Noah Davis, the painter, installation artist and founder of the Underground Museum in Los Angeles, died on 29 August, aged 32. Born in Seattle, Davis studied at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York. His work had featured in group shows at the Studio Museum in Harlem and came to wider public notice in 2008 when it was included in the Rubell Family Collection’s travelling exhibition 30 Americans (opening this month at the Detroit Institute of Arts, 18 October- 18 January 2016). In 2012 he founded the Underground Museum in a row of shop fronts in the Arlington Heights neighbourhood of the city. The museum’s name alluded to the secret network by which slaves escaped to the north and Canada in the Antebellum era. Its purpose was to provide free exhibitions of contemporary art to a culturally deprived public and to give Davis a forum for his own work, which commented on many aspects of the African-American experience of poverty, deprivation and exclusion.
Claus Moser, Lord Moser, a fundraiser for the British Museum, died on 4 September, aged 92. His family fled the Nazis to settle in England in 1936. Moser was a graduate in economics of the London School of Economics and Political Science, and served in the RAF during the Second World War. After the war, he worked as a statistical adviser to the prime ministers Harold Wilson, Edward
Heath and Jim Callaghan, before joining N. M. Rothschild & Sons as a director and vice-chairman. He served on the governing bodies or boards of many institutions, including the Royal Opera House and the Royal Academy of Music. Among many other positions, he was warden of Wadham College, Oxford (1984-93), and pro-vice-chancellor of the university (1991-93). He was made a life peer in 2001. He was the chairman of the British Museum Development Trust from 1993 to 2003, and later chairman emeritus. The trust is, after the government, one of the main sources of income for the museum. In recognition of his work, the museum dedicated a multi-purpose conference room in his name.
John Perreault, the art critic of New York’s Village Voice and the SoHo Weekly News, died on 6 September, aged 78. Perreault trained as a poet under Kenneth Koch at the New School for Social Research in Manhattan and exhibited his paintings in Greenwich Village in the 1960s and 70s. On the recommendation of the poet John Ashbery, he wrote art criticism for Artnews and in 1966 he was made the art critic of the Village Voice. He was also a regular contributor to the SoHo Weekly News’s gallery guide until it folded in 1982. His articles attempted to make sense of the swiftly changing art scene in those years. He was subsequently the chief curator of the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York (1983-84), the director and curator of the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, Staten Island (1985-88), the senior curator of the American Craft Museum (now the Museums of Arts and Design, 1990-93) and the artistic director and later executive director of Urban Glass, a Brooklyn workshop and gallery.
Marion “Kippy” Boulton Stroud, the founder and artistic director of the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, died on 22 August, aged 76. A native of the city, Stroud took her BA and MA in art history from the University of Pennsylvania. She worked for Prints in Progress, a printmaking workshop for inner-city young people, and was also the first director of art sales and rentals at the Philadelphia Art Museum. In 1977 she founded the Fabric Workshop in a 5,000 sq. ft area of an industrial building. There she hosted residencies for artists freely to experiment. Among those who have taken part are Robert Venturi, Cai Guo Qiang, Claes Oldenburg, Kiki Smith, Marina Abramovic, Doug Aitken, Louise Bourgeois, Bill Viola and Howard Hodgkin. The institution became a museum in 1996 to house the artists’ works, and now occupies 35,000 sq. ft of new space, including a lobby by Jorge Pardo.