Cranbrook Mourns the Loss of Connor Everts

Connor Everts at Cranbrook Academy of Art, circa 1979.
Photo by Alan Lowry. Courtesy Cranbrook Archives.

Bloomfield Hills, Mich., May 3, 2016 – Cranbrook Academy of Art mourns the loss of Connor Everts, former Artist-in-Residence and head of the Printmaking Department from 1976-1981.

Prior to coming to Cranbrook, Everts taught at the University of Southern California, the University of Washington, the University of California Riverside, Instituto Popular in Chile, Chouinard Art Institute, and the San Francisco Art Institute.

He was a celebrated artist, and according to The Annex Galleries, was awarded a prestigious painting prize from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1955 and regularly exhibited his work at galleries and museums along the West Coast. This included solo exhibitions in San Francisco, the Long Beach Museum of Art, and the Pasadena Art Museum. In 1956, he founded the Exodus Group and Gallery, a progressive artist cooperative based in San Pedro.

In 1964, Everts found himself in the center of one of the most notorious events in Los Angeles art history. Police raided and shut down an exhibition of his Studies of Desperation print series at the Zora Gallery in Los Angeles. The works were created in response to the chaos following the assassination of President Kennedy. The prints were considered offensive and vulgar and Everts was arrested and tried for obscenity. After a second trial, Everts was exonerated. Although he was not convicted, Everts was terminated from his teaching position at Chouinard. The Los Angeles Times recounts this time in history in their obituary of Everts.

Cranbrook Academy of Art was the last stop on Everts’ teaching career. During his time here, Everts brought artist Shiro Ikegawa to campus for a visit. Read about his 1977 visit in a 2014 post from our blog.

After leaving Cranbrook, Everts began to work solely in his studio, The Market, in downtown Torrance, California. According to his website, it allowed him to be “a semi-recluse and part-time bon vivant.”

The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery mounted a major retrospective of his work in 1983, and another retrospective was held in 2004 at the El Camino College Art Gallery in Torrance. From 2011 to 2013, Everts’ work was featured in several exhibitions across Southern California as part of the Getty’s initiative, Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945 – 1980. In 2013, the 50th anniversary of his Studies in Desperation suite was honored with an exhibition at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena.

In his memory, Cranbrook Art Museum has hung two of his works in our lower gallery space. Chicago Transfer (From a Series), 1980, and E.P. Series, Corrected State, 1976, are currently on display.

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