeanne-Claude and more.

The Service to the Arts Award is given to locally and nationally recognized arts advocates whose efforts have supported artists and arts institutions and who have made contributions to the cultural and social life of our country, representing the highest level of leadership, integrity and vision. Prior recipients include Debra and Dennis Scholl, Jane and Marc Nathanson, Soledad and Robert Hurst and Melva Bucksbaum and Raymond Learsy, among others.

Frank Stella:

Frank Stella was born in Malden, Mass. in 1936. He studied Painting at Princeton University, graduating with a degree in History. Upon exhibiting his Black Paintings in the seminal Sixteen Americans at The Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1959, Stella’s first solo exhibition took place at Leo Castelli Gallery, New York in 1960. Since then, the artist’s serial practice – comprising the Aluminum Paintings, Concentric Squares, Irregular Polygons, Polish Villages, Cones and Pillars and Moby Dick, among many others – has been presented globally at institutions and galleries alike. The youngest artist ever to have a retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1970), Stella was the subject of a second survey there in 1987. More recently, major surveys of his work have taken place at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2007) and Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany (2012). He was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama in 2010. In the fall of 2015, a retrospective of Stella’s work will inaugurate the new downtown location of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and travel to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and the de Young Museum, San Francisco in 2016. Frank Stella lives and works in New York.

Jennifer Blei Stockman:

Jennifer Blei Stockman has spent the past 25 years in the non-profit world. Prior to that, she was a business executive and entrepreneur. Since 2005, she has been President of the Guggenheim Museums in New York, Bilbao, Venice and soon-to-be Abu Dhabi. She was a founding member of the Museum's Photography Committee and has chaired the annual gala for a decade. Stockman has been a passionate collector of contemporary art since 1990 and has served on committees at MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Aspen Art Museum and created the Bruce Museum Council in Greenwich, Conn. For 10 years, Stockman chaired the Republican Majority for Choice (RMC), which defends women's rights, and is now its Chair Emeritus. She is a former board member of the WISH List (Women in the Senate and House), SUNY Purchase Performing Arts Center, Greenwich Country Day School, Conyers Farm Association and the YWCA, where she founded the Leadership Council and received the Heart of Greenwich award. Stockman began her business career at IBM as a systems engineer and in marketing while getting her MBA in Finance at George Washington University. After rising through management ranks at IBM, she left to become vice president of Sears World Trade. She spun her division off to form Stockman & Associates Inc. (SAI), where she served as CEO until it was sold to US West. SAI was an international business advisory firm specializing in technology with offices in five countries. Stockman has two daughters, of whom she is exceedingly proud.

David Stockman:

David Stockman has spent over 40 years in the political and business worlds. He began his career in Washington and quickly rose through the ranks of the Republican Party to become the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan. Stockman’s career in politics began in 1970, when he served as a special assistant to U.S. Representative John Anderson of Illinois. From 1972 to 1975, he was executive director of the U.S. House of Representatives Republican Conference. Stockman was elected for three terms as a Michigan Congressman in 1976 and was then asked to join President Reagan's cabinet as Director of OMB, serving until August 1985. He was the youngest cabinet member in the 20th century. After resigning from his position as Director of the OMB, Stockman wrote a best-selling book, The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a long career on Wall Street. He first joined Solomon Bros and later became one of the original partners at private equity firm, The Blackstone Group. In 1999, Stockman founded his own private equity fund based in Greenwich, Conn. Stockman’s latest book, The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America, is a New York Times bestseller. His current non-partisan blog, has attracted over 50,000 followers and reveals contrarian truths about the economy and foreign policy. Stockman was born in Ft. Hood, Texas. He received his B.A. from Michigan State University and pursued graduate studies at Harvard Divinity School. He and his wife, Jennifer, have two incredible daughters, Victoria Stockman and Rachel Stockman Koven, about whom he loves to opine.

About Anderson Ranch Arts Center:

Founded in 1966, Anderson Ranch Arts Center is a premier destination in America for art making, bringing together aspiring and internationally renowned artists to discuss and further their work in a stimulating environment. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains of Aspen/Snowmass, Colo., the Ranch hosts extensive workshops for everyday, emerging and established artists in seven disciplines, as well as high profile events throughout the year: the Recognition Dinner and Annual Art Auction, Featured Artists Series, Artists-in-Residence Program, Symposium Series, ongoing exhibitions, lectures and more. In 2016 Anderson Ranch will celebrate its 50th anniversary, furthering its mission to provide transformative experiences that celebrate artists, art making, creative dialogue and community. Learn more at or 970-923-3181.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 March 2015 09:19

Sotheby’s names Tad Smith president and CEO

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Written by Auction House PR   
Monday, 16 March 2015 12:35
Tad Smith. Image courtesy of Sotheby's NEW YORK – Sotheby’s (NYSE: BID) today announced that Tad Smith has been named president and chief executive officer, effective March 31. Smith will also join the Sotheby’s board of directors. He succeeds William F. Ruprecht who has served as CEO since 2000.

Smith, 49, has been president and chief executive officer of the Madison Square Garden Co. since February 2014. In this role, he oversaw the overall strategy and day-to-day operations of MSG Sports, MSG Media and MSG Entertainment.

Sotheby’s also announced it will separate the roles of chairman and chief executive officer and that the Board has elected Lead Independent Director Domenico De Sole to succeed Ruprecht as chairman of the board.

“Tad Smith’s appointment is the result of a thorough search process to identify an extraordinary leader to build on Sotheby’s strengths,” said De Sole. “The board is unanimous in its view that Tad is the ideal CEO for the company. He is a proven leader and value creator with CEO experience, strategic vision, brand-building expertise, an ability to understand and serve client needs, and a track record of driving revenue and profit growth. He also has a passion for art and collectibles. We welcome him to Sotheby’s.”

Smith said, “With its strong relationships in the art world, trusted brand, and exceptional team, Sotheby's has a very bright future. I am thrilled to join the company and look forward to tapping my experiences from related industries to help develop and implement its growth strategy, accelerate adoption of new technologies, allocate capital effectively, and drive the creation of sustainable shareholder value in the coming years.”

Smith most recently served as president and CEO of the Madison Square Garden Co. He was previously president, Local Media at Cablevision Systems Corp., where he was responsible for Cablevision Media Sales, News 12 Networks and Newsday Media Group.

Smith received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University, where he has taught the popular course Strategy and Finance for Entertainment, Media and Technology Companies to more than 800 students over the past 15 years.

Tad Smith. Image courtesy of Sotheby's
Last Updated on Monday, 16 March 2015 12:44

In Memoriam: Postmodern architect Michael Graves

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Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 13 March 2015 16:42
Michael Graves designed the Humana Building, 1982, in Louisville, Ky. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

PRINCETON, New Jersey (AP) – Michael Graves, who designed modern and whimsical postmodern structures and later household goods sold at retail stores has died. He was 80 years old.

Spokeswoman Michelle DiLello says Graves died of natural causes Thursday in Princeton, New Jersey.

Graves was born in Indianapolis. He designed buildings including The Portland Building in Portland, Oregon, and The Humana Building, in Louisville, Kentucky. He also did a campus master plan for Rice University in Houston and designed the scaffolding that surrounded the Washington Monument during a restoration project.

Graves has had branded lines of housewares including teapots and colanders for sale at Target and JCPenney stores since 1999.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-03-12-15 2024GMT

Michael Graves designed the Humana Building, 1982, in Louisville, Ky. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2015 16:51

In Memoriam: German architect Frei Otto

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Written by AFP wire service   
Wednesday, 11 March 2015 09:39
The roof tensile structures by Frei Otto of the Olympiapark, Munich. Image by Dave Morris from Edinburgh, U.K. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. WASHINGTON (AFP) – German architect Frei Otto was named as winner of the prestigious Pritzker Prize on Tuesday, a day after his death at the age of 89, organizers of architecture's top honor said.

Otto, renowned for designs which incorporated lightweight tent-like structures, had been informed he had won the accolade shortly before his death, a statement said.

"Frei Otto's career is a model for generations of architects and his influence will continue to be felt," said Tom Pritzker, who chairs the foundation which bestows the honor.

"The news of his passing is very sad, unprecedented in the history of the prize. We are grateful that the jury awarded him the prize while he was alive."

Otto, who designed the distinct tented roof above Munich's Olympic Stadium, which hosted the 1972 Summer Games and the 1974 World Cup final, had been due to receive the award in Miami at a ceremony in May.

In comments by the architect made before his death, Otto said he had "never done anything to gain this prize."

"My architectural drive was to design new types of buildings to help poor people, especially following natural disasters and catastrophes," he said.

"So what shall be better for me than to win this prize? I will use whatever time is left to me to keep doing what I have been doing."

Pritzker organizers described Otto as a "distinguished teacher and author" who pioneered the use of modern lightweight structures for many uses.

"He believed in making efficient, responsible use of materials and that architecture should make a minimal impact on the environment," a statement said.

Otto was "a Utopian who never stopped believing that architecture can make a better world for all."

Peter Palumbo, the chairman of the Pritzker prize jury, described Otto as a "titan of modern architecture."

"His loss will be felt wherever the art of architecture is practiced the world over, for he was a universal citizen," Palumbo said in a statement.

"Frei stands for Freedom, as free and as liberating as a bird in flight, swooping and soaring in elegant and joyful arcs," he added: "unrestrained by the dogma of the past, and as compelling in its economy of line and in the improbability of its engineering as it is possible to imagine, giving the marriage of form and function the invisibility of the air we breathe, and the beauty we see in nature."

Born in 1925, Otto grew up in Berlin, where he later studied architecture.

He flew in the Luftwaffe during World War II, and spent time in a prisoner of war camp in France after his plane was shot down.

He resumed his studies after the war and spent time in the United States, where he visited studios of iconic mid-century designers such as Richard Neutra, Charles and Ray Eames and Frank Lloyd Wright.

As well as the roofing for the 1972 Olympics stadium in Munich, a backdrop which became synonymous with the murder of Israeli athletes by Palestinian militants during the games, Otto also helped design the Japan Pavilion at Expo 2000 in Hannover, Germany, alongside another future Pritzker winner, Japan's Shigeru Ban, who won the award in 2014.

The roof tensile structures by Frei Otto of the Olympiapark, Munich. Image by Dave Morris from Edinburgh, U.K. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 March 2015 10:02

Daniel Weiss named president of Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Written by Museum PR   
Wednesday, 11 March 2015 08:57
Attached is a headshot to go with the article about the news president at the Met. It's in People. NEW YORK – The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced Tuesday that Daniel H. Weiss, an innovative executive and accomplished art historian serving currently as president of Haverford College, will be the next president of the museum.

Weiss will succeed Emily Kernan Rafferty, who will retire from the Met on March 31 after 10 years in the post, and nearly 40 at the institution. Weiss’ appointment was announced by Daniel Brodsky, chairman of the board, and Thomas P. Campbell, director and CEO.

Weiss was chosen after an extensive national search. He will assume his new post at the Metropolitan this summer, following the end of the current semester at Haverford.

In his new role, Weiss will serve as chief operating officer of the museum, reporting to director and CEO Campbell and serving as an ex officio member of the board of trustees. As president, he will have direct leadership responsibility for all day-to-day operations of the institution, and will oversee 1,500 employees in all areas of museum administration: facilities and construction, development and membership, finance and investments, information technology, legal affairs, visitor services, human resources, marketing and external relations, merchandising (the Met shops) and government relations.

The museum currently has more than 2,200 full- and part-time employees overall, an operating budget of more than $300 million, and an endowment of approximately $3 billion. Last year, the museum attracted 6.2 million visitors to its main building and The Cloisters, and more than 40 million visits to its website.

Weiss, who was born in Newark, N.J., and raised on Long Island, earned his B.A. in psychology with a concentration in art history at George Washington University in 1979; his M.A. with concentrations in Medieval and Modern Art from Johns Hopkins University in 1982; his M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management in 1985; and in 1992 his Ph.D. from Hopkins, with concentrations in Western Medieval and Byzantine Art and a minor in Classical Greek Art and Architecture.

He began his career as museum shops manager at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, and later served as an associate, then a senior associate, at Booz, Allen & Hamilton in New York.

After earning his Ph.D., Weiss became an assistant professor of art history at Johns Hopkins’ Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, rising over a decade-long academic career there to associate professor (1996), full professor (1999), chair of the History of Art Department (1998-2001), and dean of the faculty (2001-2002). From 2002-2005 Weiss was James B. Knapp Dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, overseeing 2,700 undergraduates, 1,500 graduate students, and 300 faculty in 23 departments.

From 2005-2013 Weiss served as president and professor of art history at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.

In 2013 Weiss became president of Haverford.

During his academic career, Weiss has published widely, delivered many public lectures, organized and served on conferences and symposia, and earned a number of fellowships and grants.

Weiss, who plans on relocating to New York City, is married to Sandra Jarva Weiss, an attorney specializing in health-care law and a member of the firm Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus. They have two sons, Teddy, who is a high school senior at the Lawrenceville School, and Joel, a sophomore at Shipley.




Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 March 2015 09:10

In Memoriam: 'Simpsons' co-creator, philanthropist Sam Simon, 59

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Written by FRAZIER MOORE, AP Television Writer   
Tuesday, 10 March 2015 09:13
Sam Simon with Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA (People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals). Image courtesy of PETA

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Sam Simon, a co-creator of "The Simpsons" and animal-rights advocate who made a midlife career shift into philanthropy and channeled much of his personal fortune into social causes, has died.

Simon died Sunday at his home in Pacific Palisades, Calif., his agent, Andy Patman said. He was 59.

He was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer in 2011.

After stints writing for "Taxi," "Cheers" and "The Tracey Ullman Show," Simon helped launch "The Simpsons." During his writing and producing career, he collected nine prime-time Emmy awards.

He left "The Simpsons" after its fourth season under a deal that rewarded him with ongoing royalties from the show, which is now in its 26th season.

He then established the Sam Simon Foundation, which rescues dogs from animal shelters and trains them to assist the disabled. He also donated to Mercy for Animals and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, among other groups. In 2013, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' Norfolk, Va., headquarters were christened the Sam Simon Center in recognition of his support for that organization.

After being diagnosed with terminal cancer, Simon asked PETA’s president, Ingrid Newkirk, to visit him in the hospital and draw up a list, which she did, of ways in which he could help animals before he died. Simon’s list became a guide for his philanthropy in the final part of his life. He paid for transport and even purchased dozens of animals who had lived miserable lives in roadside zoos so PETA could send them to sanctuaries.

“I just wanted to have some days where I get to see animals walk in grass for the first time,” he said. “Through PETA, we rescue animals in roadside zoos and circuses. They are some of the most abused animals in the country.”

Despite being gravely ill, he also traveled to Newfoundland with PETA and Pamela Anderson with a check for $1 milion that he offered to pay the Canadian Sealers Association as a bonus if the organization would help facilitate an end to Canada's annual seal slaughter.

In addition to all the animals Simon saved during his lifetime, he left generous endowments in his will to ensure that his efforts for animals would continue after he was gone.

Newkirk commented: “The world could learn all about kindness from Sam’s example, just the things he said, and I hope everyone who hears about him will do something kind and generous in his honor, even give your dog an extra hour in the park or eat one meal that does not involve animal suffering.”

Simon also funded a Los Angeles food bank.

In an interview with The Associated Press in 2013, Simon voiced a desire to spend all of his money on charitable causes.

"I'm supporting the charities that I supported during my lifetime," he said, "and I want to continue to do that."

Simon had grown up in Beverly Hills across the street from Groucho Marx, though his father was in the garment industry, not show business.

After turning his drawing talent into a job at an animation studio that made cartoons for kids, Simon submitted a script, on spec, to the ABC comedy "Taxi." His script was bought and produced, and Simon, in his 20s, was hired as a staff writer and soon rose to be the showrunner.

From there he joined a new NBC sitcom called "Cheers," where he was staff writer for its defining first three seasons.

In 1987 he became a writer and executive producer on the Fox sketch-comedy series "The Tracey Ullman Show," where he was teamed alongside James L. Brooks, with whom he had worked on "Cheers" and "Taxi," and cartoonist Matt Groening.

This trio became the founding fathers of "The Simpsons."

On Monday, Groening saluted Simon's "phenomenal talents, sharp intelligence and sly sense of humor," while Brooks called him "truly one of the great ones. He found so much outside the work to give him pleasure and left so much behind for others."

"The Simpsons" began as interstitial cartoon clips aired during the otherwise live-action "Ullman" show until, in 1989, it was spun off as a Fox half-hour of its own. Simon was named creative supervisor, and he hired the first writing staff as well as creating several Springfield citizens, including Mr. Burns, the cadaverous industrialist, and Dr. Hibbert, the buffoonish physician.

The show - TV's first successful prime-time animated series since "The Flintstones" nearly three decades before - caught the public off-guard with its sassy but perceptive look at the culture and opened the door for a new television genre of animation geared toward adults.

"With 'The Simpsons,' people didn't know what they were gonna see," said Simon. "They didn't have a clue." The show was given time and free reign to flourish by the fledgling Fox network, which desperately needed a hit. "I don't think you get that sort of creative freedom with any broadcast shows today."

Simon left "The Simpsons" in 1994 owing to a strained relationship with Groening. Not only did he not play any subsequent role in the series, he claimed to never have watched it after stepping away, even as his name remained in the weekly credits along with Groening's and Brooks'.

It was a lucrative departure. Simon's exit deal entitled him to royalties from "The Simpsons" that, more than a quarter-century later, annually paid Simon tens of millions of dollars.

That annuity bankrolled the causes and alternative lifestyle (including amateur boxing and high-stakes poker) that increasingly he came to embrace.

"I'm not sad," Simon declared in 2013, as he battled an illness that his doctors were saying might claim him within months. "I'm happy. I don't feel angry and bitter. I want to do whatever I can to survive."

#   #   #

Auction Central News contributed to this report.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This information may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Sam Simon with Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA (People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals). Image courtesy of PETA
Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 March 2015 13:21

Red Guard propaganda to papal portrait: an artist profile

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Written by NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press   
Monday, 09 March 2015 10:08
Shen Jiawei with his portrait of Pope Francis. Image by Gcmarino. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. VATICAN CITY (AP) – Artist Shen Jiawei's paintings of Chinese soldiers during the Cultural Revolution were so popular with Mao's regime that 250,000 copies of his most famous work were made into propaganda posters and distributed throughout the country.

Four decades later, Shen now has a different patron commissioning his work: He has become, somewhat inexplicably, the unofficial portrait artist of the Vatican. He painted the first official portrait of Pope Francis and recently completed a huge rendition of the second most powerful man in Rome, Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican's money guy.

Shen's journey from favored propaganda artist of the People's Liberation Army to papal portraitist is an unusual tale of talent and timing. It's a journey that took Shen from China to Australia, where he charged tourists $30 a pop for portraits in Sydney's Darling Harbor, and most recently to a balcony in the Vatican gardens where he sketched Pell.

“For me, one door closed but another always opened,” Shen, 66, said of his career in a recent phone interview from his studio in Bundeena, south of Sydney.

Shen was in his final year in high school when Mao Zedong launched the Cultural Revolution, the 1966-1976 campaign to restore ideological purity to China's anti-capitalist revolution.

His hopes of attending art school dashed with the closure of China's universities, Shen joined the Red Guards and then the People's Liberation Army, fully embracing the communist spirit of the times. In the PLA, his self-taught artistic talents were recognized and he became one of the legions of propaganda artists who glorified workers, farmers and soldiers in the Socialist Realism style of Soviet propaganda.

In 1974, during a tour of duty in remote Heilongjiang Province, Shen painted his most famous work, Standing Guard for Our Great Motherland, featuring three soldiers guarding the Sino-Soviet border from a watchtower. The piece was included in a 1974 exhibition at the National Art Museum in Beijing that was organized by Mao's wife, who personally praised it.

Shen recalls, though, that when he eventually saw it hanging in the museum, he was stunned: The soldiers' faces had been altered to adhere to the regime's standards for revolutionary art: Their faces were fatter and redder to make them appear more healthy and heroic.

With the more robust soldiers in place, the picture was reproduced and turned into propaganda posters and Shen shot to fame; in the 1970s and ’80s, he was one of the best-known artists in China.

“Lots of our generation copied his paintings,” said fellow Chinese-born, Australian artist Guo Jian, 53, who also was a PLA propaganda artist but later joined the pro-democracy student protest movement that culminated with the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

“When we grew up in that time, there was nothing else” but propaganda art, Guo said. “He has a really great skill, and the way he painted, you can see he's slightly different from the others. I think that's what impacted us.”

Today, Shen is proud of his work – not because it was good propaganda, but because he managed to become an artist in China at a time when oil paints were otherwise nearly impossible to obtain. He says he didn't sell out to the idealized standards of propaganda art that most other Chinese artists copied. Instead, he says he relied on nature to guide his brush.

“This is why today if you look back at that time, in China, most artwork is different than mine,” he said. “I'm proud of that.”

He similarly doesn't see his new works of Pope Francis and his No. 2 as propaganda for the Catholic Church.

“I stopped my propaganda work in the 1970s,” he said, laughing. “Even church commission work, this is part of normal artwork, part of commission and part of history.”

Shen first caught the attention of Australian church officials with a 1994 portrait of Mary MacKillop, the 19th-century nun who ministered to the poor and in 2010 became Australia's first saint.

The portrait won Shen an important Australian art award named for the nun and enabled him to meet St. John Paul II during his 1995 visit to Australia when he beatified MacKillop.

Shen got the commission to paint Francis in August 2013, just a few months after Francis became pope. Francis didn't sit for the portrait, but the Vatican offered up official photos for Shen to use.

Shen painted Francis with outstretched arms, a white dove about to land on his shoulder. He is surrounded by people Shen painted from the photos of crowds at papal audiences, slipping in an image of his daughter for fun. There are several birds in the painting, homage to Francis' namesake, the nature-loving St. Francis of Assisi.

“When the pope approved this project and they sent me the photos, (they said) the pope wants a painting with people together,” Shen said.

The painting now hangs in a villa in the Vatican gardens that houses the Pontifical Academy for Sciences, which deals with Francis' pet projects on human trafficking, slavery and youth culture, among other issues.

The portrait of Pell, commissioned by a Catholic university, is a more classic portrait, featuring the Australian prelate looking out over St. Peter's from a tiled terrace.

Geoff Raby, Australia's former ambassador to China who has a print of Shen's Standing Guard in his collection of propaganda art, said Shen's portrait career is a natural progression from the propaganda art and historical paintings that he is most famous for.

“He's painting subjects that he has philosophical connection to and sympathy with,” Raby said in a phone interview. But he added: “He also has an eye to commercial reality.”


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AP-WF-03-08-15 1135GMT

Shen Jiawei with his portrait of Pope Francis. Image by Gcmarino. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Last Updated on Monday, 09 March 2015 10:19

Carnegie museum appoints Dan Leers photography curator

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Written by Museum PR   
Friday, 06 March 2015 17:32

Dan Leers. Carnegie Museum of Art image

PITTSBURGH – Carnegie Museum of Art announced Friday the appointment of Dan Leers to the position of curator of photography. Leers assumes the place recently left open by the retirement of Linda Benedict-Jones, the museum’s first curator of photography.

Most recently a New York–based independent curator, Leers worked on the 2013 Venice Biennale, during which he served as an adviser on contemporary African Art. Prior to this, he was the Beaumont & Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow in the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He received his undergraduate degree from Lawrence University in Wisconsin and his master’s degree in modern art: curatorial studies from Columbia University.

Leers will join CMOA on April 27. His responsibilities include shaping the Department of Photography’s collection through strategic acquisitions, organizing exhibitions, and serving as the museum’s internal agent for the next cycle of the innovative Hillman Photography Initiative, which launched in 2013, garnering international recognition for its groundbreaking structure and programming.

Lynn Zelevansky, director at CMOA said, “We are excited to welcome Dan to the museum and back to Pittsburgh. His global perspective, high-caliber institutional experience, and collaborative energy, make him an ideal fit for Carnegie Museum of Art as we look forward to a dynamic future in which photography plays a major role.”

“Pittsburgh is my hometown, and I’m thrilled to be landing at the museum that I grew up with,” said Leers. “CMOA has a strong collection and a real commitment to photography.”

He is especially focused on international contemporary photography, and was drawn by the museum’s history of engagement in that area.


Dan Leers. Carnegie Museum of Art image 

Last Updated on Friday, 06 March 2015 17:41

'Viva Las Vegas' – Elvis returning to home away from home

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Written by KIMBERLY PIERCEALL, Associated Press   
Monday, 02 March 2015 10:48
Elvis Presley Summer Festival hotel banner, Hilton, Las Vegas, 1975. Image courtesy of archive and Heritage Auctions. LAS VEGAS (AP) – Graceland will always be home, but Las Vegas is set to be Elvis Presley's home away from home yet again.

The King first played Vegas almost 59 years ago and spent months as a Sin City resident. Now, the Westgate Las Vegas hotel-casino will house a rotating display of Elvis memorabilia and artifacts rarely seen outside his famed Memphis, Tennessee, Graceland mansion.

Feel like getting married? Graceland Vegas will include an Elvis Presley-sanctioned wedding chapel.

Such chapels already dot the Las Vegas landscape and there's been no scarcity of Elvis exhibits and shows, including a short-lived tribute by Cirque du Soleil in 2012. But organizers say this is the real deal.

The very showroom where Presley performed several hundred sold-out shows when the hotel was first known as The International, and later as the Las Vegas Hilton, will be revamped to look much like it did when Elvis shook his hips – complete with semi-circular booths.

The exhibit – all 28,000 square feet – will be the largest Presley display outside Memphis.

Here's a look at some of the memorabilia and memories the exhibit will feature:



“We walk into everything with ‘what would Elvis want?’” said Joel Weinshanker, managing partner of the company that has owned a majority of Elvis Presley Enterprises since November 2013. “Absolutely positively, he would want to be back in Vegas.”

An actor singing Elvis songs – perhaps Hound Dog or Heartbreak Hotel – accompanied by backup singers and an orchestra, will perform in the same 1,600-seat showroom.

David Siegel, CEO of Westgate Resorts, said it was destiny that he bought the property in July 2014, decades after seeing Elvis perform there, accompanied by his ex-wife whose godfather happened to be Elvis' manager, Col. Tom Parker.

And when he bought it, he wanted to bring Elvis back.

As luck would have it, Weinshanker wanted the same thing and saw in Siegel someone willing to reinvest in the property where Elvis lived on the 30th floor for months of the year.

“It's really going to be the authentic Elvis experience,” he said.



Angie Marchese, Graceland's director of archives, said the exhibit will be the largest Elvis exhibit outside Graceland. The clothing will come straight from Elvis' closet in most cases. Blue Suede Shoes anyone?

Among the items expected to be displayed:

– A wooden sign larger than even Elvis. Parker paid for the 24-foot-tall image of Elvis to advertise the singer's first performances in Las Vegas in 1956 at the New Frontier, since demolished.

– The tablecloth contract. To ink the $1 million a year contract to perform at The International, Parker and the hotel's owner Kirk Kerkorian retreated to a nearby coffee shop, signing where there was no dotted line – on the tablecloth itself – complete with coffee cup stains.

– A two-piece black tunic and single-button black suit. For his first performances at The International, Elvis wore two demure outfits – the black tunic during the show and the black suit for the news conference afterward. Neither have felt the Las Vegas air since Elvis wore them July 31, 1969, she said.



“Those of us that lived it, Elvis never left the building,” said Dominic A. Parisi of the performer's lingering presence.

He won't say how old he is, but he was old enough to ready Elvis' rooms at the casino-hotel with meals (an early evening breakfast of well-done eggs, well-done toast, well-done bacon) and drinks, heavy on the bottled water, from 1972 to 1976 while Elvis performed there.

Now director of the hotel's room service and specialty restaurants, Parisi fondly recalled his encounters and talks with the King.

“He loved the hotel. He loved Vegas,” he said.

He loved chatting about everyday things – girls, cars and Las Vegas – Parisi said.

Parisi said he sometimes goes up to the 30th floor to Elvis' old suite, has a glass of wine and reminisces.

“Hopefully he's listening,” he said.


“Graceland Presents Elvis: The Exhibition - The Show - The Experience” is slated to open April 23, with the exhibit costing $22; performances start at $49.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-02-26-15 2226GMT

Elvis Presley Summer Festival hotel banner, Hilton, Las Vegas, 1975. Image courtesy of archive and Heritage Auctions.
Last Updated on Monday, 02 March 2015 11:14

Catherine Futter named to new leadership position at KC museum

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Written by Museum PR   
Friday, 27 February 2015 17:07
Catherine L. Futter. Photo by Mark McDonald, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – During opening week for two special exhibitions at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the museum has announced that Catherine L. Futter – responsible for both exhibitions – has been promoted to the Louis L. and Adelaide C. Ward Senior Curator of European Arts.

The new title reflects a greatly expanded role for Futter as she heads a newly created division overseeing three existing departments: Arts of the Ancient World, European Paintings and Sculpture, and Architecture, Design and Decorative Arts, which includes American Decorative Arts.

In addition to her new role as head of a large curatorial division, Futter is currently steering the museum’s wider discussion of a cultural district, a conversation that involves concepts for 10, 20 to 30 years from now in Kansas City’s Midtown/Plaza area. She is the curator for the original exhibition Jump In! Architecture Workshop and responsible for the Nelson-Atkins presentation of Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity. Also, she is co-curator of A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America, which opens March 28.

Futter is a graduate of Duke University, where she concentrated in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, with a focus on Italian Renaissance paintings. She earned her doctorate from Yale University and developed a specialization in American and European decorative arts from 1850 to the present. In 2002, she joined the Nelson-Atkins as Curator of Decorative Arts. She curated a major international loan traveling exhibition, Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at World’s Fairs, 1851-1939, that opened at the Nelson-Atkins in 2012.

She has been critical in bringing contemporary artists into the Nelson-Atkins programs with celebrated and innovative exhibitions such as Resting Places Living Things: Designs by Michael Cross; Forever, an installation by Clare Twomey; The Future of Yesterday: Photographs of Architectural Remains of World's Fairs by Ives Maes; and Presence & Absence: New Works by Tom Price.

In more recent years, her title expanded to include Architecture and Design, as her projects stretched to include stewardship of the museum’s cultural district initiative. Futter also is a member of the museum’s Strategic Leadership Group, and she was a Fellow in 2014 with the Center for Curatorial Leadership.


Catherine L. Futter. Photo by Mark McDonald, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Last Updated on Friday, 27 February 2015 17:27

In Memoriam: actor Leonard Nimoy, 83

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Written by LYNN ELBER, AP Television Writer   
Friday, 27 February 2015 13:51
Leonard Nimoy (Spock) at the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention 2011. Image by Beth Madison. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Leonard Nimoy, the actor known and loved by generations of Star Trek fans as the pointy-eared, purely logical science officer Mr. Spock, has died.

Nimoy died Friday of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at his Los Angeles home, with family at his side, said his son, Adam Nimoy. He was 83.

Although Nimoy followed his 1966-69 Star Trek run with a notable career as both an actor and director, in the public's mind he would always be Spock. His half-human, half-Vulcan character was the calm counterpoint to William Shatner's often-emotional Captain James Kirk on one of TV and film's most revered cult series.

"He affected the lives of many," Adam Nimoy said. "He was also a great guy and my best friend."

Asked if his father chafed at his fans' close identification of him with his character, Adam Nimoy said, "Not in the least. He loved Spock."

His death drew immediate reaction on Earth and in space.

"I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humor, his talent and his capacity to love," Shatner said.

"Live Long and Prosper, Mr. (hash)Spock!" tweeted Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, aboard the International Space Station.

Nimoy displayed ambivalence to the famous role in the titles of his two autobiographies: I Am Not Spock (1975) and I Am Spock (1995).

After Star Trek ended, the actor immediately joined the hit adventure series Mission Impossible as Paris, the mission team's master of disguises.

From 1976 to 1982, he hosted the syndicated TV series In Search of ... , which attempted to probe such mysteries as the legend of the Loch Ness Monster and the disappearance of aviator Amelia Earhart.

He played Israeli leader Golda Meir's husband opposite Ingrid Bergman in the TV drama A Woman Called Golda and Vincent van Gogh in Vincent, a one-man stage show on the life of the troubled painter. He continued to work well into his 70s, playing gazillionaire genius William Bell in the Fox series Fringe.

He also directed several films, including the hit comedy Three Men and a Baby and appeared in such plays as A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tim Roof, Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, My Fair Lady and Equus. He also published books of poems, children's stories and his own photographs.

But he could never really escape the role that took him overnight from bit-part actor status to TV star, and in a 1995 interview he sought to analyze the popularity of Spock, the green-blooded space traveler who aspired to live a life based on pure logic.

People identified with Spock because they "recognize in themselves this wish that they could be logical and avoid the pain of anger and confrontation," Nimoy concluded.

"How many times have we come away from an argument wishing we had said and done something different?" he asked.

In the years immediately after Star Trek left television, Nimoy tried to shun the role, but he eventually came to embrace it, lampooning himself on such TV shows as Futurama, Duckman and The Simpsons and in commercials.

He became Spock after Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was impressed by his work in guest appearances on the TV shows The Lieutenant and Dr. Kildare.

The space adventure set in the 23rd century had an unimpressive debut on NBC on Sept. 8, 1966, and it struggled during its three seasons to find an audience other than teenage boys. It seemed headed for oblivion after it was canceled in 1969, but its dedicated legion of fans, who called themselves Trekkies, kept its memory alive with conventions and fan clubs and constant demands that the cast be reassembled for a movie or another TV show.

Trekkies were particularly fond of Spock, often greeting one another with the Vulcan salute and the Vulcan motto, "Live Long and Prosper," both of which Nimoy was credited with bringing to the character. He pointed out, however, that the hand gesture was actually derived from one used by rabbis during Hebraic benedictions.

When the cast finally was reassembled for Star Trek - The Motion Picture, in 1979, the film was a huge hit and five sequels followed. Nimoy appeared in all of them and directed two. He also guest starred as an older version of himself in some of the episodes of the show's spinoff TV series, Star Trek: The Next Generation.

"Of course the role changed my career – or rather, gave me one," he once said. "It made me wealthy by most standards and opened up vast opportunities. It also affected me personally, socially, psychologically, emotionally. ... What started out as a welcome job to a hungry actor has become a constant and ongoing influence in my thinking and lifestyle."

In 2009, he was back in a new big-screen version of Star Trek, this time playing an older Spock who meets his younger self, played by Zachary Quinto. Critic Roger Ebert called the older Spock "the most human character in the film."

Upon the movie's debut, Nimoy told The Associated Press that in his late 70s he was probably closer than ever to being as comfortable with himself as the logical Spock always appeared to be.

"I know where I'm going, and I know where I've been," he said. He reprised the role in the 2013 sequel Star Trek Into Darkness.

Born in Boston to Jewish immigrants from Russia, Nimoy was raised in an Italian section of the city where, although he counted many Italian-Americans as his friends, he said he also felt the sting of anti-Semitism growing up.

At age 17 he was cast in a local production of Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing as the son in a Jewish family.

"This role, the young man surrounded by a hostile and repressive environment, so touched a responsive chord that I decided to make a career of acting," he said later.

He won a drama scholarship to Boston College but eventually dropped out, moved to California and took acting lessons at the Pasadena Playhouse.

Soon he had lost his "Boston dead-end" accent, hired an agent and began getting small roles in TV series and movies. He played a baseball player in Rhubarb and an Indian in Old Overland Trail.

After service in the Army, he returned to Hollywood, working as taxi driver, vacuum cleaner salesman, movie theater usher and other jobs while looking for acting roles.

In 1954 he married Sandra Zober, a fellow student at the Pasadena Playhouse, and they had two children, Julie and Adam. The couple divorced, and in 1988 he married Susan Bay, a film production executive.

Besides his wife, son and daughter, Nimoy is survived by his stepson, Aaron Bay Schuck. Services will be private, Adam Nimoy said.

AP Television writer Frazier Moore in New York and AP Aerospace writer Marcia Dunn in Cape Canaveral, Florida, contributed to this report. This story contains biographical material compiled by late AP Entertainment Writer Bob Thomas.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Leonard Nimoy (Spock) at the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention 2011. Image by Beth Madison. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. 'Star Trek' stars William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, autographed photo. Image courtesy of archive and The Written Word Autographs.
Last Updated on Friday, 27 February 2015 14:53

Prof. Thomas Crow presents A.W. Mellon Lectures beginning March 15

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Written by Museum PR   
Monday, 23 February 2015 17:27
Thomas Crow. Image courtesy of National Gallery of Art

WASHINGTON – Thomas Crow, professor of Modern Art at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, will give the 64th annual A.W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts in a series titled “Restoration as Event and Idea: Art in Europe, 1814-1820.”

All lectures will take place on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. Eastern and are free and open to the public. Because of the East Building renovation, the lectures will be presented in the West Building Lecture Hall, which has limited capacity. Entry passes (one per person) will be required for admission and will be distributed starting at 1 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of each lecture in the East Building Concourse.

Crow will consider the period 1814-1820, following the fall of Napoleon. During this time, artists throughout Europe were left uncertain and adrift, with old certainties and boundaries dissolved. How did they then set new courses for themselves? Crow's lectures will answer that question by offering both a wide view of art centers across the continent – Rome, Paris, London, Madrid, Brussels – and a close-up focus on individual actors –Francisco Goya (1746–1828), Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825), Antonio Canova (1757–1822), Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769–1830), Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780–1867) and Théodore Géricault (1791–1824). Whether directly or indirectly, these artists were linked in a new international network with changed artistic priorities and new creative possibilities emerging from the wreckage of the old.

March 15: "Moscow Burns/The Pope Comes Home, 1812–1814: David, Gros, and Ingres Test Empire's Facade"

March 22: "At the Service of Kings, Madrid and Paris, 1814: Aging Goya and Upstart Géricault Face Their Restorations"

March 29: "Cut Loose, 1815–1817: Napoleon Returns, David Crosses Borders, and Géricault Wanders Outcast Rome"

April 12: "The Religion of Ancient Art from London to Paris to Rome, 1815–1819: Canova and Lawrence Replenish Papal Splendor"

April 19: "The Laboratory of Brussels, 1816–1819: The Apprentice Navez and the Master David Redraw the Language of Art"

April 26: "Redemption in Rome and Paris, 1818–1820: Ingres Revives the Chivalric while Géricault Recovers the Dispossessed"

Since 1949, the A.W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts have presented the best in contemporary thought and scholarship on the subject of the fine arts to the people of the United States. The program itself is named for Andrew W. Mellon, founder of the National Gallery of Art, who gave the nation his art collection and funds to build the West Building, which opened to the public in 1941.

Past speakers have included Sir Kenneth Clark, T.J. Clark, E.H. Gombrich, Michael Fried, Mary Miller, Helen Vendler and Irene Winter.

Thomas Crow is the Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. He holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in art history from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a B.A. from Pomona College. His interests center on the entwined aesthetic and social dynamics in the production of art and the role of art in modern society.

Crow's most recent book, The Long March of Pop: Art, Design, and Music, 1930–1995, was published by Yale University Press in January 2015. He is also the author of Emulation: Making Artists for Revolutionary France (1995, 2006); The Rise of the Sixties: American and European Art in the Era of Dissent (1996, 2005); The Intelligence of Art (1999); Modern Art in the Common Culture (1996); Painters and Public Life in Eighteenth-Century Paris (1985); and articles including "The Practice of Art History in America," Daedalus 135 (spring 2006) and "Marx to Sharks: The Art-Historical '80s," Artforum 41 (2003). He is a contributing editor of Artforum. A selection of Crow's books will be available for purchase in the Gallery Shops and online at

Crow has received numerous honors throughout his career, including the Eric Mitchell Prize for the best first book in the history of art (1986), the Charles Rufus Morey Prize of the College Art Association (1987), and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (1988–1989). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is currently the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship (2014–2015) and spent the fall of 2014 as a Michael Holly Fellow at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.

Before his appointment at the Institute of Fine Arts, Crow was director of the Getty Research Institute, professor of art history at the University of Southern California, the Robert Lehman Professor of the History of Art at Yale University, and professor and chair in the history of art at the University of Sussex.

Thomas Crow. Image courtesy of National Gallery of Art
Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 February 2015 09:48
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