Art & Entertainment

Art critic Dave Hickey, known for book ‘Air Guitar’, dies | Entertainment

Dave Hickey, a prominent American art critic whose essays covered topics ranging from Siegfried & Roy to Norman Rockwell, has died.

His books, including “The Invisible Dragon: Essays on Beauty” (1993) and “Air Guitar: Essays on Art & Democracy” (1997), won him legions of fans beyond the art world experts.

His stylish prose, brash criticism of taste-making institutions like museums and universities and equal embrace of works considered both high- and low-brow left a lasting influence on a generation of artists and critics.

“There is no one like him. He belongs in the canon of American nonfiction prose,” his biographer Daniel Oppenheimer wrote in “Far From Respectable: Dave Hickey and His Art,” published last June.

He died Nov. 12 at home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, after years of heart disease, said Libby Lumpkin, an art historian who was married to him. He was 82.

David Hickey was born in 1938 in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up moving around Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and California. After hopscotching through graduate school programs, he dropped out and opened a contemporary art gallery in Austin, Texas. He moved to New York in 1971, where he ran more galleries, edited the publication Art in America and wrote for the Village Voice and Rolling Stone magazine. His work and interests immersed him in an artistic community that included Andy Warhol, Dennis Hopper and David Bowie.