Houston Conwill, 1947-2016

Houston Conwill , a prominent sculptor who specialized in large installations, died November 14 at age 69. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Conwill joined the U.S. Air Force in 1966 and did a tour of duty in the Vietnam War before his enlistment ended in 1970. He then went to Howard University, receiving a BA in fine arts in 1973, and later earned an MA in fine arts from the University of Southern California.

Conwill’s works, which largely depict different elements of African-American culture, are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Hirschhorn in Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

“What distinguishes Mr. Conwill’s career is how it combines emotion and politics with historical, visual, and architectural research, ” Steven Nelson, who directs UCLA’s African Studies Center, told The New York Times . “Mr. Conwill’s legacy resides in his unique ability to merge ritual, cutting-edge art and rigorous research in the creation of works that reframe African-America identity while inspiring communication and reminding us of our humanness.”

“New Calypso” in Miami’s Park West Metromover Station, 1994, by: Houston Conwill, Estella Conwill Majozo, and Joseph DePace

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