One of Dayton’s most well-known and beloved artists, Jud Yalkut, died in Cincinnati on Tuesday after battling illness for many years. He was 75.
In addition to a distinguished career as a visual artist, Mr. Yalkut became well-known in the 1960s and ’70s as an innovator in film and video. Born in New York City in 1938, he came to Dayton from New York in 1973 to start a film and video program at Wright State University and also taught at Sinclair Community College in Dayton and at Xavier University in Cincinnati.
“Jud Yalkut will be remembered by many in our community as an influential filmmaker, scholar, educator and cultural historian,” said Jeanne Philipp, a colleague who curated a retrospective of Yalkut’s work at the University of Dayton in the spring of 2013 that spanned his 40-year career.
Carol Nathanson, Professor Emeritus of Art History at Wright State, said the arts community has been extremely fortunate that Mr. Yalkut chose to remain in Ohio while maintaining a national and international profile as an artist, writer, curator, juror and consultant.
“He became a catalyst for arts activity statewide,” Nathanson said. “He not only exhibited his own work widely but curated group shows for innumerable institutions and organization.”
Nathanson said recent years have witnessed increasing recognition of Jud Yalkut’s importance, evidenced by screenings of his films and videos and invitations to speak and participate in symposia at such major institutions as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Tate (Liverpool), the Pompidou Center in Paris, and Smithsonian American Art Museum
A six-time recipient of Individual Artist Fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council as well as three OAC Artist’s Project grants and a Master Individual Artist Fellowship from the Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District, Mr. Yalkut was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Fellowship in 2003 from MCACD.
Eva Buttacavoli, executive director of the Dayton Visual Arts Center — an organization that Mr. Yalkut helped found — labeled her friend “a revolutionary visual artist, writer, filmmaker and Dayton’s own renaissance man” who was a prolific artist, teacher and charmer to the end.” His work is on display at DVAC as part of the Members’ Show and will be featured in an upcoming exhibit there in May 2015.
Said Philipp: “Jud Yalkut will be much missed in the arts community for his vitality, his innovative artistic practice, influential texts and his love of a wide variety of art. His great generosity of spirit animated him to lead and inspire us to keep the arts in the full flow of our lives.”
Jud Yalkut is survived by his wife, Peg Rice, and other family members. Funeral arrangements are pending.