As we approach the changing of another year, we’re looking back at the year that has passed and reflecting on what we’ve gained and what we’ve lost. In 2021, the art world lost important formative figures like Clint Willour, Edith Baker, Geraldine Lee Epstein Hooks, Frederick Baldwin, and Ann Harithas. Added to this list are those we lost all too soon, including Jana Perez, Dr. Mark Roglán, and Adán Hernández.
We take this time to remember those who have passed and the legacy that they have left behind. Below is a chronological list of obituaries that have appeared in Glasstire in 2021, with excerpts from the original obituaries.
FebruaryJana Perez, 1966 – 2021
Artist and photographer Jana Perez, part of the Denton, Texas duo Perform La Femme, has died. She was 55. Perez was diagnosed with cancer last year, successfully beating the disease after a year of fighting it, and according to “best friend, creative collaborator and business partner” Angilee Wilkerson, died from complications after contracting Covid-19. At the time of her death, Perez was Director of Operations at High Bandwidth.
Clint Willour, a giant of the Texas art scene, died of cancer on Thursday, February 4, 2021. He was 79. Throughout his nearly 50-year career, the impact Mr. Willour had on the transformation of Houston into a destination for art cannot be overstated. He arrived in the city in 1970, when its contemporary art scene was fledgling, and his ethos and generosity continued to influence on the city’s museums, nonprofits, and galleries until his death.
Kind, elegant and infinitely generous of spirit, Dallas-based Edith Baker epitomized the best of what a gallerist should be. Her death at the age of 97 marks the passing of a literal legend. As a gallerist, Edith helped shape the Dallas art scene, ultimately receiving a Legend Award in 1992 from the Dallas Visual Art Center, the forerunner to the Dallas Contemporary.
Geraldine “Geri” Lee Epstein Hooks, 1935-2021
Geraldine “Geri” Lee Epstein Hooks, longtime Houston gallerist and owner of Hooks-Epstein Galleries, died peacefully in her sleep at her Houston home on Monday, June 7; she was 86. The gallery, located at 2631 Colquitt, Houston, was established in 1969 at 1200 Bissonnet “in a big old wonderful house,” as described by Hooks in a Houston Chronicle article.
Dr. Mark A. Roglán, the Director of the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, died at age 50 of cancer. This year marked Dr. Roglán’s 20th anniversary with the Meadows, which leads the nation in the exhibition, research and education in the arts and culture of Spain. Dr. Roglán organized major acquisitions for the Meadows, including works by Miquel Barceló, Goya, and Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta, and in 2015 he oversaw the Museum’s 50th anniversary with major exhibitions that brought significant Spanish artworks to the U.S. for the first time.
Dave Hickey, the widely known writer and cultural critic, died at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico on November 12th, following a long struggle with heart disease. He was 82. Dubbed by Newsweek as “The Bad Boy of Art Criticism,” Hickey was a writer through and through. Hickey’s writing appeared in many mainstream and art-centric outlets, including ARTnews, the Village Voice, Rolling Stone, Harper’s, Vanity Fair, and Glasstire, among others.
Frederick C. Baldwin, 1929-2021
Frederick C. Baldwin, the Houston-based photojournalist, educator, and co-founder of FotoFest, died Wednesday, December 15, 2021 at the age of 92. As a photojournalist, Mr. Baldwin’s work spanned decades and documented people and places around the world. In 1983, Mr. Baldwin, along with his wife Wendy Watriss and European gallery director Petra Benteler, founded FotoFest.
Ann O’Connor William Harithas, the Houston-based artist, curator, art collector, and patron, died Thursday, December 23, 2021 at the age of 80. Although Mrs. Harithas’ collage work as an artist has been exhibited locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally, she may be best known for her vigorous efforts to support and create new arts organizations in and around Houston. Undoubtedly, she has impacted generations of Texas artists and creatives.
Dan Phillips, the Huntsville-based artist, architect, and educator, died on December 21, 2021 after a long battle with cancer. Shortly before he died, he received the 2021 Legacy Award from the Sam Houston State University (SHSU) College of Arts & Media. A full obituary for Mr. Phillips is forthcoming.
Dr. David Lee Jacobs: 1945- September 2021
Photo historian and Professor at University of Houston for over 20 years of his 40-year academic life.
We have lost a lot of great people in 2021.