As you may know, Chicago gallery owner Donald Young, who organized In the Spirit of Walser, the wonderful series of Walser-inspired shows at his gallery on Michigan Avenue this year, passed away on April 12 at age 69. Following are some of the articles that marked his passing:
“Donald Young (1942-2012),” Art in America (April 16, 2012)
“Contemporary Art Dealer Donald Young Dies at 69,” Bad at Sports: Contemporary Art Talk (April 15, 2012)
“Renowned Chicago Art Dealer Donald Young Dies,” Chicago Gallery News Blog (April 20, 2012)
“Donald Young dies – Chicago gallery owner an influential force in modern art,” Chicago Tribune (April 16, 2012)
“Donald Young, Pioneering Chicago Contemporary Art Dealer, Dies at 69,” GalleristNY (April 13, 2012)
“The Lives and Deaths of Donalds Foster and Young,” The Stranger (April 17, 2012)
“Donald Young,” Art Dealers Association of America notice, New York Times (April 17, 2012)
Many of these notices remark on Young’s many years in Chicago. I’m sorry to say that I never got to know Young; our times in Chicago didn’t really overlap. He left Chicago for Seattle around the same time I arrived in the early 90s, and he returned around the time I started spending most of my time elsewhere. Now that I’m back more regularly, he’s gone. Sigh.
I did get the chance to visit his gallery a number of times since his return, first on West Washington and then after the move to Michigan Avenue, though I was unaware of his interest in Walser until this year. I finally met him for the first time at the Walser Symposium he helped organize at the Goethe Institut back in February, and I was struck by his kind and soft-spoken manner. It was not surprising that he found a sympathetic spirit in Walser, of whom he wrote: “He is a modernist but at the same time unlike any other modernist. He can be self-effacing, indignant, curious, happy, but always about the most modest people, things, or occurrences.” But there was nothing modest about Young’s accomplishments.
Regarding In the Spirit, the Visualist recently reported on the latest show, which opened April 14. An earlier piece appeared on the Art21.org blog. The show runs through April, and then resumes in the fall with a final show featuring Rodney Graham and Josiah McElheny.
If you’re in Chicago now or this fall, make sure you visit the gallery and thank the staff for the proprietor’s contributions to the world of art and the world of Walser.
ADDITION 4/29/12: I visited the gallery this weekend and learned that the Rodney Graham and Josiah McElheny show is likely to take place in the fall rather than in the summer, perhaps to coincide with the publication planned with Christine Burgin. I’ve changed the text above to reflect the change in schedule. Also, another obituary appeared in today’s Chicago Sun-Times, noting the Walser exhibition.