Distinguished Professor of Art and Art History David Lee Craven, 60, died Saturday, Feb. 11, of an apparent heart attack. A memorial service is set for Friday, Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. at the Alumni Chapel on the University of New Mexico campus. A reception will follow at the University Art Museum. For those attending the memorial, parking in C lot, near the UNM Alumni Chapel, is allowed from 1-4 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations are being accepted to establish an endowed graduate fellowship in Craven's name. Checks should be made out to "UNM Foundation" and be dropped off at the Art Office or at the memorial service/reception.
Craven joined the UNM faculty in the Department of Art and Art History in the College of Fine Arts in 1993, and attained the rank of Distinguished Faculty in 2007. Prior, he taught at the State University of New York, where he was a full professor. He also taught at Duke University and served as a visiting lecturer, professor or scholar-in-residence at the University of Edinburgh, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Universität zu Bremen, Trinity College in Dublin, Collegium Budapest, Instituto de Investigaciones Esteticas in Mexico, University of Leeds and the Blanton Art Museum at the University of Texas at Austin.
Craven was a NEH Post-doctoral Fellow in Art History at Princeton after earning his doctorate in Art History from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1979. He earned a master's in Art History from Vanderbilt University in 1974 and earned his bachelor's degree in history from the University of Mississippi in 1972, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude.
Fluent in Spanish, German and French, Craven traveled the world as a visiting professor to give lectures in more than 100 universities and museums in the U.S. and internationally including Russia, Mexico, Spain, Germany, England and France. He was preparing for the publication in 2012 of six new articles on art history subjects in the United States, Mexico and England when he died.
"David was a man of letters and a champion for social causes, beloved by all who knew him for his keen intellect, genuine sense of compassion and desire to help others. He was recognized by his peers as one of the most informed and incisive art historians in the world," said Kirsten Buick, associate professor and chair, Art and Art History.
Associate Professor of German Studies Susanne Baackmann, said, "David was the most generous person I know: generous in spirit, generous in praise and admiration, generous intellectually, generous in his enthusiasm for art, architecture and many other cultural achievements. His love for life and his work--two concepts that were synonymous in his mind--was as intense as it was infectious."
Craven published 10 books and more than 150 articles that have appeared in 25 different countries and translated into 15 different languages led to his recognition as a world authority in the fields of 20th Century Art from Latin America, Post-1945 Art from the USA and Critical Theory, as well as Philosophy of Methods in Art History & Visual Culture.
His art history books are respected as authoritative including the most widely read, Art and Revolution in Latin America, 1910-1990, which was nominated for a 2004 Mitchell Prize, as well as Diego Rivera as Epic Modernist, The New Concept of Art and Popular Culture in Nicaragua Since the Revolution in 1979, Poetics and Politics in the Life of Rudolph Baranik, Abstract Expression as Cultural Critique: Dissent During the McCarthy Period, which received broad critical acclaim, and Dialectical Conversions: Donald Kuspit's Art Criticism.
Among the numerous awards and recognitions Craven received during his career are a Medal for Excellence by the state of New York in 1991 for his work at State University of New York/Cortland College, a Faculty Acknowledgement Award at UNM in 2003, and in 2007 he was chosen to be the Rudolf Arnheim Professor at Humboldt University in Berlin. He won more than 15 major national and international fellowships and grants from organizations including the American Council for Learned Studies, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ministerio de Cultura de España and the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes de Mexico.
Born in Alexandria, LA, on March 22, 1951, to Peggy and Albert Craven, David lived with his family in Houston, Texas and then in Clinton, Miss., and Oxford, Miss., where his father taught at Ole Miss. His parents recognized an early aptitude for art and young David began art lessons in fourth grade, leading to his decision to pursue art history as his career.
Also an avid sportsman and athlete, Craven was the quarterback of the Oxford High School football team and won MVP honors in the 1969 season. He also helped his high school basketball team earn a place in the state championships.
David was preceded in death by his father Albert Craven, his sisters Anita and Peggy Melinda, and his brother Jonathon. David is survived by his mother Peggy Craven of Chapin, SC; sister Laura Duncan, her husband Lee, niece Caroline Duncan and nephew Lee Duncan of Irmo, SC; brother Brian Craven, his wife Pam, and nephews Jonathon, Allen and Mark Craven of Eustis, FL; brother Paul Craven of Greensboro, NC; niece Edy Dingus and nephew Charles Dingus of Oxford, MS, and nephew John Phillip Dingus of Roanoke, VA, as well as his special friends Dr. Susanne Baackmann, and Hannah Baackmann-Friedlander of Albuquerque, NM.
Media Contact: Carolyn Gonzales (505) 277-5920; email: firstname.lastname@example.org