Art critic Dave Hickey, known for book ‘Air Guitar’, dies

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Dave Hickey, a distinguished American artwork critic whose essays lined matters starting from Siegfried & Roy to Norman Rockwell, has died.

His books, together with “The Invisible Dragon: Essays on Beauty” (1993) and “Air Guitar: Essays on Art & Democracy” (1997), received him legions of followers past the artwork world consultants.

His trendy prose, brash criticism of taste-making establishments like museums and universities and equal embrace of works thought of each high- and low-brow left a long-lasting affect on a era of artists and critics.

“There is no one like him. He belongs in the canon of American nonfiction prose,” his biographer Daniel Oppenheimer wrote in “Far From Respectable: Dave Hickey and His Art,” revealed final June.

He died Nov. 12 at residence in Santa Fe, New Mexico, after years of coronary heart illness, stated Libby Lumpkin, an artwork historian who was married to him. He was 82.

David Hickey was born in 1938 in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up transferring round Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and California. After hopscotching by way of graduate college applications, he dropped out and opened a recent artwork gallery in Austin, Texas. He moved to New York in 1971, the place he ran extra galleries, edited the publication Art in America and wrote for the Village Voice and Rolling Stone journal. His work and pursuits immersed him in an inventive group that included Andy Warhol, Dennis Hopper and David Bowie.

Art critic Dave Hickey typically defended the playing tradition and way of life of Las Vegas.
John Sciulli/Getty Images for Art Los Angeles Contemporary

Hickey later moved to Las Vegas to show on the University of Las Vegas, Nevada. In the essays revealed in “Air Guitar” about how artwork ought to match into broader tradition, he championed Las Vegas as essentially the most American of American cities for its detachment from conventional social hierarchies.

America “is a very poor lens through which to view Las Vegas, while Las Vegas is a wonderful lens through which to view America. What is hidden elsewhere exists here in quotidian visibility,” he wrote.

Hickey challenged the concept the Strip’s neon lights had been someway inauthentic, pushed again in opposition to notions that Las Vegas leisure was culturally irrelevant and “especially enjoyed a good smoke and gambling spree at Eureka Casino on East Sahara Avenue, where he was often spotted with a cigarette while jabbing at slot machine buttons,” in line with a Las Vegas Review-Journal obituary.

Dave Hickey (left) with fellow artwork critic Peter Schjeldahl in May 2008.
Libby Lumpkin by way of AP

In “The Invisible Dragon” and later works, Hickey’s endorsement of “beauty” as the final word arbiter of inventive worth ignited a conflict along with his contemporaries centered on twentieth century conceptual artwork’s concept and which means, who most popular to deconstruct the the explanation why folks discover issues to be lovely.

“He chooses to overlook the view that beauty may be merely what the ruling economic and social elites say it is. In the process, his adversaries argue, he substitutes his own bad-boy outsider judgments for those of narrow-minded art professionals,” The New York Times wrote in a 1999 profile of Hickey.

Lumpkin stated her husband by no means meant to champion traditionalism as his critics claimed.

“A lot of Dave’s work was misinterpreted. The assumption was made that the beauty he was talking about was something very old fashioned, but he was a supporter of very conceptual artists from the beginning,” she stated.

Dave Hickey (proper) spent his remaining years being a professor on the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
Denise Truscello/WireImage

His tastes had been certainly eclectic. He sang the praises of artists and figures in fashionable tradition starting from Norman Rockwell to Robert Mapplethorpe to Ellsworth Kelly. His essays lined basketball participant Julius Erving, reruns of the tv collection “Perry Mason,” and outlaw nation music.

In 2001, the MacArthur Foundation awarded him a “genius” grant for his physique of labor. He was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame in 2003 and received a Peabody Award for a 2006 documentary about Andy Warhol.

Hickey and Lumpkin decamped to Santa Fe in 2010 and accepted positions on the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Lumpkin stated Hickey thought of educating amongst his most essential work and legacy.

“He was a real intellectual without being a snob and he trusted his students to be able to think theoretically. When you put your trust in students like that, they get it and they make good art,” Lumpkin stated.