Art historian and writer Thomas McEvilley died this morning at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering hospital in New York. According to an online tribute posted by the poet Charles Bernstein, McEvilley’s wife confirmed that the cause was complications from cancer.
McEvilley was a well-known and influential art critic, and in 2005 he founded the MFA Art Criticism and Writing program at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He has been a contributing editor to Artforum as well as editor in chief of Contemporanea, and over his long career he wrote numerous monographs, essays, and reviews on artists such as Kara Walker, Paul McCarthy, Pat Steir, Yves Klein, and James Lee Byars. A distinguished lecturer in art history at Rice University, McEvilley was the recipient of many awards, including the Semple Prize at the University of Cincinnati, a National Endowment for the Arts Critics grant, a Fulbright fellowship, and the 1993 Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism from the College Art Association. According to Bernstein, at the time of his death McEvilley was at work on a study of the Greek anthology.