Saturday, February 11, 2012

Ray Wielgus Is Still Waiting

On Monday, November 28, 2011 I posted an article entitled: "Ray Wielgus, His Guns, and Some Thoughts About Last Wishes. Its time for a followup. I met Ray in the Mid 1970's and visited him periodically for 35 years until his death in January 2010. We became much closer after the death of his good friend Roy Sieber in 2001; and I visited him more frequently. While he was a mentor and a friend, he also became a client in 1996 when I appraised his Ijo Otobo mask. Certainly others like Jim and Deanne Cook or Tom Senkerik knew him better and saw him more frequently. However, I can say unequivocally that Ray Wielgus would be extremely angry over the way he has been treated by Indiana University since his death. Diane Pelrine and her colleagues visited often to check in on Ray and the commitment he had made to Indiana. I suppose I could be unkind and characterize this as schmoozing and caring more about what Ray could do for them rather than what they could for Ray. But if I said that the remarks would certainly draw criticism making the issue more about me than Ray. So let's focus on what has happened since Indiana backed the truck up to the house. From the President of the University down to the staff at the museum, they have refused to provide precise information either about their plans to install the Wilegus collection or even measures to safeguard the pieces. These are certainly reasonable requests 2 years after Ray' death. However, I am appalled, disgusted, and saddened for Ray that as of February 10, 2012 Indiana University still has not acknowledged Ray's death on the Art Museum website. (See above) This speaks volumes to me about their friendship and respect for Ray. Ray had a long term relationship with the Art Institute in Chicago. I wish the collection had gone there. And I can assure you if there is an afterlife Ray Wilegus and Roy Sieber are agreeing with me right now.  JB



No comments: