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Ann Temkin on Walter Hopps

WHEN WALTER HOPPS died this past March at seventy-two, he had been organizing exhibitions for more than half a century. He began while still in school and continued right up through the spring, when he guest-curated a George Herms show at the Santa Monica Museum of Art. Too ill to fly out for the final installation, he did it by telephone from his home in Houston, with photographs and floor plan at hand. Shortly after the opening, Hopps went to Santa Monica for a public dialogue with Herms, delighting a standing-room-only crowd that included many of the Los Angeles artists like Ed Ruscha and Larry Bell with whom he began his life in art in the 1950s. Neatly curating his own life full circle, he died of heart failure a few days later.

Hopps is best known for his posts of the last twenty-five years as founding director and curator of Houston’s Menil Collection, an elegantly maverick institution

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