Monday, March 9, 2009

Sacramento's Loss

This past Friday Sacramento lost an art luminary, though many of those who frequent 2nd Saturday may have no idea as to who I am referring. Chuck Miller, former director of the Michael Himovitz Gallery the namesake of Miller's late partner, was instrumental along with Himovitz, in establishing 2nd Saturday as the institutionalized monthly event we know now. I became fully aware of Himovitz and Miller's impact on our local community last summer while researching a piece on 2nd Sat for Midmo.

Last summer's interviews were a reaquaintance of sorts as I had actually interned for Chuck at the gallery's 10th Street location in 1995. Oddly enough I got the gig working there while waiting for the Amtrak at the Ferry Building in SF. It was super early in the morning and this young woman whose face I can no longer picture was also waiting for the train to Sac. We got to talking and she said she was about to finish up an internship at a gallery downtown and that when she left they would need a replacement. After getting back to Sac I paid the gallery a visit the following week and from there I proceeded to intern for the Himovitz through the summer and early fall of that year.

Chatting with Chuck about the past close to 30 years of Sacramento art history was educational. In total I spoke with him for over 4 hours and am thankful I recorded our interviews. Amongst my favorite memories Chuck conjured was the one about him and a colleague bringing Warhol to Sacramento in the 80s and taking him to a disco in West Sac that had a car on the dance floor. I've been meaning to investigate this club and find out where it was and I keep forgetting.

On our last visit Chuck gave me a copy of "About Looking" which has been sitting on my night stand ever since. Perhaps now's the time to crack into it...

Chuck's gentle, thoughtful, intelligent presence will be deeply missed. There will be a memorial for him this Wed at 5:30pm. If you would like more details drop me a line.


skateboard rodeo said...

"Sacramento's Loss" indeed. It is with great sadness that I commend your post about the passing of my very good friend and mentor, Chuck Miller. "Well said!" is what I say to your comment on Chuck's
"gentle, thoughtful, intelligent presence."

I too LOVE the Warhol story. Did you ever hear the Liz in the limo tale? It's great too.

Thank you for your research. It serves as a proper bio and tribute to a uniquely wonderful being that was Chuck.

I'd like to take a moment to tell you about one way that it is also "California's Loss." I say that as the former Youth Exhibits Coordinator for the 2001-2007 California State Fair. Each year Chuck Miller was the Chief Judge for the Youth Arts Show, a tiresome, hot and thankless job. I know it isn’t as prestigious or glamorous as the myriad of other art events he participated in, but it is certainly important. With 2500 entries each of those 7 years, that’s a whole bunch of little kid artists he affected with his positive ways.

His health has precluded him from many of these kinds of activities of late, diabetes type 1 is a devastating thing.

Chuck and I both love a parade. In fact, we were currently planning the first Fashion/Artist/Skateboard Rodeo parade to take place in Sacramento on Go Skateboarding Day! June 21st. (heavy sigh)

Do you know about one of his business ideas from the 2001-2004 era? Artful Urns.

Artful Urns? He will be missed, indeed.

timothy said...

Skateboard Rodeo truly acknowledged the rightness of the blog post. I am feeling quite sad hearing of Chuck's passing as I sit in Minneapolis. Having left Sacramento in 2003 and built a new, wonderful and lasting relationship with my partner of six years now, Charles S., and with the Twin Cities I now live in and love - I remember so many amazing and funny and enlightening times with Chuck. I learned many things from this man and he assited me greatly during times of enormous loss in my life. Certainly his imprint will last on Sacramento and the greater Northern California Arts community for decades to come.