In Memoriam: James Yood 1952 - 2018
Last night, a colleague reached out to ask if I’d heard whether Jim was okay. This morning, his widow and soulmate, Lorraine, confirmed he was gone. She is heartbroken. The loss to Jim’s family cannot be described.
The art world is shaken by the untimely loss of our friend, James Yood (Jim). A passionate, significant voice of art criticism, art writing, and art history, Jim was a well loved professor of Art History, Theory and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he also directed its Arts Journalism program. A great advocate for the Chicago art world, regional correspondent and essayist on contemporary art for Artforum, Art & Auction, tempe celeste, GLASS magazine, Art Ltd. Magazine, American Craft, and Aperture, Jim was a loyal early supporter of American studio glass, who formed close ties and fond friendships with established and emerging glass artists alike. Working from Chicago, Jim authored several books, including Feasting: A Celebration of Food in Art: Paintings from the Art Institute of Chicago, Celebrating Freedom, Vera Klement (A Retrospective 1953-1986), Spirited Visions: Portraits of Chicago Artists and Jon Kuhn: The Story of Glass Sculpture. He also served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts.
Jim was a respected and beloved colleague of artists, curators, collectors and gallery owners. He was the beloved professor who accompanied his students to Italy on summer trips to Rome, Milan, and Venice, leading them to the Coliseum, the Biennale, and the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, among other art and historical sites. His heart and mind were fully invested in the art world with informed, disciplined, profound and unwavering writing and thinking.
James Yood was a lion of the Chicago art world, and a deeply respected voice in the art world at large. He was a warm and loving man, generous, and kind. The loss of this champion of the art world, to our community, is without measure. He was loved.
I will miss Jim. Through my friendship with his widow, Lorraine Peltz, and because of his affinity with the art community, he was my friend too. I was welcomed to his home, and he was always welcome at mine. His sweet character, gentle smile, generous beyond belief heart, and championship of fine art will forever define my memory of him.