Austrian influential artist West dies at 65

Austrian influential artist West dies at 65

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Austrian influential artist West dies at 65

Franz West, Viennese artist Franz West has died at the age of 65.

Highly influential Viennese artist Franz West has died at the age of 65, according to the BBC.

The Franz West Foundation, Gagosian Gallery, Galerie Meyer Kainer and Galerie Eva Presenhuber released a joint statement, saying West “charmed, influenced and inspired his contemporaries, students and followers and all those who encountered him.” West, born in 1947, came of age during the Viennese Actionist movement in the mid-1960s. His early touchable sculptures, or “Adaptives,” are seen as a reaction to that movement.

The artist continued to make plaster and papier-mâché sculptures, and in the mid-1990s, began making bulbous tubes and large-scale wiry loops, often with seats, such as “The Ego and the Id” in New York’s Central Park in 2009-10.

The work tends to share a sort of “bad art” flavor with Jean Dubuffet, the bodily roughness of Rebecca Warren, the playful gesture of Jonathan Lasker and the high-art appeal of Ernesto Neto.

From the mid-1980s on, West worked with furniture design, further developing an interactive quality which would later manifest itself in relational aesthetics.

“I really do not think in such categories between furniture and sculptures,” he was quoted as saying by New York Times Magazine in 2010. Art critic Ken Johnson once called West “a godfather of the lately popular grunge aesthetic, enormously influential,” though he also said West “may be one of the world’s most overrated artists.”

In contrast to Johnson’s ambiguity, the art world rated West well. West appeared frequently at Documenta and the Venice Biennale, winning the Biennale’s Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, one of the highest possible honors for a living artist, just last year.