News, notes and follow-ups

Category: artists

Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington dies in Mexico at 94


Leonora Carrington, a British-born Surrealist painter and sculptor who is widely known for her haunting, dreamlike works, has died in Mexico. She was 94.

Mexico's National Arts Council confirmed the death, though not the cause. Mexico City's J. Garcia Lopez funeral home said Thursday that Carrington's body had arrived for a wake.

Considered one of the last of the original Surrealists, was one of a number of artistic and political emigres who arrived in Mexico in the 1940s.

A full obituary will follow at

RELATED: Surrealism hits the streets in Mexico City

--Associated Press

Photos, from top: Bronze sculptures by artist Leonora Carrington were exhibited along Mexico City's Avenue Reforma in 2008; earlier this year, Carrington celebrated her 94th birthday at a Mexico City museum. Credits: Susana González / For The Times; European Press Agency / Sashenka Gutierrez


Western artist Harry Jackson dies in Wyoming at 87


Wyoming artist Harry Jackson, known for both his works of abstract expressionism and images of the American West, died Monday at a hospital in Sheridan, Wyo. He was 87.

He was born in Chicago in 1924 but made his way to Wyoming in his early teens to work on a ranch. He was a combat artist for the Marines during World War II.

Jackson created a 21-foot bronze sculpture of actor John Wayne that was installed in 1984 in front of the Great Western Savings and Loan building on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills that is now headquarters for Larry Flynt Publications.

Other sculptures and paintings by Jackson can be found at museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum and in collections owned by the Saudi Arabian royal family and Queen Elizabeth II.

The Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Wyoming contains the largest museum collection of his work in the United States.

More later at

-- Associated Press

Photo: Harry Jackson's bronze statute of John Wayne. Credit: Los Angeles Times


Mouseketeer Lonnie Burr recalls Disney animator Bill Justice

Lonnie Burr, an original Mouseketeer on TV's "The Mickey Mouse Club," says he was saddened to hear about the death of former Walt Disney Studios animator and Imagineer Bill Justice, who died of natural causes Thursday in a nursing home in Santa Monica at age 97.

In an e-mail to The Times on Friday, Burr wrote:

"Most people do not know that the warm, funny raconteur Bill knew Walt liked to discover things himself, so when there was need for a 'Pencil Song' on the upcoming Mickey Mouse Club in 1955, Bill had his talented actor/singer/song-writing, tennis buddy, Jimmie Dodd, write the song and had him sing it for some execs and Walt in the latter's office.

"Walt said, 'He's our new Mickey Mouse Club host!'

"Bill smiled knowing that he had helped his buddy and helped Walt find him."

The Times' obituary on Bill Justice is here.

--Dennis McLellan 

Photos: Jimmie Dodd, Lonnie Burr and the rest of the Mouseketeers (top) and Disney animator Bill Justice (below). Credit: Walt Disney Co.


Photographer Milton Rogovin dies at 101

Rogovin Milton Rogovin, a social documentary photographer who built a life's work by looking through a lens at people who were ignored by others, died Tuesday at 101.

Rogovin was in hospice care after a brief illness and died at his home in Buffalo surrounded by family, said his son, Mark.

After being blacklisted in the communist scare of the 1950s, Rogovin dedicated his life to photography. His pictures documented the lives of the poor, the dispossessed, the working class -- in particular those living in a six-square-block neighborhood in Buffalo near his optometry practice.

"He referred to these people as the 'forgotten ones,' " his son said. "These were poor and working people who were not ever in the limelight."

Rogovin found "forgotten ones" on New York Indian reservations and in far-flung corners of China, Zimbabwe, France, Scotland and Spain.

Born in New York City in 1909, Rogovin moved to Buffalo in 1938 to practice as an optometrist. He married Anne Setters in 1942, the same year he bought his first camera and was drafted into the U.S. Army. After returning from the war, he organized an optometrists union in Buffalo and served as a librarian in the city's Communist Party. In 1957, he was called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

"Rogovin, Named as Top Red in Buffalo, Balks at Nearly All Queries," read the headline the next day in the hometown Buffalo Evening News.

With his optometry business sliced in half because of negative publicity, Rogovin turned to photography, although he never studied it formally.

In 1972, Rogovin turned his lens closer to home, the lower west side of Buffalo, one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in the state.

Although he was first suspected of being a police officer or FBI agent, Rogovin eventually gained their trust, shooting 1,000 portraits over three years and always making sure to get a copy back to the subject.

In 1984, he returned to the neighborhood, tracked down his original subjects and photographed as many as he could. He did the same in 1992 when he was 83 and recovering from heart surgery and prostate cancer. He worked until 2002.

-- Associated Press

Photo: Milton Rogovin in a 2000 photo taken at Buffalo subway station where several of his photos are shown. Credit: David Duprey / Associated Press

Fashion photographer Garry Gross dies at 73

Garry Gross, a fashion photographer known for his 1970s nude images of Brooke Shields, taken when she was 10, has died in Manhattan, his sister said Tuesday. He was 73.

His sister, Linda Gross, said he died Nov. 30 from a heart attack at his home.

Though Garry Gross earned his reputation as a celebrity image-maker — his pictures graced the covers of albums by Whitney Houston and Lou Reed — in 2002 he switched careers and became certified as a dog trainer.

Most recently, he had turned to photographing portraits of canines. But it was the 1970s images of Shields that marked his career most significantly.

In 1975, the actress' mother, Teri Shields, consented to allow her daughter, then a child model, to be photographed nude for a Playboy Press publication. She and her mother earned $450 for the shoot, which included a full-frontal nude image of the girl standing in a bathtub.

When Shields' acting career took off years later, she said she was embarrassed by the continued circulation of the images. At 17, Shields sued Gross in New York to stop him from selling the images, arguing they were an invasion of her privacy and caused her embarrassment.

But after a lower court granted her an injunction, the state's Court of Appeals decided 4 to 3 that the teenager could not break the contract signed by her mother that allowed Gross to take the pictures.

The court said Gross could continue to market the photos except to pornographic publications.

The photo shoot continued to make headlines decades later. In 2009, one of the images, appropriated by American artist Richard Prince for a work, had to be withdrawn by the Tate Modern museum in London after Scotland Yard warned that the image could break obscenity laws.

Gross was born in New York City on Nov. 6, 1937. After college, he studied under photographers Francesco Scavullo, Lisette Model and Richard Avedon.

After winning the court case against Shields in 1981, Gross went to Italy, where he worked for an agency. Upon returning to the United States, he left the fashion industry and became a dog trainer in 2002.

--Associated Press

Comics artist John D'Agostino Sr. dies at 81

John D'Agostino Sr., whose work in comic books ranged from Archie and Jughead to the Incredible Hulk and G.I. Joe, among others, has died. He was 81.

D'Agostino died Sunday of bone cancer in Ansonia, Conn., publisher Archie Comics said Tuesday in a statement.

Born in Italy in 1929, D'Agostino immigrated to the United States and got his first job as head colorist at New York City's Timely Comics, the forerunner of Marvel. He worked with Stan Lee, who went on to co-create numerous memorable superheroes, including Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four.

While working at Timely, D'Agostino — whose nickname was "Jon" — helped supervise another artist, Stan Goldberg, who later become synonymous with the high school adventures of Archie, Reggie, Veronica and Betty at Riverdale High School.

D'Agostino later joined Goldberg, hired in 1965 by Archie Comics managing editor Richard Goldwater, and began a long career drawing numerous characters.

Besides Jughead, D'Agostino also drew for titles including "My Little Margie," "G.I. Joe, A Real American Hero," "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" and "Sonic the Hedgehog," among others. D'Agostino also did the letters for the first three issues of Marvel's "The Amazing Spider-Man."

"Jon was concerned about doing the best job possible. He would always be available to help young artists improve their artwork and draw the Archie cast of characters," Archie co-president and editor-in-chief Victor Gorelick said.

D'Agostino's latest work in comics is scheduled to be published in December, and several of his covers will be seen through 2011.

-- Associated Press


Margaret Burroughs, a founder of the DuSable Museum of African American History, dies at 93


Margaret Burroughs, an artist who co-founded one of the oldest African American history museums in the country, has died. She was 93.

Burroughs died Sunday in her sleep at her Chicago home, said Raymond Ward, a spokesman for the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago.

President Obama said in a statement that Burroughs was "widely admired for her contributions to American culture as an esteemed artist, historian, educator and mentor."

Burroughs founded the museum with her husband and others on Chicago's South Side in 1961.

The museum has artwork, exhibits on civil rights and a display on Chicago's first black mayor, Harold Washington. It was named after Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, widely regarded as Chicago's first permanent resident.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune: "Margaret Burroughs: Co-founder of DuSable Museum and prominent artist."

-- Associated Press

Photo: Margaret Burroughs in Chicago in February. Credit: Heather Charles / Chicago Tribune

One year ago: Charis Wilson

Charis Wilson was a writer and model who for 10 years worked closely with Edward Weston, the famed art photographer and her husband. She died one year ago at age 95.

A free spirit who took up with Weston when she was 20 and he was 48, Charis (pronounced CARE-ess) Wilson posed for a number of his photographs, many of them nudes, but her involvement with his career went far beyond modeling. Wilson edited articles on photography by Weston and traveled extensively with him for his work.

One of these trips involved the making of the book "California and the West" (1940), which features nearly 100 photos of Western landscapes captured by Weston and described by Wilson.

The 28-year age difference between Wilson and Weston gave their romance "a Bohemian, May to December quality," photography dealer and historian Stephen White said in a 2007 interview with the Los Angeles Times. "Charis brought an essence of youth, when Weston was starting to wear out."

Their love dulled after a decade, however, and Wilson left Weston in 1945, divorcing a year later. She remarried and had children with Noel Harris, a labor activist who lived in Eureka, Calif. That marriage also ended in divorce.

Wilson wrote to Weston throughout her life despite their separation. At his request, she brought her children to see him just a few years before his death. She published a memoir in 1998 entitled "Through Another Lens: My Years With Edward Weston."

For more on the work Wilson and Weston produced, read Charis Wilson's obituary by former Times staff writer Mary Rourke.

-- Michael Farr

One year ago: Jeanne-Claude


Jeanne-Claude was a flame-red-haired artist whose works of art with her husband Christo garnered worldwide attention in the 1960s and '70s for their massive size and scope. Jeanne-Claude, who like her husband only used a first name, died one year ago at age 74.

Among their epic installations was "Running Fence," installed in 1976, which consisted of 2,050 white fabric panels extending across 24 1/2 miles in Sonoma and Marin counties.

Another was "The Umbrellas," a bi-continental project made up of 1,760 gigantic, custom-made yellow umbrellas along an 18-mile stretch of Interstate 5 through the Tejon Pass and 1,340 blue umbrellas in Ibaraki, Japan.

The husband-and-wife team preferred temporary installations that were taken down after a couple of weeks. Like a rainbow, Jeanne-Claude once reasoned, a beautiful thing becomes just normal if it's there all the time.

For decades, Jeanne-Claude did not actually receive credit for her contributions to the art. It wasn't until the 1990s that the couple began putting both their names on their work. Still, she frequently made clear in interviews that she was not an artist when they first met.

"I became an artist out of love for Christo," she said. "If he had been a dentist, then I would have become one too."

For more on the artistic couple, read Jeanne-Claude's obituary that appeared in The Times. Also, see a photo gallery of their work.

--Michael Farr

Photo: Jeanne-Claude and Christo speak in 2008 at a gallery displaying their "Over The River" project in Denver. Credit: Associated Press

One year ago: Michael Kabotie


Michael Kabotie was a Hopi artist and jeweler who was an innovator in the Native American fine arts movement. He died one year ago at age 67 from complications related to the H1N1 influenza.

A native Arizonan, Kabotie's work was often exhibited at Phoenix's Heard Museum. He also had connections in Southern California, teaching Hopi overlay techniques at the Idyllwild Arts summer program since 1983.

In a statement, Idyllwild President William Lowman called Kabotie "an extraordinary artist of the Hopi tradition, but also an extraordinary artist in any culture."

Kabotie studied engineering at the University of Arizona, but he left to pursue art and launched a career in 1966 with a one-man show at the Heard Museum.

Of his bold canvases, which often portrayed traditional Hopi life in contemporary media, the quiet artist once said: "My paintings speak a lot louder than me."

For more, read Michael Kabotie's obituary by The Times. Also, see his personal website, which contains samples of his work.

-- Michael Farr

Photo: Michael Kabotie. Credit: Joel Muzzy / Heard Museum

One year ago: Irving Penn


Irving Penn, who died one year ago at age 92, was one of the first commercial photographers to cross the chasm that separated commercial and art photography.

Penn, who began his work in the 1940s, had a "less is more" style that he applied to all his subjects -- models, cigarette butts, designer dresses. He isolated his subject against a plain backdrop, allowing for scarcely a prop and building a work of graphic perfection through his printing process.

Critics considered the results to be icons, not just images, each one greater than the person or object in the frame.

His most familiar photographs are the cosmetics ads he shot for Clinique that have appeared in magazines since 1968. Each image is a balancing act of face-cream jars, astringent bottles and bars of soap that threatens to collapse.

His work has appeared at New York's Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and he shot more than 150 covers for Vogue magazine.

"His approach was never obvious," Phyllis Posnick, who collaborated with Penn at Vogue, told The Times. "He would make us go further and dig deeper and look beyond the obvious solution to a photograph to find something that was unique. He had a great wit, and you see some of that in his pictures."

Penn's brother, the noted director Arthur Penn, whose films included "Bonnie and Clyde," died last month.

For more on the famous photographer, read Irving Penn's obituary by The Times. Also, see a photo gallery of his work.

-- Michael Farr

Photo: Irving Penn in a 1943 self-portrait.

Varnette Honeywood, an artist whose vibrant work appeared in 'The Cosby Show,' dies at 59


Varnette Honeywood, an artist whose paintings adorned the walls of the set of "The Cosby Show" and whose strikingly colorful images depicted tender moments in black family life, has died. She was 59.

Honeywood died Sunday in a Los Angeles hospital after a two-year battle with cancer, her cousin Jennell Allen said.

Several of Honeywood's paintings were placed on the walls of the set of the hit NBC-TV comedy series "The Cosby Show" and Bill Cosby worked with her on a subsequent book series, "Little Bill."

A full obituary will follow at

-- Associated Press

Photo: Varnette Honeywood in 2003 with schoolchildren and a book she illustrated. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

Profiles of military personnel killed in Iraq
and Afghanistan.


Lives in Pictures »

Search Paid Obituaries »

First Name
Last Name
Powered by ©

Yesterday's Obituaries