The Austrian sculptor Franz West has died in Vienna following a long illness, at age 65. In a joint statement, the Franz West Foundation, Gagosian Gallery, Galerie Meyer Kainer, and Galerie Eva Presenhuber said, “The world has lost a great artist who changed the way people look at art and themselves. His great sense of originality and his generosity with other artists, writers, and musicians will be missed by us all.” West “charmed, influenced and inspired his contemporaries, students and followers and all those who encountered him,” his dealers and foundation said in their statement. “His sculptural sensibility culminated in the physical engagement of the onlooker with his sculpture making him become part of the work.”
Franz West was born in Vienna in 1947. West has exhibited internationally for more than three decades in galleries and museums, and at major festivals including Documenta IX (1992) and Documenta X (1997), Kassel, Germany; Sculpture Projects in Münster (1997); and the Venice Biennale (1988, 1993, 1997, 2003). In 1997 The Museum of Modern Art presented West with a solo show. In 2011 he was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in recognition for his life’s work.