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Subject: Healthwatch: Artist Peter Max

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Date Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 12:28:50pm

In a New York Times story on Monday, 81-year-old pop artist Peter Max is described as suffering from “advanced dementia” and having not “painted seriously in four years.”

Witnesses told The Times that a frail Max was seen scribbling his name on artworks being churned out of his studio by painters recruited off the street in an operation run by his estranged son, Adam, and three business associates. These business dealings are the subject of a recent lawsuit over his artwork filed by his daughter, Libra.

Earlier this month, the Christine Frechard Gallery in Lawrenceville presented the artist’s first exhibit here in 4˝ years, titled “PETER MAX: The Retrospective 1960-2019 Collected Works from the Studio of America’s Iconic Pop Artist.”

In advance, a representative from his studio reached out to the Post-Gazette offering to design the cover of Weekend Mag, as he did for a show back in 2003. The Post-Gazette A&E department agreed and that representative, Ann Taylor, wrote, “Peter is excited to create cover art for your weekend cover of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette for the weekend of May 10-12.”

She asked for the cover specs and the logo, writing “Peter uses [it] for placement as he creates the cover and will colorize it as well.” She also asked for “a cover art theme you would like him to work from.” The PG suggested he play off of the fountain at Point State Park or PPG Place.

Unlike the phone interview the PG did with the artist in 2004, she offered an email interview. The questions were sent to her on April 26 and she replied, “Peter always has a way of surprising with his stories and memories, so I’m sure he will give you colorful and interesting answers!”

The responses, which were returned on May 2, had a comparable voice to his phone interview responses 15 years ago.

The cover art, returned on May 3, was a digital pastiche of Max-style images that incorporated the spires of PPG Place.

In her Times story about new legal battles over Max’s artwork, Amy Chozick describes an encounter with him in January, writing, “I told Mr. Max that I was a Times reporter — and that two family friends had suggested that I stop by — but he didn’t seem to understand. He just shrugged, asked me several times what year it was and then told me that he had spent his childhood in Shanghai.”

In light of the Times story, the PG has attempted to contact Ms. Taylor regarding the authenticity of the artwork and the interview responses, but has yet to hear back.

The PG also reached out to Ms. Frechard for comment.


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