Monday, June 13, 2011

The passing of two of my favorite artists

Paying my respects

I received a phone call this morning informing me that my friend and fellow artist, Louis Kunsch, had passed away. Lou was the first artist that I met when I found my studio in Long Island City in May of 1980. I had come by to check out the space on a Saturday morning and Lou had the first of five studios making up the space and was the only one working on the week-end. He showed me around and we chatted awhile. I met the other artists later that week and was given the ok to rent the studio I had seen (and I believe that Lou gave me a thumbs up which led to the other's approval).

As I had to pass through Lou's space to get to my own I was always intrigued to see what he was working on. Here was an eclectic artist, always exploring many different forms and media. I loved his very classical still life paintings of fruits and vegetables (I own two paintings) along with his large oils of fantastic imagery. Lou often used found objects creating sculptures, did some printmaking and in his later years explored ink and watercolor collage abstract pieces.

IW 1035
Ink and Watercolor on paper
©Louis Kunsch

Eventually, Lou moved to another, much larger studio space in LIC, and we continued to keep in touch over the years. As a long-time employee at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lou worked in a number of departments over the years. On Mondays, when the museum is closed, employees can invite guests in to see the exhibits and I was very happy to be invited by Lou to see some of the big blockbuster shows when there weren't hundreds of people standing between me and the artwork. A rare treat indeed. He was also one of the early artists with a studio space, in a bathroom, in P.S. 1 in the 1970's. He lived a long and varied life as an artist and worked as long as he was able. Although he did have several exhibitions over the years, Lou did not receive the attention he richly deserved for his work and now that he is gone, it is uncertain what will happen to the studio full of artwork that remains.

Another artist passed away on June 4th, one who was widely acclaimed in his lifetime. The New York Times ran an article on Sunday that the artist Claudio Bravo had died. An AMAZING artist whose hyperrealism left me in awe. I made it a point to see his exhibitions at the Marlborough Gallery whenever his work was on view in New York. If you are not familiar with his work, definitely check it out. A masterful and powerful painter.

Two artists, passing away in their '70's, one renowned, one obscure. Claudio Bravo's work will live on as it should, for future generations to admire and enjoy. What will happen to Lou's art is anyone's guess.


The Unbearable Banishment said...

Hi Sharon. I'm sorry to hear of these passings. It looks like they were doing what they loved and there's not a whole lot that's more important than that.

SJF said...

So true UB. I can also add that Lou was an AVID theater-goer, regularly attended plays and supported off-Broadway theater groups and productions.

Jessica S. Comas said...

Much of the theater community that benefited so much from Lou's perspective, his passion, and his company (and for me his recipes) just learned of his passing in the last few weeks. Friends from York, Primary Stages, Atlantic, Playwright's Horizons, Joyce, Vineyard and more are all collectively wishing we could honor Lou in some way. He will be missed and remembered by us all.

SJF said...

Jessica, please email me privately. I am in touch with Lou's niece and perhaps something can be arranged to honor Lou.