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RIT mourns death of Artist in Residence Wendell Castle

January 21, 2018 11:43 PM

The Rochester Institute of Technology is mourning the death of its Artist in Residence, Wendell Castle.

According to a release by the college, Castle died in his Scottsville home on Saturday at the age of 85. 

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Called the "father of the art furniture movement", Castle was credited with inventing new ways of designing and constructing furniture, "allowing unrestricted form to be realized that would be impossible to create using traditional techniques." His pieces are in the collections of more than 50 museums and galleries worldwide, including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art in New York City. His work had recently been part of an exhibition at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester. 

Castle had been a member of the RIT faculty since 1962, and had continued to teach a graduate industrial design seminar until recently. During his career, he was given awards from the Smithsonian and the University of Rochester, and was one of the first members of the RIT Innovation Hall of Fame.

"Wendell was a force of nature and a powerful yet gentle intellect," said a statement by fellow RIT professor Josh Owen, chair of the school's Industrial Design Program, "He was deeply grounded to his own inner current and capable of sharing his unique passion for art and design, materials and innovative processes with others - especially students and faculty at RIT. Over the 8 short years I’ve been with RIT, Wendell has contributed meaningfully in many ways to the growth of our intellectual community.”

He is survived by his wife, brother, two children, and two grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending. 

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