Monday, February 28, 2011

Remembering Andy Jurinko 1938-2011

A great guy, a fine artist
"Liberty Plaza"
Oil on canvas
66 x 84 inches
©Andy Jurinko

Last week I did a mailing about my Minnesota exhibit and received the sad and unexpected news that the artist, Andy Jurinko, had passed away on Valentine's day from pancreatic cancer. The email message stopped me in my tracks and as often happens when I hear this type of news, the memories started flooding in. I first met Andy in the 1980's when we were both new members of the NOHO Gallery, then located on LaGuardia Place in the Village. We were assigned a two person show and on a very cold day in January, 1982, we installed our paintings in the gallery. There was no heat as a pipe had burst the night before, so we were bundled up in our overcoats as we worked. At that time Andy was showing a series of figurative street scenes, a subject he would revisit time and time again throughout his career. He was very adept at painting the figure, especially the female form.

Over the years, we would keep in touch now and then, especially after receiving each other's exhibition announcements. I followed Andy's work over the years and marveled at his talent and his vision.

"Bobby Thomson 1951"
Oil on canvas
32 x 40 inches
©Andy Jurinko

An ongoing project, and one that he will be most remembered for was his series of baseball-themed art. Deciding to use the "golden age" of baseball as his muse, he did over 1,000 paintings of the stadiums, portraits of the team players and scenes of historic and memorable moments in the game. Books, exhibitions, prints and much-deserved acclaim came his way as a result.

Andy and the love of his life, his wife Pat, were early "homesteaders," living in a loft in the the Wall Street area when it was not a trendy residential neighborhood. On September 11, 2001, the great tragedy that struck New York would impact them directly as their building was the closest residential building to the towers. I remember trying to get information about them after the collapse of the twin towers and saw posters asking about them on the many walls plastered with questions. Thankfully, they and the tenants in their building survived. Andy and his wife decided to remain and spent months and months dealing with the aftermath. The New York Times ran a series of articles about their building and the tenants. Many of their neighbors were in attendance at the memorial service on Saturday, as were a throng of family, friends, fellow artists and collectors. The chapel was standing room only, a testament to how loved and respected a person Andy was. He will be missed.

If you would like to learn more about Andy Jurinko's work you can check out his website

Read the New York Times obituary here

No comments: