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News — 18 Jun 2013

We have received the sad news that Seth Siegelaub (New York, 1941) died in Basel, Switzerland on Saturday, June 15. His death marks the passing of an inspiring and remarkable person who made a unique and indelible contribution to the history of contemporary art as a gallery owner, curator, collector, and researcher over many decades. A resident of Amsterdam since the 1980s, and the partner of former Stedelijk Museum curator Marja Bloem, he was a cherished friend and supporter of the Stedelijk Museum and many other institutions here in Amsterdam and the Netherlands. With his truly open and curious mind, critical intellect, wry sense of humor, and indefatigable love for art, he made everyone at home in his warm presence. 

Siegelaub was born in the Bronx, New York. And he ran his own gallery, Seth Siegelaub Contemporary Art in Manhattan from 1964 to 1966. As an independent curator, he played a vital role in the emergence of Conceptual art, working with prominent Conceptual artists such as Carl Andre, Robert Barry, Douglas Huebler, Joseph Kosuth, and Lawrence Weiner. Among his groundbreaking projects were The Xerox Book (1968) and July/August 1970, which explored the phenomenon of the “group exhibition” in its most radical form: a book or a journal. In 1972, he turned away from the New York art scene and moved to Paris, where he worked as a publisher. Siegelaub began collecting and researching textiles and books about textiles in the early 1980s. He founded the Center for Social Research on Old Textiles, which conducts research into the social history of textiles. At the turn of the 21st Century he started the Stichting Egress Foundation in Amsterdam to bring together his varied range of projects: contemporary art, textile history, and time and causality research. 

His unique collection of historic fabrics, carpets, weavings, and headdresses was presented last year at Raven Row in London under the title “The Stuff that Matters.” His textile collection was the inspiration for the recent exhibition, “Tradition,” at  Marres in Maastricht, which is now on view at the Grazer Kunstverein in Austria. The Stedelijk Museum just recently started to work with Seth Siegelaub and Raven Row to prepare an exhibition of his textile collection, which is scheduled to take place at the Stedelijk Museum in the Summer/Fall of 2014.

We extend our deepest sympathy to Marja, and to Seth’s family and friends. He will be sorely missed by everyone fortunate to know him.