Fred Holland Dies at 65
Fred Holland, who received recognition as a visual artist and choreographer over the course of his 65 years, died on March 5, 2016 of colon cancer.
Diagnosed with the illness in 2009, Holland lived to see the opening of Fred Holland, SSAPMOC, on February 25 at Tilton Gallery in New York. Not able to physically attend the opening reception, he participated via Facetime. The show is on view through April 9, 2016.
Jack Tilton, of the Tilton Gallery, reflected on the current exhibition and the artist’s work for IRAAA, noting that, with his sculpture, "Fred creates metaphors and symbolism that abstract his physical presence. From glass and plaster heads, to stacks of pillows with a tongue resting on them or another stack of pillows with Chinese glass acupressure cups, to a narrow table sprouting rods with colorful balls, Fred uses the structure of these forms to create his very personal poetry. His spirit dances about from piece to piece."
The current exhibition serves as a bookend to the 1999 Gallery X solo exhibition that brought Holland to prominence as a visual artist. In this breakthrough exhibition, installations and sculptures focused on themes such as the circles-within-circles structure of cosmic and personal history. Reviewing the show for the New York Times, Holland Cotter marveled at how Fred Holland’s black-eyed peas stuck on a blue-painted wall mimicked spiral nebulae and how his rings of an old tree trunk, inscribed with tiny names in pencil, became a record of his Southern family going back generations.
A continuing theme of Holland’s installations has been physical frailty. His 2008 Decay and Darfur/Midnight Walks exhibition at Amelie A. Wallace Gallery at SUNY College at Old Westbury included canes, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs and other items used by disabled people. He created simulations of these items and used actual, found health care equipment in his assemblages. Their visual impact was strongly evocative. The second part of the exhibition title refers to Holland's nocturnal walks to scavenge materials for his work.
Fred Holland was born in 1951 and received a BFA in painting from the Columbus College of Art & Design in Ohio. He went West Berlin, Germany in the early 1980s, and made his mark as a dancer and choreographer in this country with Meredith Monk. His multidisciplinary approach to dance while there is often credited for his success with visual art where he employs cross-disciplinary and experimental approaches to art-making.
Holland is the recipient of a Creative Capital Award (2000); grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation (2010 and 2004) and National Endowment for the Arts (1986, 1988, 1989, and 1992); and residencies at Cite International des Arts Paris sponsored by Foundation de France (2007) and the Art Omi International Artists Colony Residency.