In Memoriam: Remembering the Artists, Curators, and Gallerists We Lost in 2023

This year, we lost creatives from sculptors and photographers to designers and painters who shaped 20th-century art history.

Phyllida Barlow at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, 2019. Photo: Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

Before we enter a new year, here’s a look back at the key art world figures who sadly passed away in 2023. This year the list of people we lost include groundbreaking sculptors and photographers; designers of iconic posters and graphics; the manager of a mammoth estate; and painters who helped shape 20th-century art. Whatever their role in the art world, these individuals made major impacts in their fields and their legacies will undoubtedly go on.

 

Peter Weibel, Artist and Curator

Peter Weibel. Photo: Christof Hierholzer, © ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe.

“Weibel was fascinated by the role of media and technology in shaping both reality and art-making. His multimedia experiments probed the intersections of science and aesthetics; his teaching at institutions sought to shape the discourse around new media; and his curatorial efforts advocated for digital artists including Lynn Hershman Leeson and Olafur Eliasson.”

 

Phyllida Barlow, Sculptor

Phyllida Barlow attends a photocall at Edinburgh International Book Festival on August 25, 2015. Photo: Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images.

“The London-based artist was known for boldly transforming inexpensive materials like cardboard, fabric, cement, and plywood, into breathtaking and colossal assemblages that renegotiated our sense of space. These seemingly boundless works, which are often colorful and large in scale, teetered between a welcoming dreaminess and a foreboding sense of precariousness.”

 

Ted Bonin, Gallerist

Ted Bonin, 2015. Photo: Joerg Lohse. Courtesy of Alexander and Bonin.

“Since its founding, Alexander and Bonin has developed a reputation for working with rigorous, genre-defying artists, many now deceased and underappreciated during their lifetimes.”

 

Kwame Brathwaite, Photographer

Kwame Brathwaite's Untitled (Self Portrait) (1964, printed 2017). Courtesy of the artist and Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles.

Kwame Brathwaite’s Untitled (Self Portrait) (1964, printed 2017). Courtesy of the artist and Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles.

‘“Kwame’s photos… were culturally game-changing and illuminated a new direction for Black Americans that had a global effect,” graffiti pioneer Fab 5 Freddy told Artnet News.'”

 

Frank Kozik, Designer

Frank Kozik attends the 2020 Kidrobot x Bhunny Series Toy Fair Preview at Slate in New York. Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Kidrobot.

“He said: ‘I was part of the trash world. I was a no-education loser person, and was definitely into hedonistic experiences. While I have an appreciation of fine art and I understand it, I was going to punk rock shows, not college nor museums. All of the stuff that really turned my crank was… stuff that we could kind of reproduce in our own lives… and a lot of that stuff is really visually arresting.'”

 

Kenneth Anger, Filmmaker

Kenneth Anger. Photo: Nick Wall/WireImage.

“For an artist with a relatively small filmography, Anger left an outsized footprint on cult cinema and beyond. His works paired prismatic visuals with a pop soundtrack in ways that presaged the music video, while his queer narratives offered an enduring visual language for today’s pop culture.”

 

Ilya Kabakov, Artist

Ilya Kabakov, 2003. Photo: Volker Hartmann/DDP/AFP via Getty Images.

“Taking his experiences of life under the Soviet Union as his subject, Kabakov’s works never shied from themes of totalitarian suppression and thwarted dreams but were always underscored by a fantastical quality, offering hope for a more utopian future.”

 

Françoise Gilot, Artist

Françoise Gilot (2004). Photo by Jean-Pierre Muller / AFP via Getty Images.

“During her life, Gilot was incredibly productive artist, painting well into her 90s and leaving behind some 1,600 canvases and 3,600 works on paper, according to Agence France Presse. She often worked with watercolors to create her vibrant paintings and was a dedicated ceramicist. Gilot received numerous honors in her native France, including the nation’s highest order of merit, the Legion of Honor.”

 

Paolo Di Paolo, Photographer

Paolo Di Paolo, 2021. Photo: Alessandra Benedetti via Getty Images.

“A self-taught amateur, Di Paolo’s career was brief but prolific.”

 

Amos Badertscher, Photographer

Amos Badertscher, ‘Club Charles’ on ‘Charles Street’ oh!, + Esther, too (1984). © Estate of Amos Badertscher. Courtesy of CLAMP, New York.

“‘There must have been something dangerously lacking in my upper-middle-class psyche because I did not find nudity, even youthful male nudity shocking, abusive, emasculating, pornographic or subversive,’ Badertscher once said. ‘To photograph the naked body is, for me, the ultimate dimension in photographing the person.'”

 

Jamie Reid, Artist

Jamie Reid. Photo courtesy of John Marchant Gallery.

Jamie Reid. Photo courtesy of John Marchant Gallery.

“Over a career that began in the 1970s, Reid married his anarchist leanings with art, creating striking works that agitated against the establishment. His best-known designs remain his cover art and posters for the Sex Pistols; once deemed controversial, they are now collected by museums from MoMA to the V&A, priced high at auctions, and embraced by luxury brands.”

 

Brice Marden, Artist

Brice Marden in 2017. Photo courtesy of Gagosian.

Brice Marden in 2017. Photo courtesy of Gagosian.

“Despite his extended illness, Marden maintained his practice up until the end, painting in his studio as recently as this past weekend, according to his daughter, who wrote on Instagram that ‘he was lucky to live a long life doing what he loved.'”

 

Claude Picasso, Administrator of the Picasso Estate

Claude Picasso, son of late Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, in 2019. Photo by Romain LaFabregue, AFP via Getty Images.

Claude Picasso, son of late Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, in 2019. Photo by Romain LaFabregue, AFP via Getty Images.

“The country of France recognized Claude’s work on behalf of the estate with the nation’s highest honor, the Légion d’Honneur, in 2011.”

 

Fernando Botero, Artist

Fernando Botero (2012). Photo by Massimo Sestini / Mondadori via Getty Images.

“Across a seven-decade-long career, Bottero developed a style—sometimes referred to as ‘Boterismo’—that was unmistakably his own. His subjects, often middle-class laborers in moments of leisure or celebration, bore pinched facial features and plump frames. His depictions of food and land were similarly sumptuous.”

 

Park Seo-Bo, Artist

Portrait of Park Seo-Bo. Courtesy of Park Seo-Bo Foundation.

Portrait of Park Seo-Bo. Courtesy of Park Seo-Bo Foundation.

“‘Like the Korean scholars and Buddhist monks who saw writing as a purifying process, Park Seo-Bo saw painting and the repetitive gesture from which his monochromes emerged as a catharsis.'”

 

Robert Irwin, Artist

Robert Irwin. Courtesy Philipp Scholz Rittermann/Pace.

Robert Irwin. Courtesy Philipp Scholz Rittermann/Pace.

“His early works captured his explorations into perception—what is seen and unseen—borne out by his dot and line series. It was an inquiry he would pursue throughout his career and that would align him with California’s Light and Space movement, which centered viewers’ sensory experiences.”

 

Ida Applebroog, Artist

Ida Applebroog (2012). Photo by Barbara Sax / AFP via Getty Images.

Ida Applebroog (2012). Photo by Barbara Sax / AFP via Getty Images.

“She wanted to be an artist in the broadest sense of the word, letting her art speak for itself.”

 

Vera Molnár, Artist

Vera Molnár in her home and studio workshop on May 28, 2011 in Paris, France. Photo: Catherine Panchout/ Sygma via Getty Images.

Vera Molnár in her home and studio workshop on May 28, 2011 in Paris, France. Photo: Catherine Panchout/ Sygma via Getty Images.

“’The machine, thought to be cold and inhuman, can help to realize what is most subjective, unattainable, and profound in a human being,’ she once noted.”

 

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