Josh Roth, Who Brought Artists Into Hollywood Through the UTA Talent Agency, Has Died at Age 40

Roth believed that United Talent Agency could do for artists what it does for celebrities.

Josh Roth, head of UTA Fine Arts. Courtesy of UTA Fine Arts. Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages.

Josh Roth, head of UTA Fine Arts, the visual arts arm of Los Angeles’s United Talent Agency, has died at age 40. The cause of death was heart failure.

“Josh was a dear man and a great colleague, and we are devastated by his loss. His friendships and contributions were deeply felt. He constantly inspired his colleagues and those he represented with his impeccable taste, thoughtfulness, creativity, and absolute dedication,” said UTA chairman Jim Berkus and CEO Jeremy Zimmer in a joint statement. “Most importantly, Josh was a wonderful man—devoted to his family, kind in spirit, and generous in every way. UTA is heartbroken.”

Prior to founding UTA Fine Arts in 2015, Roth, a graduate of Loyola Law School, was the chair of the art law department at the Glaser Weil. “He was very bright, very creative,” Roger Howard, a partner at the Los Angeles firm, told Bloomberg. “He had huge expertise in the world of art and we enjoyed him immensely in building the practice here.”

UTA, which represents actors, musicians, and television personalities, began extending its services to fine artists and photographers with the launch of UTA Fine Arts. It has represented artists such as Rashid Johnson, Maurizio Cattelan, Sam Taylor Johnson, and Judy Chicago.

In addition to putting longstanding PR strategies to work in the visual arts, UTA opened an exhibition space in 2016 in Los Angeles’s Boyle Heights neighborhood, holding shows for artists including Derrick Adams, Petra Cortright, and the Haas Brothers.

This summer, Roth announced a move to Beverly Hills to open a space in a former diamond-cutting facility. Ai Weiwei, who signed with the firm in 2016, led the redesign. The gallery is slated to open the artist’s first solo show in Los Angeles, “Cao/Humanity” from October 4 to December 1.

Roth is survived by his wife, Sonya Roth, and their children Anabel, Colette, and Henry.

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