Monday, September 5, 2011

R.I.P. William

My friend William died yesterday at age 80. His mind and spirit, and until recently, his body rivaled that of a thirty-year old. William was many things: a businessman, a husband, and a father to name a few. I knew him as a conceptual artist. No, he never had a show at MOMA or even in the Big Apple, but he did show anywhere and everywhere he could find a venue.

But it is not his success or lack of it in the art business that distinguishes him so. It is the quality of his concepts and his good nature. He achieved irony without the ill-tempered pettiness so prevalent in serious recent art school grads. He was skeptical and questioning in his art without slipping into cynicism or worse, nihilism. His curiosity never failed him. He didn't always have answers, but he always had some of the most intriguing questions. William's art did a good job of questioning the obvious.

He lived his life the way an artist should live his life. He ran joyfully and hard, right until the end--still planning books and shows and projects that he knew he could never complete, but that never stopped his planning.

 I envision him as a great track athlete who knows he must run THROUGH that tape at the finish line, not stop or slow down when it comes into view. He didn't look back and never lost his generous spirit. He will live on, if those of us left behind are so moved by his example that we too run right through our finish line tapes without slowing.

I have to leave this eulogy now and work on my latest novel. It's what William would have done.

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