Dave Hickey, an art critic famous for "Air Guitar", dies

2021-11-26 08:50:20 By : Ms. Zoyie Wu

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The famous American art critic Dave Hickey's articles cover a variety of topics from Siegfried & Roy to Norman Rockwell, dead .

His works, including "Invisible Dragon: Prose About Beauty" (1993) and "Air Guitar: Prose About Art and Democracy" (1997), have won him many fans besides art experts.

His fashionable essays, crude criticism of taste institutions such as museums and universities, and equal support for elegant and vulgar works have had a lasting influence on a generation of artists and critics.

"No one is like him. He belongs to the classic of American non-fiction prose," his biographer Daniel Oppenheimer wrote in "Far from Respect: Dave Hickey and His Art" published last June.

Art historian Libby Lumpkin, who married him, said that he died on November 12 at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, due to years of heart disease. He is 82 years old.

David Hickey was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1938 and grew up near Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and California. After completing his graduate program, he dropped out and opened a contemporary art gallery in Austin, Texas. He moved to New York in 1971, where he operated more galleries, edited American art publications, and wrote for Country Voice and Rolling Stone magazine. His work and interests have immersed him in an art community that includes Andy Warhol, Dennis Hopper, and David Bowie.

Hickey later moved to Las Vegas to teach at the University of Las Vegas in Nevada. In an article published on "Air Guitar" on how art should fit into the wider culture, he advocated that Las Vegas is the most American city in the United States because it breaks away from the traditional social hierarchy.

The United States "is a very bad shot of viewing Las Vegas, and Las Vegas is a great shot of viewing the United States. What is hidden elsewhere is in everyday visibility," he wrote.

Hickey questioned the idea that the neon lights on the Las Vegas Strip are to some extent unreal, refuting the notion that Las Vegas entertainment has nothing to do with culture, "especially the Eureka Casino on the East Sahara Strip enjoys good Of smoking and gambling binge, where he is often found holding a cigarette while poking the button of a slot machine," according to the obituary of Las Vegas Review Magazine.

In "The Invisible Dragon" and later works, Hickey’s recognition of "beauty" as the ultimate arbiter of artistic value triggered a conflict with his contemporaries’ attention to the theory and meaning of conceptual art in the 20th century. They prefer to deconstruct people’s search The cause of things. is beautiful.

"He chose to ignore the view that beauty may be just what the ruling economic and social elites said. In the process, his opponent argued that he replaced the narrow-minded art major with his own bad boy outsider judgment. People’s judgment,” the New York Times wrote in the 1999 Hickey profile.

Lempkin said her husband never intended to support traditionalism as critics said.

"A lot of Dave's work has been misunderstood. People assume that the beauty he is talking about is a very outdated thing, but he has supported very conceptual artists from the beginning," she said.

His taste is indeed eclectic. He praised artists and characters in popular culture, from Norman Rockwell to Robert Mapplethorpe to Ellsworth Kelly. His articles cover the basketball player Julius Irving, the rerun of the TV series "Perry Mason", and the outlawing of country music.

In 2001, the MacArthur Foundation awarded him the "Genius" award in recognition of his work. He was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame in 2003 and won the Peabody Award for his 2006 documentary about Andy Warhol.

Hickey and Lumpkin left Santa Fe in 2010 and accepted positions at the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque. Lumpkin said that Hickey believes that teaching is his most important work and legacy.

"He is a real intellectual, not a snob. He believes that his students can think theoretically. When you trust students like this, they will understand and make excellent works of art," Lumpkin said .