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Artist Paul Jenkins dead at 88

Paul Jenkins, Painter of Abstract Artwork, Dies at 88

Paul Jenkins, a colorful Abstract Expressionist who came of age during the heyday of the New York School and for several decades carried on its highly physical tradition of manipulating paint and canvas, died on June 9 in Manhattan, where he lived and had continued to paint until recently. He was 88.

He died after a short illness, said his wife, Suzanne.

Jrenkins was a contemporary and friend of both  Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. In 1953 he resettled in Paris, but maintained a lifelong connection with New York.

He became well-known outside the art world in 1978 when his paintings had a starring role in the Paul Mazursky movie “An Unmarried Woman,” in which Alan Batesplayed a Manhattan artist. The paintings supposedly done by the Bates character were actually his work.“I try to paint like a crapshooter throwing dice, utilizing past experience and my knowledge of the odds,” he said in 1964. “It’s a big gamble, and that’s why I love it.”

Cy Twombly dies at 83.

Edwin Parker “Cy” Twombly, Jr., American abstract artist, died in Rome yesterday at te age of 83. Well known for his large-scale, freely scribbled, calligraphic-style graffiti paintings, Twombly was of the same school as Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell and other abstractionists who hit their early peak in the 1950s and 60s.

When my wife told me this morning that Twombly had died, I was very sad. He is one of those artists whose work I had the opportunity of originally seeing in Chicago when I was a student at Northwestern and his work always appealed to me.

Twombly was born in Virginia and nicknamed Cy (as was his father) after the famous baseball player Cy Young.

Late 1960s painting by Cy Twombly

On a tuition scholarship from 1950 to 1951, he studied at the Art Students League of New York, where he met Robert Rauschenberg, who encouraged him to attend Black Mountain College near Asheville, North Carolina where he studied with Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell and Ben Shahn, and met John Cage. His first Solo Exhibition (heavily influenced by Kline) was at the Samuel Kootz Gallery in 1951.

In 1957 Twombly moved to Rome, where he married the Italian Tatia Franchetti, in 1959 – sister of his patron Giorgio Franchetti. He died in Rome after being hospitalized for several days, and had cancer for many years.

Iowa Legislator Tries To Force University To Sell $140 Million Jackson Pollock ~ Brings Outrage

From Art Knowledge News:

Republican State Senator Scott Raecker joins the Inverted Brains Club

Iowa, USA – Two national art associations said on Friday that they are “outraged” by a proposal to force the University of Iowa to sell the Jackson Pollock ‘Mural’ painting, and say it could threaten University of Iowa’s accreditation. The Association of Art Museum Directors and the American Association of Museums have vowed the support to “help prevent this permanent and irredeemable loss.” “The (associations) are alarmed to learn of the recent proposal to sell the Jackson Pollock painting ‘Mural’ to underwrite costs at The University of Iowa,” the two organizations said in a joint statement. “Such a sale would violate a fundamental ethical principle of the museum field, one which all accredited museums are bound to respect: that an accessioned work of art may not be treated as a disposable financial asset.” The 1943 painting, which was donated to The University of Iowa in 1951 by Peggy Guggenheim, is one of the most valuable, estimated at $140 million in 2008, and well-known pieces in the university’s collection. House Study Bill 84, which proposes the sale to pay for local scholarships for University of Iowa arts students, was introduced by Republican state Representative Scott Raecker, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. The idea of selling the painting first surfaced in 2008 as a way to help pay for the $743 million bill for repairing damage caused by flooding. At the time it was opposed by University of Iowa leaders and the art community and ultimately tabled.

“It’s a long-standing principle in the museum community as a whole, if you sell an object in the collection, proceeds must be used for the purchase of other pieces or care of pieces in the collection, not to, as my boss likes to say, fix the boiler,” said Dewey Blanton, a spokesman for the museum association based in Washington D.C. Blanton said such a move could prompt a complaint, which could be filed by anyone, and that would set off an accreditation review process. Blanton said virtually every major museum in the U.S. is accredited. The status qualifies those museums for certain types of philanthropic and corporate support as well as identifies it as eligible to house certain prestigious collections on loan, Blanton said. “The museum there is accredited. This is a potential consequence to be considered,” Blanton said. University of Iowa and Iowa state Board of Regents officials have declined comment about Raecker’s bill, but in 2008 UI President Sally Mason was on record saying University of Iowa does not want to sell the Pollock. University professors have not been so reticent, quoted in the Daily Iowan, Art and art history Professor Christopher Roy said the painting is a wonderful monument in the history of art, is very important culturally to the state of Iowa, that its loss would be devastating to his art students and it would cause Iowa to go from being a great state with a great program, to “third-rate losers.” “It would be a disgrace to a civilized place such as Iowa. Whoever did such a thing would go down in history as one of the most disgraceful people in the history of the state,” Roy said. “I can’t believe anyone would be stupid enough to bring it up.” Art-history Professor Craig Adcock said he was also unhappy with the bill and that “It would be a disaster to sell the painting”.

It’s amazing that a Republican politician puts destroying culture ahead of doing something both intuitive and clearly required – raising taxes.  But then, all that paint scribbling by Pollock can’t be worth more than scholarships in this guy’s district. Wouldn’t that give him more votes?

B. H. Friedman… Novelist and Biographer… Dies in Manhattan at 84

I knew Bob Friedman in Provincetown in my Fine Arts Work Center days back in the seventies. He was an advisor to both the Writing and the Visual arts programs and was best known for his biography of Jackson Pollock.

I first met B. H. Friedman before I started at the FAWC as a friend of Hudson and Ione Walker whose house I was staying in on a Provincetown summer break. He was an interesting conversationalist and a friend to most of the well known artists who summered in P-Town.

He was well known as a New Yorker writer, too. The cause of death was complications of pneumonia, according to, Daisy Friedman, in the NY Times obituary.