b. Paterson, NJ 1914, d. New York, NY, 2005
Sidney Geist (b. Paterson, NJ 1914, d. New York, NY 2005), an artist and scholar, worked as a sculptor in nearly all styles and materials, seemingly the only unifying element of his practice being constant exploration. Happiest working in his studio, Geist drew on his art historical expertise to inform his inventive sculptural practice. After studying art at St. Stephen’s College in Annandale, New York, serving in the military, and training as a sculptor at Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris, Geist returned to New York and took a SoHo studio, becoming embedded in the downtown arts scene. He later taught at Vassar College and Pratt Institute and helped found the New York Studio School, where he served as director. For its decade long existence, Geist showed at the historic artist cooperative, Tanager Gallery, alongside Philip Guston, Hans Hoffman, Philip Pearlstein and other notable artists. As a leader in the art scene, Geist produced an alternative arts newsletter entitled Scrap between 1960 and 1962, which is an invaluable record of his milieu. A prolific writer as well as sculptor, Geist was a frequent contributor to Art Digest (under the pen-name Otis Gage), Arts, Artforum, and The New Criticism. He was respected as an authority on Brancusi, publishing several monographs on the Romanian artist including the 1975 catalogue raisonné Brancusi: The Sculpture and the Drawings, as well the catalogue accompanying the Guggenheim show he curated, Constantin Brancusi, 1876-1957. Over his long career, Geist showed at numerous galleries and museums internationally including The Stable Gallery, Art of this Century Gallery, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Queens Museum.