November 2, 2017
Richard Hambleton (1952-2017), the Canadian-born public art provocateur who became a fixture of 1980s New York Downtown art scene, died on October 29. He was 65.
Hambleton was part of a group of artists who vindicated the right to the city by taking their art—literally—to the streets.
Shunning the museum, these New York-based artists, some of whom were people of color, queer and immigrant, included Jean-Michael Basquiat and Keith Haring among others. The trio became known for spraying painting walls, chalking pavements and creating colorful murals with paint, giving the city a new vitality at a time of rising crime and economic inequality in post-Vietnam America.
Hambleton, who suffered financial hardship, is best remembered by his shadow, menacing images that appeared unexpectedly to onlookers on dark alleys and corners of New York and his native Canada.
Fans and friends paid tribute to Hambleton on Instagram: