Lisa Liebmann (1955–2016)

John Brooks Adams and Lisa Liebmann in 2012. Photo: Linda Yablonsky.

Lisa Liebmann, a contributor to Artforum for more than three decades and one of the defining figures of Ingrid Sischy’s tenure as editor in the 1980s, died Wednesday evening in New York.

An inspired and broad-minded critic, she contributed significant essays to the magazine on artists such as Nan Goldin, Keith Sonnier, and Eric Fischl. Liebmann also contributed regularly to Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Interview, and other publications, and wrote books including David Salle 1979–1994 (Rizzoli, 1994), Brice Marden Paintings on Marble (Steidl, 2005), and Ross Bleckner (Harry N. Abrams/Guggenheim Museum, 1995). She often collaborated with her husband, the writer Brooks Adams, and in 2012 they published a book of essays on the work of New York–based painter Deborah Kass with Griselda Pollock, Irving Sandler, and Eric C. Shiner.

Reflecting in 1993 on her earliest contributions to this magazine, Liebmann wrote: “During the very early ’80s my role at Artforum was actually somewhat ambiguous, complicated by the fact that I had been involved with this new editor, whose employment policies were rigorous in the extreme—to be a F.O.I. [Friend of Ingrid’s] could be a mixed blessing . . . As psychic handmaiden, my influence, I like to think, was important if subliminal.”