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John Outterbridge: 1933-2020

It is with deep sadness that we share the news of beloved Los Angeles based artist, griot, humanitarian and community activist John Outterbridge’s passing, announced by his daughter Tami Outterbridge via Facebook. John Outterbridge’s groundbreaking work from the 1960s through the mid-2010s has influenced countless artists and his wisdom and mentorship has guided many of us in the art world. Born in 1933 in Greenville, North Carolina, Outterbridge moved to Los Angeles in 1963 by way of Chicago. Known as one of the early Los Angeles assemblage artists to address the social and political moment, his work is poetic while always created with intent, voicing a pointed commentary on the state of this world and the history of African Americans. His poignant sculptures often embrace a gentle sense of humor and love of humanity, avoiding the didactic.

First exhibited by Brockman Gallery in Los Angeles, Outterbridge’s work has featured prominently in the traveling exhibitions Soul of A Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, 2017-2020, organized by Mark Godfrey for the Tate Modern, and Outliers and American Vanguard Art, 2018-2019, organized by Lynne Cooke for the National Gallery, as well as in Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles, 2011-2013 organized by Kellie Jones for the Hammer Museum and in our gallery exhibition L.A. Object & David Hammons Body Prints at Tilton Gallery in 2006. A solo exhibition organized by the Hammer took place at Art + Practice, Los Angeles in 2015. We have had the honor of representing John since 2006.

Outterbridge’s work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and The California African American Museum, Los Angeles, among others.

The strength of the work reflects the man; John was a friend, a philosopher and a mentor who will be sorely missed.

We extend our profound condolences to all of the family.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Outterbridge family is planning an online memorial service to celebrate the artist’s remarkable life and legacy, with date and time to be announced.