Thomas McEvilley, distinguished lecturer emeritus of art history, died March 2 at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He was 73. According to an online tribute posted by the poet Charles Bernstein, McEvilley’s wife confirmed that the cause was complications from cancer.
McEvilley devoted a large of part of his life to teaching art and art history at Rice. He arrived at the university in 1969 and retired in 2005. He was a well-known and influential art critic and in 2005 founded the MFA Art Criticism and Writing program at the School of Visual Arts in New York. In addition to articles in art journals and catalog descriptions, he published several books, including “Pat Steir,” “Sculpture in the Age of Doubt” and “The Shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies.”
McEvilley was the recipient of many awards, including the Semple Prize at the University of Cincinnati, a National Endowment for the Arts Critics grant, a Fulbright fellowship and the 1993 Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism from the College Art Association.
He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Cincinnati, a master’s degree from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati.