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CHICAGO — Two weeks ago, news began to spread of the death of John Kearney, a fixture in the Chicago art world for more than seven decades. He was 89 years old.
Born in 1924 in Omaha, Nebraska, Kearney studied art at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. Even a short description of his life suggests a vanished era: he served in the US Navy during WWII, received a Fulbright Award to Italy in the early 1960s, was a visiting artist four times at the American Academy in Rome, and was a prolific sculptor whose work is in public and private collections across the US, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
In 1949, Kearney was one of the co-founders (along with Leon Golub and several other artists) of the Contemporary Art Workshop, an organization dedicated to providing affordable studios and exhibition space for emerging and mid-career artists. The Contemporary Art Workshop closed its doors in 2009, but not before helping hundreds of Chicago and Midwest artists find their footing. Many of the artists who were helped in more recent years by Kearney, his wife Lynn, and the Contemporary Art Workshop took to social media to express their sorrow at his passing and to express their enduring gratitude to him. Painter Joanne Aono, for example, said:
He was a terrific sculptor and a kind man. Together with Lynn, they were amazing supporters of the Chicago art community. Since posting the news on Facebook, I’ve been amazed by all the artists that credit the Kearneys with giving them their first show or immensely aiding in their success. I was among the last of the artists to have studios there. Also residing there at the time were Fraser Taylor, Norbert Marszalek, Karen Appleton, Kate Lewis, Neha Vedpathak, Amy Honchell, and Russ White – quite an impressive group. I am forever grateful to Jack and Lynn for introducing us. I’ve developed lasting friendships with these artists.
And Norbert Marszalek told Hyperallergic about his experience with the Contemporary Art Workshop (CAW):
I guess I always knew about the CAW. They had a long history. When it came time to move my studio, I was fortunate enough to get a studio space there. That’s when I met Joanne Aono and many others. It was very inspiring. We would all meet and visit each other’s studio, have group or one-on-one discussions. Sometimes the talk got heated, which was good. I personally grew as an artist during my time there.
John and Lynn had a good thing going. They offered exhibition space for emerging artists to get their feet wet. I had some thoughtful conversations with John (Jack), and Lynn for that matter, regarding art and the art world.
Such eulogies indicate that John Kearney leaves a legacy both physical and emotional: the sculptures that can still be seen in public spaces in Chicago, and the fond memories of those who were touched by his generosity of spirit.
“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants—11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data—a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were…
In 1850, when Dr. Robert W. Gibbes commissioned J. T. Zealy to make daguerreotypes of persons held in slavery in and around Columbia, South Carolina, for Harvard Professor Louis Agassiz to use in support of his theory that African people were a separate species, daguerreotypes were at the height of fashion.
Works by Rodolfo Abularach, Mario Bencomo, Denise Carvalho, Pérez Celis, Entes, and Agustín Fernandéz are on view at the NYC gallery through January 7, 2022.
he ownership of images has a long and nuanced legal history, which has evolved dramatically in recent years as cultural standards and photographic technologies have rapidly advanced
Renty and his daughter Delia. Renty was an enslaved African, kidnapped from the Congo, sold and forced into slave labor on the South Carolina plantation of B.F. Taylor
“Ecosystem X,” an art-based reimagining of life on planet Earth, is the theme of this open call. 10 artists will win $5,000 and one student will receive $5,000 as a scholarship/stipend.
The show, which honors the 50th anniversary of an exhibition history once ignored, continues a series of projects documenting Wilmington’s contemporary art scene.
As a scholar of African American history and photography whose work has focused on the status of violent images in museums and archives, I fully support the validity of Ms. Tamara Lanier’s claim and the amicus brief.
The daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor, Delia, Drana, Alfred, Jack, George Fassena, and Jem remained in an unused storage cabinet until 1975, when it was discovered by an employee of the Peabody Museum.
I am writing in support of the amicus curiae brief submitted by Professor Ariella Aïsha Azoulay of Brown University for the full restitution of the daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor and his daughter Delia, currently held by Harvard University, to their familial descendant, Tamara Lanier.