LOS ANGELES, CA.-
Los Angeles sculptor, Robert Graham
, died Saturday at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center. Graham, who had been ill for about six months, was 70.
Robert Graham (born August 19, 1938, in Mexico City died December 27, 2008) was a sculptor based in the state of California in the United States of America. His monumental bronzes commemorate the human figure and are featured in public places across America. In addition to his civic art, Graham was an active member of the art community.
Graham received his formal training at San Jose State College and the San Francisco Art Institute in California, finishing in 1964. Within ten years he had his first one-man show at a gallery, and in 1972 had his first one-man show in a museum, the Dallas Museum of Art. Since then he has had dozens of one-man shows, including several at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Graham's first major monumental commission was the ceremonial gateway for the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, for the occasion of the 1984 Olympics. He also designed the commemorative silver dollar for the event. The gateway featured two bronze torsos, male and female, modelled on contestants in the games. The gateway was a major design element of an Olympiad noted for its lack of new construction. To the surprise of many, the nudity of the torsos became an issue in the media.
Graham used a range of materials and scales in his work. In the 1970s Graham created very small wax sculptures (circa 4" - 10cm), depicting sexual congress. His 1986 monument to the boxer Joe Louis is a 24' bronze fist and forearm. He has created hundreds of nude figures and groupings in intermediate scales.
He was married to actress Anjelica Huston and they resided in an unusual dwelling in Venice, California. Huston refused to move to the Bohemian area unless Graham built them a fortress to live in. The result was a giant, windowless structure behind an opaque 40-foot fence.
Graham made a cameo appearance in Huston's movie, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, as the Venezuelan general near the beginning of the film standing on the deck of the ship. Wes Anderson mentions in the movie's commentary that Graham has some aspects in common with Steve Zissou.