May 30, 2009

Conceptual artist Ireland dead at age 78

Conceptual artist David Ireland, whose works earned him acclaim in San Francisco's Bay Area, has died at the age of 78, his sister Judy says.

The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday one of Ireland's most memorable creations remains an 1886 Victorian house in San Francisco that he transformed into a large work of art echoing the memories of the home's former inhabitants.

Times art critic Christopher Knight said in a 2005 review of Ireland that the artist routinely attempted to create an awakening in his conceptual pieces.

He doesn't make zenga -- the word the Japanese use to describe bold calligraphy, traditional paintings of monks and other staples of this age-old Asian repertoire. Instead he makes conceptual art, and his idiom is fully western and completely modern, Knight wrote of Ireland. But his work seeks to produce in the viewer what can only be called an awakening. Nothing is more Zen than that.

The Times said Ireland's installations and sculptures have been featured in museums such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Ireland, who died of pneumonia Monday in San Francisco, is survived by his sister, two children and five grandchildren.