Dear, dear Irving. There will never be another. He was the art world’s enthusiastic witness for over sixty years. He was part of the geography of New York City.
A giant, a beautiful, perfectly accessible writer, the greatest eye, game changing historian, champion of artists, raconteur, model citizen, proud Marine, boxer, tough Jew, genius, mensch, cheerleader, and the dearest, kindest, generous, most wonderful, loyal friend.
I was lucky to have spent so much time with Irving, including the unforgettable precious day at the De Kooning show at MoMA. In a limo down to Princeton for my talk, gallery hopping, dinners, the beach with Lucy, panels, articles, and interviews—we did it all.
Irving, if not on stage, was always there in the first row of every panel you ever went to. Irving was simply the most exemplary citizen of our world. Artists Space, Tanager Gallery, The Club, Sharpe Studios, countless boards and committees here and in D.C., Irving’s belief and devotion to artists was unbounded, chronicled in his many books, most recently his two volume memoir. It fueled his creativity as he wrote and rewrote and challenged history and himself always. He was the bard of the art world. His first novel, Goodbye to Tenth Street comes out this fall.
I propose New York City renames 10th Street between 3 and 4th Aves., home of Tanager Gallery, countless co-ops and studios of artists who changed his life, who he championed in return, “Irving Sandler Way.” Let’s make this happen.