UNITED STATES NEWS

Prolific Chicago sculptor whose public works explored civil rights, Richard Hunt dies at 88

Dec 17, 2023, 10:07 AM

CHICAGO (AP) — Richard Hunt, a prolific Chicago artist who was the first Black sculptor to receive a solo retrospective at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art and whose public works drew praise from presidents, has died at age 88.

Hunt “passed away peacefully” Saturday at his home, according to a statement posted on his website. No cause of death was given.

During his career, Hunt created more than 160 commissioned pieces of public art that are displayed nationwide, including at libraries and college campuses. In Chicago, his 35-foot high stainless steel “Flight Forms” is at Midway International Airport. In 2021, his monument with bronze columns honoring the late civil rights icon Ida B. Wells was dedicated in the city’s Bronzeville neighborhood.

“Richard’s legacy will live on for generations to come,” Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson said in a Saturday evening statement. “A lifelong Chicagoan, his extraordinary career spanning 70 years leaves an indelible impact on our city and our world.”

More than 100 of Hunt’s pieces are displayed in museums worldwide. That includes the 1,500-pound bronze monument called “Swing Low” at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. The sculpture, an ode to the spiritual by the same name, is suspended from the ceiling on the first floor.

Born on the city’s South Side, Hunt was 19 when he went to the open-casket funeral of Emmett Till, a Black teenage lynching victim. Hunt later said the experience influenced his artistic work and a commitment to civil rights. A piece Hunt recently completed to honor Till, called “Hero Ascending,” is expected to be installed at Till’s childhood home in Chicago next year.

Hunt was a graduate of the prestigious School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him to the National Council on the Arts. Three years later, he was the first Black sculptor to have a solo retrospective exhibit at MoMa.

His commissioned work, “Book Bird,” will be placed outside a planned Chicago Public Library branch at the Obama Presidential Center, which is under construction. The sculpture shows a bird taking flight from a book.

“It will be an inspiration for visitors from around the world, and an enduring reminder of a remarkable man,” former President Barack Obama said in a Saturday statement. “Richard Hunt was an acclaimed sculptor and one of the finest artists ever to come out of Chicago.”

Hunt described the sculpture as something that shows the progress one can make through reading and study.

“There are a range of possibilities for art on public buildings or in public places to commemorate, to inspire,” Hunt said in a presidential center video last year about the commission. “Art can enliven and set certain standards for what’s going on in and around it and within the community.”

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

A private funeral service is planned for Chicago. A public celebration of his life and art will be held next year, according to his website.

United States News

Associated Press

‘Catch and kill’ will be described to jurors in Donald Trump’s hush money trial as testimony resumes

NEW YORK (AP) — A longtime tabloid publisher was expected Tuesday to tell jurors about his efforts to help Donald Trump stifle unflattering stories during the 2016 campaign as testimony resumes in the historic hush money trial of the former president. David Pecker, the former National Enquirer publisher who prosecutors say worked with Trump and […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

America’s child care crisis is holding back moms without college degrees

AUBURN, Wash. (AP) — After a series of lower-paying jobs, Nicole Slemp finally landed one she loved. She was a secretary for Washington’s child services department, a job that came with her own cubicle, and she had a knack for working with families in difficult situations. Slemp expected to return to work after having her […]

8 hours ago

Several hundred students and pro-Palestinian supporters rally at the intersection of Grove and Coll...

Associated Press

Pro-Palestinian protests sweep US college campuses following mass arrests at Columbia

NEW YORK (AP) — Columbia canceled in-person classes, dozens of protesters were arrested at New York University and Yale, and the gates to Harvard Yard were closed to the public Monday as some of the most prestigious U.S. universities sought to defuse campus tensions over Israel’s war with Hamas. More than 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators who […]

10 hours ago

Ban on sleeping outdoors under consideration in Supreme Court...

Associated Press

With homelessness on the rise, the Supreme Court weighs bans on sleeping outdoors

The Supreme Court is wrestling with major questions about the growing issue of homelessness as it considers a ban on sleeping outdoors.

11 hours ago

Arizona judge declares mistrial in case of rancher who shot migrant...

Associated Press

Arizona judge declares mistrial in the case of a rancher accused of fatally shooting a migrant

An Arizona judge declared a mistrial in the case of rancher accused of killing a Mexican man on his property near the U.S.-Mexico border.

12 hours ago

Associated Press

Trial opens for former Virginia hospital medical director accused of sexual abuse of ex-patients

NEW KENT, Va. (AP) — The former longtime medical director of a Virginia hospital that serves vulnerable children used physical examinations as a “ruse” to sexually abuse two teenage patients, a prosecutor said Monday, while the physician’s attorney “adamantly” denied any inappropriate conduct. The trial of Daniel N. Davidow of Richmond, who for decades served […]

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Prolific Chicago sculptor whose public works explored civil rights, Richard Hunt dies at 88