Dave Hickey, a distinguished American artwork critic whose essays coated subjects starting from Siegfried & Roy to Norman Rockwell, has died.
His trendy prose, brash criticism of taste-making establishments like museums and universities and equal embrace of works thought-about each high- and low-brow left an enduring affect on a technology of artists and critics.
“There isn’t a one like him. He belongs within the canon of American nonfiction prose,” his biographer Daniel Oppenheimer wrote in “Far From Respectable: Dave Hickey and His Art,” revealed final June.
He died Nov. 12 at dwelling in Santa Fe, New Mexico, after years of coronary heart illness, mentioned Libby Lumpkin, an artwork historian who was married to him. He was 82.
David Hickey was born in 1938 in Fort Value, Texas, and grew up transferring round Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and California. After hopscotching by graduate faculty applications, he dropped out and opened a recent artwork gallery in Austin, Texas. He moved to New York in 1971, the place he ran extra galleries, edited the publication Artwork in America and wrote for the Village Voice and Rolling Stone journal. His work and pursuits immersed him in a creative group that included Andy Warhol, Dennis Hopper and David Bowie.
Hickey later moved to Las Vegas to show on the College of Las Vegas, Nevada. Within the essays revealed in “Air Guitar” about how artwork ought to match into broader tradition, he championed Las Vegas as essentially the most American of American cities for its detachment from conventional social hierarchies.
America “is a really poor lens by which to view Las Vegas, whereas Las Vegas is a superb lens by which to view America. What’s hidden elsewhere exists right here in quotidian visibility,” he wrote.
Hickey challenged the concept the Strip’s neon lights have been by some means inauthentic, pushed again in opposition to notions that Las Vegas leisure was culturally irrelevant and “particularly loved a great smoke and playing spree at Eureka On line casino on East Sahara Avenue, the place he was usually noticed with a cigarette whereas jabbing at slot machine buttons,” in response to a Las Vegas Assessment-Journal obituary.
In “The Invisible Dragon” and later works, Hickey’s endorsement of “magnificence” as the final word arbiter of creative worth ignited a conflict together with his contemporaries centered on twentieth century conceptual artwork’s principle and which means, who most popular to deconstruct the the reason why folks discover issues to be stunning.
“He chooses to miss the view that magnificence could also be merely what the ruling financial and social elites say it’s. Within the course of, his adversaries argue, he substitutes his personal bad-boy outsider judgments for these of narrow-minded artwork professionals,” The New York Instances wrote in a 1999 profile of Hickey.
Lumpkin mentioned her husband by no means meant to champion traditionalism as his critics claimed.
“Plenty of Dave’s work was misinterpreted. The belief was made that the sweetness he was speaking about was one thing very quaint, however he was a supporter of very conceptual artists from the start,” she mentioned.
His tastes have been certainly eclectic. He sang the praises of artists and figures in widespread tradition starting from Norman Rockwell to Robert Mapplethorpe to Ellsworth Kelly. His essays coated basketball participant Julius Erving, reruns of the tv sequence “Perry Mason,” and outlaw nation music.
In 2001, the MacArthur Basis awarded him a “genius” grant for his physique of labor. He was inducted into the Nevada Writers Corridor of Fame in 2003 and gained a Peabody Award for a 2006 documentary about Andy Warhol.
Hickey and Lumpkin decamped to Santa Fe in 2010 and accepted positions on the College of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Lumpkin mentioned Hickey thought-about instructing amongst his most vital work and legacy.
“He was an actual mental with out being a snob and he trusted his college students to have the ability to assume theoretically. If you put your belief in college students like that, they get it they usually make good artwork,” Lumpkin mentioned.