Richard Hunt, sculptor whose public works explored civil rights, dies aged 88

Richard Hunt, sculptor whose public works explored civil rights, dies aged 88

Richard Hunt, a prolific Chicago artist who was the primary Black sculptor to obtain a solo retrospective at New York Metropolis’s Museum of Fashionable Artwork (Moma) and whose public works drew reward from presidents, has died at age 88.

Hunt “handed away peacefully” Saturday at his dwelling, in keeping with an announcement posted on his web site. No explanation for loss of life was given.

Throughout his profession, Hunt created greater than 160 commissioned items of public artwork which can be displayed nationwide, together with at libraries and faculty campuses. In Chicago, his 35-foot excessive stainless-steel “Flight Kinds” is at Halfway Worldwide airport. In 2021, his monument with bronze columns honoring the late civil rights icon Ida B Wells was devoted within the metropolis’s Bronzeville neighborhood.

“Richard’s legacy will dwell on for generations to return,” Chicago mayor Brandon Johnson mentioned in a Saturday night assertion. “A lifelong Chicagoan, his extraordinary profession spanning 70 years leaves an indelible influence on our metropolis and our world.”

Greater than 100 of Hunt’s items are displayed in museums worldwide. That features the 1,500-pound bronze monument referred to as “Swing Low” on the Nationwide Museum of African American Historical past and Tradition in Washington, DC. The sculpture, an ode to the non secular by the identical title, is suspended from the ceiling on the primary ground.

Born on town’s south aspect, Hunt was 19 when he went to the open-casket funeral of Emmett Until, a Black teenage lynching sufferer. Hunt later mentioned the expertise influenced his inventive work and a dedication to civil rights. A chunk Hunt not too long ago accomplished to honor Until, referred to as Hero Ascending, is predicted to be put in at Until’s childhood dwelling in Chicago subsequent yr.

Hunt was a graduate of the distinguished Faculty of the Artwork Institute of Chicago. In 1968, then president Lyndon B Johnson appointed him to the Nationwide Council on the Arts. Three years later, he was the primary Black sculptor to have a solo retrospective exhibit at Moma.

His commissioned work, Ebook Fowl, can be positioned outdoors a deliberate Chicago public library department on the Obama Presidential Middle, which is beneath development. The sculpture reveals a hen withdrawing from a e book.

“Will probably be an inspiration for guests from around the globe, and an everlasting reminder of a outstanding man,” former president Barack Obama mentioned in a Saturday assertion. “Richard Hunt was an acclaimed sculptor and one of many most interesting artists ever to return out of Chicago.”

Hunt described the sculpture as one thing that reveals the progress one could make by studying and research.

“There are a number of prospects for artwork on public buildings or in public locations to commemorate, to encourage,” Hunt mentioned in a presidential heart video final yr concerning the fee. “Artwork can enliven and set sure requirements for what’s occurring in and round it and throughout the neighborhood.”

Hunt is survived by his daughter, Cecilia, and his sister Marian.

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