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Joseph Conway

Post #1054 • September 15, 2007, 8:14 AM • 2 Comments

In May, Supergirl and I honeymooned in the Berkshires. We drove out from Boston to North Adams, and enjoyed a week exploring the area's geography and art scene. One of the high points of the trip was our visit to Kolok Gallery, where we spent four hours with Kurt Kolok and his guy, Joseph Conway. Kurt spoke knowledgeably about the city of North Adams, the bold experiment of Mass MoCA, the art fairs, and the art world in general, all while regaling us with tales of the gallery, enthusiastically showing us his artists, and directing us to the best restaurants in the northern Berkshires. Joseph, who was painting the stairs, had us cracking up the whole time, displaying a gift not just for humor but for putting people at ease and making them feel at home. Under discussion, amidst the art and a bit of politics, was our eventual relocation to the area, an idea they encouraged with such warmth that I could envision the dinner parties with our new friends. I left with my first art purchase, and promised that we'd stay in touch despite our move out to California.

Last night we received this e-mail.

It is with deep sorrow that we inform you of the passing of Kolok Gallery owner Kurt Kolok's life partner Joseph Conway. Kurt and Joe were involved in a tragic car accident on September 3rd in Staten Island, NY caused by a drunk driver traveling in the wrong direction. Although Kurt escaped with non-life threatening injuries, Joe was killed instantly.

While recovering emotionally and physically, Kurt will be taking a near-term leave of absence from gallery business. In addition to being an unfathomable loss in Kurt's personal life, Joe's warm smile and kind heart will be sorely missed by all.

A memorial service to celebrate Joe's life is taking place Saturday, September 15th at 11am in the B-10 Theater at MASS MoCA. Due to an overwhelming outpouring of support, we ask that you please send your condolences by way of the gallery.

Thanks to the efforts of numerous volunteers, Kolok Gallery's planned exhibition Stir, Draw, Pitch will be open to the public at 5:30pm on Saturday, September 15th and is dedicated to Joe's memory. The gallery will remain open during regular business hours.

Stir, Draw, Pitch: New Abstractions is an exhibition of new paintings by Paris-based artist Jean Noel Chazelle and Brooklyn artist Elizabeth Winton. For additional exhibition details please contact joshua(at)

We are greatly saddened to hear this. Our thoughts are with Kurt, the Conways, and the art community of North Adams this morning, and we wish all of them strength and courage.




September 15, 2007, 9:02 AM

Too bad. They sound like a couple of really nice guys.


ali b.

September 16, 2007, 2:54 PM

Joe was one of a kind - warm, kind, funny, interested in everyone. I'm glad you got a chance to meet him. You captured him nicely here. Thank you for this lovely post.



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