Tributes Pour In for Beloved Sculptor and Art Professor Killed in New York

The 73-year-old artist was just a half block from his apartment.

Tom McAnulty in Siena. He led an annual study abroad trip in Italy for Adelphi University.
Tom McAnulty in Siena. He led an annual study abroad trip in Italy for Adelphi University. "He really knew how to just sit back and take life in," wrote photographer Allison O'Driscoll on Facebook. Photo: Allison O'Driscoll via Facebook.
Tom McAnulty. Photo: Erin O'Keefe, via Facebook.

Tom McAnulty.
Photo: Erin O’Keefe, via Facebook.

Sculptor Thomas McAnulty, a professor emeritus of art and art history at New York’s Adelphi University, has died of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident Thursday, January 14.

A motorcyclist crashed into McAnulty as the artist crossed the street on West 96th Street in Manhattan. DNA Info reports that the sculptor was in the crosswalk at the time of the accident. The motorcyclist remained on the scene as emergency personnel responded.

Despite efforts to eliminate pedestrian deaths through New York city’s Vision Zero plan, traffic-related fatalities continue to occur, including the death of Brooklyn-based curator  Victoria Nicodemus last month.

At the time of the accident, the 73-year-old sculptor was just half a block from his apartment, where he had lived for nearly 35 years. He was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital, where he died the next day from severe head trauma.

Tom McAnulty in Siena. He led an annual study abroad trip in Italy for Adelphi University. "He really knew how to just sit back and take life in," wrote photographer Allison O'Driscoll on Facebook. Photo: Allison O'Driscoll via Facebook.

Tom McAnulty in Siena. He led an annual study abroad trip in Italy for Adelphi University. “He really knew how to just sit back and take life in,” wrote photographer Allison O’Driscoll on Facebook.
Photo: Allison O’Driscoll via Facebook.

“We feel that Tom was robbed of his precious life,” wrote McAnulty’s niece, Hope Moore, in an e-mail on Sunday. According to DNA Info, the family is looking for additional witnesses to the crash, as police interviewed one person on the scene. Persons with any information are being asked to contact [email protected]

In the wake of McAnulty’s death, his family and former students have congregated on a Facebook memorial page, trading storied about their beloved professor.

Tom McAnulty with his grandsons at a museum. Photo: Jeannette Kensington, via Facebook.

Tom McAnulty with his grandsons at a museum.
Photo: Jeannette Kensington, via Facebook.

“Tom was one of the first people that made me realize that art was neither a hobby, nor a career, but a vocation,” wrote former student Mike Graughran on Facebook. “He wasn’t just a great teacher because he had a vast skill set and a dedication to his work, but because he always wanted to be one of the students.”

“People used to gather around our groups in Florence because they thought his tours were way better than the ones from the museums,” added Meggy Pix, just one of the many with fond memories of visiting the Italian city with McAnulty, who led a study abroad program there every year.

Tom McAnulty speaks to students about the Baptistry doors in Florence. Photo: Allison O'Driscoll via Facebook.

Tom McAnulty speaks to students about the Baptistry doors in Florence.
Photo: Allison O’Driscoll via Facebook.

Since 2014, McAnulty has been represented by Chelsea’s Carter Burden Gallery. He kept a studio at Broadway and West 102nd Street, according to his son, Steve McAnulty. McAnulty’s website notes that art critic and philosopher Arthur Danto was a collector of the artist’s work.

In 2002, the New York Times favorably reviewed McAnulty’s work as it appeared in a group outdoor sculpture exhibition at Adelphi, noting that Bottle and a Peach, a bronze and concrete sculpture, “looks like a ritual offering that extends the still-life metaphor into the realm of the shrine.”

“My work is about the simple act of looking,” wrote McAnulty in his artist statement. “I am especially drawn to simple common objects… I present these things stripped of unnecessary elements while retaining their essential and archetypal features.”


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