Arts News: Remembering Michael Stack

On June 1, 2018, sculptor, painter and designer Michael Stack died from complications following a fall.

Born in 1941 in Chicago, where many of his extended Irish-American family still live, Stack graduated with a B.A. in art from the University of Illinois and received an M.F.A. from the University of Florida. He lived and worked as an artist in Houston, Chicago and in Kansas City for years. He also taught art at various schools, including a residency in Foundations at the Kansas City Art Institute.

Jim Sajovic, retired art professor from KCAI, met Stack when both were students at the University of Illinois and subsequently at Florida. They became close friends and shared a studio.

“We started making art right after the Abstract-Expressionism movement, while the University of Illinois really stressed figuration,” Sajovic said in a recent interview. “Those two movements greatly influenced us both.”

One of Stack’s last major bodies of work was the “Eagleman” series of paintings and works on paper, a personal response to the 9/11 tragedy, which he exhibited at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center in 2013. He also created numerous sculptures, works on paper and paintings of people dancing. A major example of the latter hangs in Grünauer restaurant in the Crossroads.

Stack was well-known as a consultant to designers and architects in Kansas City, such as the late Cary Goodman. He created color schemes and architectural elements for the interiors of many well-known buildings and individual homes throughout the region, including a more than 300-square-foot mural for Gould Evans Goodman and a polychrome steel sculpture at 2345 Grand for the Hines Corporation.

All who knew him will miss his annual, joyful, hand-painted Christmas cards.

He is survived by his sons, Paul and Timothy, his daughter, Erin, three grandchildren and his life partner, Alice Rudolph.

Above: Mike Stack (left) with Jim Sajovic in 2015 at The Late Show gallery, where Stack was exhibiting steel sculptures. (photo courtesy Jim Sajovic)

Elisabeth Kirsch

Elisabeth Kirsch is an art historian, curator and writer who has curated over 100 exhibitions of contemporary art, American Indian art and photography, locally and across the country. She writes frequently for national and local arts publications.

  1. Carrie Beene says:

    Michael Stack terrorized me as a barely 18 year old art student. At the end of the semester he said he hoped I had some plans other than art school. I asked him what was wrong with my work he said “fuck you Carrie, just fuck you”.

    That has shadowed my life. But I graduated from Kcai with the wonderful Lester Goldman as my professor. I work as an artist to this day in multiple media’s.

    I regret that I was too young to know that I should have gone to the Dean about this.

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