Greg Escalante. Photo: Gregorio Escalante Gallery.

Greg Escalante (1955–2017)

Greg Escalante, gallerist, founder of Juxtapoz Magazine, and champion of lowbrow art, died at his home in Huntington Beach, California, at the age of sixty-two, Carolina Miranda of the Los Angeles Times reports. His passing was confirmed by Wendy Sherman, the manager of Gregorio Escalante Gallery.

Born in Los Angeles in 1955, Escalante earned his bachelor’s degree from Cal State Long Beach, where he studied ceramics. His interest in pottery helped him to secure a job at a ceramics factory, but he found the work unsatisfying. Escalante worked as a bond trader for most of his career.

A dedicated collector of lowbrow art—a school of art that emerged during the 1970s in California—Escalante admired the work of Los Angeles painter Robert Williams, with whom he founded Juxtapoz in 1994. An excerpt from the editor’s letter in the magazine’s first issue read: “Here is the first issue of Juxtapoz, the art magazine that plans to stay below everyone’s dignity.”

Escalante established his first gallery, Copro Nason, in Santa Monica with Douglas Nason in 2001 and later launched his own space in Chinatown in 2015. He also sat on the boards of various museums, including the Laguna Art Museum, the Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, and the Huntington Beach Art Center.

“He championed lowbrow art when it was a very nascent movement,” said Mat Gleason, a friend and owner of the Chinatown art space Coagula Curatorial. “He became a real patron of the field.”

An image posted to the gallery’s Instagram feed on Friday, September 8, featured a photo of Escalante in a blue suit above the following words: “‘O Captain! My Captain!’ We are devastated today by the loss of our Captain Escalante. He was the visionary with the kindest soul.”