Mary King Swayzee, an artist and a former art critic of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, died Saturday of cancer at the Mari de Villa retirement community in Chesterfield. She was 84 years old, and before her illness lived in Ladue, where she maintained her residence and studio.
Mrs. Swayzee was reared in St. Louis, attended Mary Institute (now MICDS) in St. Louis, graduated from the Master’s School, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., in 1947, and in 1951 from Barnard College in New York City, where she majored in art history.
Fifteen years ago, Clark Whittington was searching for a way to make his art more sellable. Inspired by a co-worker, he came up with the idea of a vending machine dispensing art.
“I used to work at a company where a friend of mine had a Pavlovian reaction to snack wrappers. When he’d hear the crinkle of cellophane, he’d buy something for himself. So that gave me the idea to put art in a vending machine,” said Whittington.
For more than thirty years, St. Louis native Bryan Haynes made his living primarily doing commercial art. But when he moved back to Missouri, he began to paint landscape scenes based on the geography and history of the region.
"Seeing it anew, I just started to paint landscapes purely for the joy of it," said Haynes. "But then those shapes in the landscape..began to describe the narrative within the paintings."
A new exhibit featuring the work of the late St. Louis artist Bill Kohn opens tonight at the Bruno David Gallery. The exhibition is small in number, but large in scale, featuring five of Kohn's signature colorful works painted on big stretches of canvas.
"Bill was an amazing painter," said gallery owner Bruno David. "He traveled around the world many times over and made a lot of paintings during his travel, drawings, coming back to St. Louis every time. And some of the paintings that he made, he felt that they needed to be extremely large."
When Berlin-based conceptual artists Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock first visited St. Louis in 2002, they were surprised by how familiar the city felt to them.
"We were baffled by how German it is. How normal everything sounds and looks," said Stih. "It wasn’t New York, it wasn’t Chicago, for sure not LA, It was something like a nice, quiet, city with extraordinary town planning."