All of us at Bad at Sports are deeply saddened to learn that Donald Young has died at the age of 69. Since its original launch in Chicago in 1983, the Donald Young Gallery has been among the premiere U.S. contemporary art galleries. Prior to this, Young partnered with Rhona Hoffman in the Chicago gallery Young Hoffman (1976-1983); both Young and Hoffman subsequently struck out on their own to create two of the city’s most successful and long-running commercial art venues. In the early 1990s, Young and his family left Chicago for Seattle, where he opened Donald Young Gallery on Pike Street. They returned in 1999 because Young missed living in a large urban center. “When you live in a big urban city, at a certain point you think you want to move out, to go somewhere else,” Young told the Seattle Times in 1998. “Then you move, but after a point you realize that urban life is in your blood. You miss it. You miss the grittiness, the human contact, the abrasives of the big city. You miss the more outspokenness of the big city.”
Donald Young Gallery is one of a select few Chicago contemporary art galleries that exhibits and represents artists of international renown. The gallery has exhibited the work of Tony Cragg, Anne Chu, Dan Flavin, Rodney Graham, Bruce Nauman, Rosemarie Trockel, Josiah McElheny and many, many others. Most recently, Young himself curated a critically-lauded series of exhibitions at the gallery titled “In the Spirit of Walser” that is inspired by the short stories and “microscripts” of Robert Walser. In his curatorial statement, Young notes his fascination with Walser’s microscripts, which he had first seen in a 2008 exhibition in Berlin, and his interest in exploring the connections between Walser’s writings and contemporary artists like Fischli & Weiss, Tacita Dean, and Thomas Schütte, rather than produce an exhibition devoted to Walser himself. “Hundreds of artists have made work in homage to Walser, many of a highly personal and sometimes romantic and sentimental nature,” Young explained. “This is not an area that interests me personally and I am confident that the artists who have agreed to work on this project will produce work that is as original as its inspiration.”
Our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to Mr. Young’s family, as well as to his longtime gallery staff. Donald Young has made an indelible mark on Chicago’s cultural landscape, and his presence here will be sorely missed.
The trib did a great job with their obituary for Donald. Check it out here.