April 5, 2009

Artist Brown apparent drowning victim

Robert Delford Brown, known best for his 1960s performance art that included animal carcasses, apparently has drowned in North Carolina, his stepdaughter said.

Carol Cone said her 78-year-old stepfather, whose body was found March 24, four days after he was last seen alive, is suspected of have accidentally fallen into the Cape Fear River in Wilmington and drowned while searching for locations for an art project, The New York Times reported Sunday.

Brown, who also was a painter, sculptor and philosopher, was a prominent member of New York's 1960s art scene, taking part in so-called happenings. The Times said in those art events, Brown would use items ranging from meat carcasses to buildings to create provocative works. One of Brown's more memorable happenings involved him dressing as a clown with a red nose and banana-laden antennas to promote creativity and individualism.

Everything is art, everyone is an artist; there is no not art, Brown routinely said in espousing his personal credo.

The Times said Brown's only immediate survivor is his stepdaughter.