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Updated 10:00 AM April 12, 2004
 

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Obituaries
Gerome Kamrowski


A teacher of art at U-M for 38 years, Gerome Kamrowski—professor emeritus of art and nationally renowned early artist of the surrealist movement—died at his home in Ann Arbor March 27. He was 90.

An example of Gerome Kamrowski's works, from a 1999 display at the Residential College entitled "Gerome Kamrowski—A Visual Journey." Kamrowski, professor emeritus of art, was a surrealist painter who created three-dimensional works later in his life. (Photo by Bill Wood, U-M Photo Services (file photo))

"As a teacher, Professor Kamrowski admonished his students to experiment and push the boundaries of their art. He urged them to be unafraid of failure and consider it a natural part of the creative process," says Jon Rush, professor of art in the School of Art & Design. "Above all, he stressed the importance of finding one's own path and that it would take hard work and dedication to achieve that. He was a natural teacher who related well to students because he himself never stopped being one."

A Minnesota native, Kamrowski moved early in his career to New York, where he worked with a group of abstract artists, including Jackson Pollock, Arshile Gorky and Robert Motherwell.

While his works have been shown in noted venues such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, Whitney, Hirshorn and Metropolitan museums, Kamrowski's art also can be seen in the Joe Louis Arena station of the Detroit People Mover.

Last summer the U-M Museum of Art (UMMA) mounted a retrospective exhibit that encompassed works from the 1930s to 2003, ranging from landscape paintings in the abstract expressionist style to geometrically inspired, landscape-themed mosaics from 2002. In the 1940s
Kamrowski began using animal imagery in brightly colored sculptural pieces representing hybrid animal forms, often incorporating beads, baubles and metal parts.

"Whimsical and energetic, mysterious and sublime, the work of Ann Arbor artist Gerome Kamrowski has been characterized in many different ways," says Sean Ulmer, curator of modern and contemporary art at UMMA. "Constantly challenging himself as well as his viewer, Kamrowski (was) engaged in a lifelong search for new and exciting ways to represent the themes that interested him. This has made it challenging to categorize or classify his work in art historical terms, but it has helped ensure its freshness and vitality."

Ted Ramsay, professor of art, remembers that, as a young faculty member at the University, he drove Kamrowski to New York City in a well-worn station wagon with a large alarm clock taped to the dash. "We had everything we needed for the trip: food, beverage, clothes, but after getting underway, we realized that we had no maps.

"Toward dusk, we arrived in South Orange, N.J., and after much navigating pulled up in front of a stately old home with tall grass growing in the front yard. Our host had been expecting us and rushed out, hugged Gerry and then myself, and invited us in for something to drink before going to bed. Grabbing my overnight bag and Gerry's, I entered into a series of large rooms devoid of furnishings, but housing many maquette studies of future sculpture on pedestals and the floor.

"We were ushered into one very huge room with a large table covered with a blue oilcloth and equipped with four chairs. Looming in a darkened corner opposite the table stood a huge refrigerator filled with bottles. Thus began an evening of listening to Gerry and our host, Tony Smith, the famous American sculptor of 'Gracehopper' on the DIA lawn among other works, talk about New York and their experiences as artists working in the city.

"The next morning, as we were preparing to leave for NYC to gallery hop, I remembered that we had no maps, and so I inquired about directions into the city. Tony quickly responded, 'Just follow the fruit trucks!' After navigating several blocks, Gerry spied a long line of slow moving trucks flowing in an easterly direction. He smiled and waved to one of the drivers, and we merged in behind a large stake truck belching blue exhaust, and we were on our way ... the Kamrowski way."

Kamrowski became professor emeritus in 1984, the same year the Michigan Foundation for the Arts honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award. The School of Art & Design says there are no plans for a memorial service at this time.


Basil Georgopoulos

Basil Georgopoulos, a member of the Institute for Social Research (ISR) research faculty for 35 years, died March 19.

"Basil was an important member of the ISR intellectual community, member of the Department of Psychology and co-founder of the doctoral program in organizational psychology," says Director David Featherman.

Georgopoulos received his bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University in 1952, his master's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1953 and his doctorate from U-M in 1957.

He joined the institute in 1954 as an assistant study director in the Survey Research Center (SRC), and was promoted to study director in 1956, senior study director in 1961 and program director in 1966. He was appointed assistant professor of psychology in 1961, and was promoted to associate professor in 1964 and professor in 1969.

As a core member of the SRC research staff, he served for a time as director of the Organizational Behavior program, contributing during its formative years to its development within SRC and to its reputation around the country.

"He was deeply committed to his profession and to the center and was scrupulous in his effort to advance the cause," Featherman says.

Georgopoulos's most widely cited research involved development of a model of the effectiveness of work-performing organizations, especially hospitals. His model focuses on problem solving and structure in effective organizations.

In addition, his articles and books contributed substantially to defining the concept of organizational effectiveness for the field of organizational studies. For 30 years, his studies of problem solving and effectiveness in organizations have contributed both to social science theories of work organizations and to the practice of health care management.

In 1962, he published (with Floyd Mann) "The Community General Hospital." This work is considered a classic in the study of organizations, winning the James A. Hamilton Hospital Administrators' Book Award from the American College of Healthcare Executives. In 1974, Basil won the same award for his book "Organization Research on Health Institutions."

"These award-winning books not only influenced a generation of organizational researchers, but also shaped the emerging profession of health care management," Featherman says.

Georgopoulos retired from active faculty status on June 30, 1989. A memorial service had not been scheduled at Record press time.


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