The Value of Tributes
artcritical.com doesn’t aspire to be the journal of record when it comes to obituaries: we respond as any serious art magazine does when a giant leaves the field, but as in much of our coverage, the choice of artists and art world personalities to whom we pay tribute is determined less by editorial policy than by the passions of individual writers. A case in point: two memorials posted today, May 7, honoring artists who fall short of a newspaper headline for reason of living quieter lives, chasing quirky visions, working at an obstinate scale or sheer consistent poor luck. Longtime artcritical contributor David Brody offers a spirited reading of a painter of mythic, oddly iconic personages and a bestiary of their four-legged companions, Selina Trieff, who passed in January at the age of 81. William Tucker, the legendary British-born sculptor, offers a fulsome, warm introduction, as it is for most of us, to his friend, James Adley, who also died recently at 83. Besides the privilege of offering a platform to quality writing on subjects that matter to their authors, however, there is good journalistic sense in giving space to these overlooked individuals for the critical and historical insights their examined lives afford. Mr. Tucker’s quite detailed biographical sketch is riveting, for instance, on the subject of how American abstract painting galvanized certain British artists of his generation. Like all good tributes, these offerings impart a sense of relish at the persistence of the creative spirit.