New York City art-world stalwart Simon Cerigo died Sunday at the age of 60. He was a fixture on the gallery circuit for decades — a sometimes collector, sometimes dealer, and occasional art advisor that had been on the scene since arriving in the city from Montreal in 1982. Cerigo was an early collector of a number of well-known artists, including David Salle, Jack Goldstein, Walter Robinson, and Dan Asher, according to GalleristNY. He ran a short-lived gallery in the East Village from 1985-1987, and briefly worked in the Daniel Silverstein Gallery in Chelsea in 2001.
Most recently, he had appeared as a regular on the cable television show The Kostabi Show, hosted by artist Mark Kostabi. Cerigo died of “brief illness complicated by heart issues,” according to his wife, Nancy Smith, who runs the blog artloversnewyork.com. He is survived by his wife and two children.
UPDATE: Walter Robinson wrote to ARTINFO with a remembrance of the idiosyncratic Cerigo:
Simon was one of those lovably obnoxious eccentrics the art world accommodates so well. Ostensibly he was an art dealer — recently he was hawking Dan Asher drawings to Yoshii for $1,000 each — but in truth he was poor as a church mouse. At one point he came into some kind of inheritance, I think, but promptly squandered it. In the ’80s he opened a short-lived gallery on Ave A, and for a time he had his successes speculating on young contemporary artists like Mariko Mori, whose work he bought at her first Deitch Projects show and sold later at auction at considerable profit. More recently a main source of revenue would be the $20 bills he could win on “The Mark Kostabi Show.” He haunted Chelsea, where he saw every show and knew all the gossip. You can tell a guy’s character by looking at his kids, and despite their unconventional parents, Simon’s two children are beautiful and full of grace. Simon was larger than life, and one of those who you can’t believe have gone.
And Nancy Smith also added her thoughts in an email to ARTINFO. A photo of the couple and their children walking on the Lower East Side in 1990 is below:
Speaking as a photographer, the most valuable person you could run into at an opening or party would be Simon. . He had a Rolodex-like memory for names and faces and you could count on him to point out all the players & then provide any relevant background. he could call the art better than anyone else .. And he was a great artist himself. He lived hard, he played hard and he will be missed. He was the real deal.
— Shane Ferro
(Image: SCOTTIE HARRISON)