Getty Trust President and former Art Institute of Chicago Director James N. Wood died late Friday night of natural causes. Mr. Wood, age 69, was reportedly in good health and his death was unexpected. Board chairman Mark S. Siegel announced Saturday:
We are deeply saddened to announce that J. Paul Getty Trust President and CEO James N. Wood has passed away suddenly of natural causes.
Jim was internationally recognized as a leader in the arts. His passion for the visual arts and quiet, yet firm leadership were a perfect fit for the Getty. We were able to entice Jim to come to the Getty out of retirement, after 25 years as the head of the Art Institute of Chicago, and in just a little over three years under Jim’s leadership, the Getty moved forward in significant ways toward a renewed and strengthened mission.
Jim valued collaboration, and he reinforced that value at the Getty. Working with the Board, Jim led a strategic planning process that emphasized ways in which the Getty’s four programs could work together to further enhance the institution’s already strong worldwide reputation. He also saw the Getty as a catalyst to encourage Los Angeles’ many outstanding visual arts institutions to collaborate, strengthening our region’s stature as a major cultural center.
He was a private man, who acted with great kindness, strength, and dignity. The Board and the Getty’s entire staff mourn his loss, and we extend our deepest sympathy to Jim’s wife, Emese, their daughters Lenke and Rebecca, and their families.
Wood served as director and president of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1980-2004, after which he retired with his wife Emese to Rhode Island before his appointment as President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust in December 2006. He assumed his position as CEO in February 2007, after an extensive search conducted by the Board of Trustees.
Prior to directing the Art Institute of Chicago, Wood was the director of The St. Louis Art Museum (1975-1980), an adjunct professor of art history at SUNY at Buffalo and associate director of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. He also held positions at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Wood sat on the boards of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, the Harvard University Art Museums, and the Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design. He was also president of the board of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts.
Wood, 69, received his B.A. with honors in Art History from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. and his M.A. from the Institute for Fine Arts at New York University. He also holds a diploma from the University for Foreigners in Perugia, Italy. Wood’s areas of specialization included European paintings and sculpture of the 16th to 20th centuries, American painting and sculpture of the 19th to 20th centuries, and photography.
Arrangements are pending.
Her collection of work is widely known, diverse, fun and she will be missed.
Louise who was inducted into the U.S. National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2009 is survived by two sons, Alain & Jean Louis, as well as by two grandchildren and a great-grandchild. Her husband and a third son, Michel, predeceased her.
I have always longed to play an old-style D&D role playing game “live,” as it were, ever since I was a kid and saw that TV movie starring Tom Hanks called Mazes and Monsters (any of you old enough to remember it?). In it, Tom played a troubled game nerd who, along with his game-nerd friends (including a chick, which was cool for those times), found these secret deep twisty caves and decided to role-play Dungeons and Dragons in them, like for real. They all got totally obsessed by the game but in the end, poor Tom went crazy and had to be institutionalized because he literally got lost in the game world, unable to tell what was real and what was pretend. Because I want to share the absolute and utter amazingness of this movie with y’all, I grace you with this clip:
So anyway, I came across Brody Condon‘s work a few weeks ago on the L.A.-based experimental media blog Blur + Sharpen (written by the incredibly gifted writer and super-smart maven of medias old and new, Holly Willis, a former classmate of mine at USC’s School of Cinema Television from way back when) and I’ve been fascinated with it ever since, largely because it seems to tap into a lot of the crazy that Tom was suffering from in the movie, that desire to transcend dull reality and experience something visionary and heroic, but Condon projects this desire into the era of video games rather than the book, paper and pen way of playing RPG’s.
Condon is an American artist born in 1974 in Mexico, and is currently based in New York. His 2008 DVD Without Sun is a 15 minute compilation of footage found on the Internet of various random people tripping HARD on psychedelic substances. Condon’s website describes the piece’s focus as on “the exterior surface of the ‘projection of self’ into visionary worlds,” noting that it was named after Chris Marker’s classic video work Sans Soleil. Click on the image below to be taken to Condon’s website and a brief clip of the video. If you’re in Los Angeles this weekend, you can check out a live performance on July 18th at Machine Project that features two actors recreating scenes from Condon’s video.
Death Animations is a three hour performance that also took place at Machine Project. Inspired by Bruce Naumann’s 1973 work “Tony Sinking into the Floor, Face Up and Face Down”, it featured nine dancers wearing video game type armor who recreate Naumann’s performance in slo-mo as “high volume binaural beats” play in the background, apparently in an effort to induce some form of out-of-body experience among the audience and/or participants. (Click images below to be taken to a performance excerpt).
And Condon’s Suicide Solution, 2004, is a compilation of suicide scenes from various first- and third-person video games. (Click image for video clip).
But what seems far coolest of all to me is this massive performance piece organized by Condon, titled TwentyFiveFoldManfestation and performed for three days straight at SonsbeekLive in the Netherlands. From the website:
“Combining the fantasy Live Action Role-Playing (LARP) subculture, public sculpture, and ritualistic performance art, Twentyfivefold was a series of physically and psychologically intense live games involving 80 players which evolved over the Summer of 2008. The events were organized by the artist Brody Condon for the Sonsbeek International public sculpture exhibition in the Netherlands.
Set in a distant future where civilization as we know it had almost been lost, players from different worlds met deep in the holy forest and inhabited a 40 feet high tower “in character” for 3 days at a time while worshiping invented deities embodied by the other artworks of the exhibition.”
Here’s a short clip documenting the performance:
Looks kind of amazing, right? If Condon ever wants to organize something like that in Chicago I am so there. Strangely, I see echoes of Mazes and Monsters in Condon’s project. Going back to real life must feel pretty sucky after playing a fully immersive game like that. I wonder if any of the participants went crazy afterwards, unable to come down from the high of worshiping the broken mirror god. I’d be willing to take the risk.
Yoko Ono while returning to Montreal on Tuesday to unveil an art exhibit celebrating the week 40 years ago she famously stayed in bed with her husband John Lennon in a hotel room high above downtown Montreal and slept in about peace died of massive trauma to the head when the “Yes Painting” complete with ladder & magnifying glass fell on her.
Ono was in the city for the anniversary of the 1969 bed-in, which is being marked by an exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, titled Imagine: The Peace Ballad of John & Yoko. The exhibit would have opened Thursday.
“Montreal means very much for me because it was a place where John and I created a very important statement,” the 76-year-old artist told reporters at the museum on Tuesday right before saying “Oww oww that ladder is crushing my bones, get it off get it off, I have brittle bones from Coprophagia so this really hurts”
That went on for 30 minuets while local pedagogues and reporters documented and critiqued the latest and unbeknownst to them final performance art work by Ms. Ono.
Montreal’s city coroner ruled that it was an accident but Mark Kostabi is wanted for questioning in relation to the event since as the Police Chief said:
“This seems like the kind of shameless promotional work that he would do” and followed up with “Plus I always wanted to meet him, I have one of his paintings over my desk, you know the one with the gray androgynous human figure in a empty room holding a odd but ironic object that fits nicely with the title, he’s so handsome too.”
Kostabi’s lawyers have released a statement that he has a solid alibi since he has been in Rome for almost a decade doing nothing.
More to come as it unfolds this sad sad April 1st, 2009.
“Dreamspace” the explorable artspace with connected cells of color and shape broke away from it’s moorings in July of 2006 and the company that made it [Brouhaha International] and it’s Artist Maurice Agis, 76, are being charged with gross negligence manslaughter by Durham [British] police.
After slipping it’s moorings and rearing up vertically visitors Claire Furmedge, 38, from Chester-le-Street, and Elizabeth Collings, 38, from Seaham were killed, another 13 injured.
Both parties will all appear at Peterlee magistrates’ court on February 26. Read more here