PRINT January 1999


Stuart Regen

Stuart Regen died of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma August 18 in Los Angeles. He was thirty-nine. Everyone who knew Stuart was amazed and inspired by the projects he initiated and completed in the face of his illness.

He was first diagnosed with lymphoma in 1989, a week before he and his wife Shaun Caley opened their art gallery in West Hollywood. As Regen Projects was becoming the most vital and interesting space in LA, Stuart continued to develop interests and begin projects that had no regard for the timetables associated with his illness.

It is important to note the devotion and love shared by Stuart’s family and friends, especially his wife Shaun, his mother Barbara Gladstone, and his brothers Richard and David. There are many artists—Raymond Pettibon, Liz Larner, Catherine Opie, Lari Pittman, Stephan Balkenhol, Mike Figgis, and others too numerous to list—who worked with him over the years and who have incredible histories of mutual support and care.

My personal relationship to Stuart began early on as an artist in his gallery. Later I knew him as a friend, and still later as a best friend. For two years he and his wife Shaun were my partners in a difficult sculptural project titled “unpainted sculpture.” My deadlines for the show passed many times while Stuart continued to fund, examine, encourage, push, and follow. The sculpture, a crashed car like me, was crazed, spun out, hundreds of impossibly fragile, scrambled parts. During this time, Stuart endured many medical procedures, rebounding from extremely frail states. He showed me how to let go, and that some things can be whole, finished, even when in some part they seem to continue unresolved.

Later I found myself in Stuart’s hospital room telling him it was OK to let go. That if his life ended early it was still complete. It took me a while to realize that I love Stuart because he allowed the process to go two ways.

Charles Ray