In memoriam, July 2015


Shahryar Adle, the Iranian archaeologist and pioneer of the country’s heritage registration, died on 21 June, age 72. Born in Tehran, Adle studied at the Sorbonne School of historic studies and also took a degree in the history of Islamic arts and art history at the Ecole du Louvre. He joined the French National Centre for Scientific Research, concentrating on Iran, Afghanistan and central Asia (his doctoral thesis had been on the 16th-century Safavid conquests of Khorasan and Herat). In the 1970s he became the head of the Unesco Committee for the Compilation of History of Civilisations of Central Asia. After the 1979 Iranian revolution, he was engaged to register Iranian works of art and culture for the Unesco World Heritage List. He undertook archaeological fieldwork in Khorasan and, in Iran, at Semnan’s Bastan, Rey and Bam in Kerman.

Amy L. Brandt, the curator of Modern and contemporary art at the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia, died on 15 May, aged 37. Brandt took her BA from the University of Michigan, her MA from Tufts University, her PhD from the City University of New York and a Licence from the University of Paris IV, the Sorbonne. Before joining the Chrysler Museum, she had held various appointments at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. At the Chrysler she oversaw the organisation of the McKinnon Wing of Modern and contemporary art and organised more than a dozen exhibitions, including “30 Americans” (2012) that displayed works of art from the Rubell Collection by African-American artists.

Nek Chand, who created the Rock Garden, an outdoor museum of folk sculptures in northern India, died on 12 June, aged 90. Born in the village of Barian Kalan in what is know Pakistan, Chand moved, after India’s independence in 1947, to the city of Chandigarh where he worked as a road inspector. He started to build the garden in the 1950s, using unusual rocks, construction waste and found objects, and it eventually expanded to cover several acres, with some additions being made with government grants. Opened to the public in 1976, Chand was appointed its first paid director.

Mary Ellen Mark, the American photographer of the poor and disenfranchised, died on 25 May, aged 75. Born in Philadelphia, Mark studied painting and art history at the University of Pennsylvania from which she graduated in 1962, but soon became a freelance photographer. She chronicled the lives of comedians, transvestites, Vietnam War protesters and feminists in New York and prostitutes in Seattle. She went on to photograph women in maximum security wards, brothels in Mumbai, Mother Teresa, Indian circus life and the Damm family who lived a precarious existence in the desert north of Los Angeles. She shot regularly for Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Life, the New Yorker, Paris Match and Stern. She also made portraits—of the actors Marlon Brando, Dennis Hopper and Sean Penn, the literary luminaries Martin Amis and Maya Angelou and the music stars Johnny Cash and Boy George.

Miriam Schapiro, the Canadian-born US-based pioneer feminist artist, died on 20 June, aged 91. Born in Toronto, Schapiro studied at the State University of Iowa and in 1951 moved to New York where she became an Abstract Expressionist painter. In the 1970s, she began teaching in the art department of the University of California, San Diego, and, with the artist Judy Chicago, founded the Feminist Art Program at the newly established California Institute of the Arts, Valencia. From this period, she made works she called “femmages”—assemblage, découpage and photomontage—that employed “women’s techniques” such as sewing, piercing, hooking and appliqué. Her aim was to make art that was not private and introspective but that would publicly raise women’s political awareness.