December 2016 - January 2017
LWC #1 belongs to a series of works Kurtz created in response to his own diagnosis of cancer. In lettering the phrase “Living with Cancer,” the artist has chosen to concentrate on the unfolding of a full and creative life rather than the inevitability of death.
The calligraphic of Carl Kurtz is often not easily legible or discernible, demonstrating a bend towards abstraction and an intertwining of gestural letterforms. Kurtz’s father was a sign painter and Carl began to work with him at the age of nine. This early exposure to the craft and care of letterforms would resonate with Carl throughout his practice and life. In describing his father, the artist notes, “He established a standard by which I measure honesty and sincerity in all forms of expression.”
Carl Kurtz was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota. He studied in Ohio at the Columbus College of Art and Design, received his Bachelor of Fine Art Degree from Kansas City Art Institute (’66 graphic design), and his Master of Fine Art Degree from Indiana University. Carl Kurtz received the award of Professor Emeritus at the Kansas City Art Institute where he taught in the Foundations department for 41 years. Carl Kurtz passed away on February 24, 2015.
His works are included in the collections of the University of Nebraska; Wellesley College, Massachusetts; Central College, Iowa; J.B. Speed Art Museum, Kentucky; Madison Art Center, Wisconsin; Spiva Art Center, Missouri; Galleria D’Arte Del Cavallino, Italy; Hallmark Cards, Inc., Kansas City; Watson, Ess, Marshall & Enggas, Kansas City; H&R Block, Inc., Kansas City; The Collected Image, Chicago; The Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, Florida; The Newberry Library, Chicago; Belger Cartage, Kansas City, Missouri; Sprint Corporation, Kansas City, Missouri; Dodge City Community College, Dodge City, Kansas; and Graphic Design Associates, Wilmington, Delaware.
A member of the KCAI faculty since 1973, Carl received KCAI’s Distinguished Achievement Award, a Fulbright-Hays Grant, an Alliance of Independent Colleges of Art Faculty Research Grant and several Mellon Faculty Enrichment Grants.