The Man Who Elevated the Art World
When the world’s most high-concept artists wanted to balance a boulder on thin air or build a portal to the heavens inside a volcanic crater, they turned to a quiet kid from Indiana with a passion for achieving the impossible.
Photo Courtesy of LACMA
John Bowsher, a respected behind-the-scenes fixture in the American art world, died on Sunday, December 29 at his home in Los Angeles. By all accounts a quiet man who tended to offer opinions only when asked for them, Bowsher, 62, was nevertheless associated with many of the most ambitious, monumental artworks completed or attempted in United States since the end of the 1970s up through the month before his passing.
Just three years before his death, Bowsher oversaw one of the most unwieldy, demanding projects in recent art history. It involved transporting a 340-ton granite boulder from a quarry in Riverside, a city 60 miles east of Los Angeles, to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)’s sprawling mid-city campus. Once there, the rock would sit above a concrete trench on two surprisingly small steel shelves.
One sunny afternoon in September 2011, Bowsher was standing over this trench on a dirt lot behind LACMA’s main buildings. He looked the way he always …
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