John Bernard Myers was a dear friend of my mother's and a quite the character. He often would stand at the top of the stairs at parties and sing.
Mr. Myers was the Director and owner of the Tibor di Nagy Gallery in New York for many years.
He published Parenthese a literary magazine, where artists and writers were regularly featured.
Mr. Myers liked to "discover" artists . . . and he had discovered Red Grooms and some other luminaries. He wrote art reviews and articles for art magazines. He was the first to publish poets Frank O'Hara and John Ashbery.
He wrote an autobiography filled with art world gossip called "Tracking the Marvellous."
John Bernard Myers, Dealer In Artworks and Literature
By GRACE GLUECK
Published: July 28, 1987
LEAD: John Bernard Myers, an art dealer and writer who presented and published the work of many well-known New York artists and poets, died of cancer of the bladder Sunday night at the Danbury (Conn.) Hospital. He was 67 years old and lived in Manhattan.
John Bernard Myers, an art dealer and writer who presented and published the work of many well-known New York artists and poets, died of cancer of the bladder Sunday night at the Danbury (Conn.) Hospital. He was 67 years old and lived in Manhattan.
A colorful and disputatious presence in the art world for more than 40 years, Mr. Myers - as a partner in the Tibor de Nagy Gallery from 1951 to 1970 - mounted the first solo shows of such New York painters as Larry Rivers, Grace Hartigan, Helen Frankenthaler, Red Grooms, Alfred Leslie and Fairfield Porter.
He also promoted and published the work of a number of budding writers whom he called ''Poets of the New York School'' - including John Ashbery, Barbara Guest, James Schuyler, Kenneth Koch and the late Frank O'Hara. With his longtime companion, the late stage director Herbert Machiz, he was involved from 1953 to 1969 with the Artists Theater, which produced new or little-known works by playwrights and poets with sets designed by New York artists. Witty Tongue-Lashings
Strongly opinionated about art and literature, and a firm believer in the talents he espoused, Mr. Myers was never one to mince words in dealing with those who did not share his enthusiasms. Yet even the recipients of his tongue-lashings agreed that they were wittily delivered, and he enlivened many art parties with his gifts for anecdote, mimicry, singing and cooking.
Mr. Myers, who was born in Buffalo, established his own puppet theater there as a teen-ager. He also helped edit a literary magazine, Upstate, and his success with it brought him a job in New York as managing editor of View, an avant-garde quarterly edited by the film critic Parker Tyler and the writer Charles Henri Ford.
In Manhattan, he continued to stage marionette shows, and he attended the famous classes in art history conducted by Meyer Schapiro at the New School. He quickly became acquainted with the cognoscenti of the art and literary worlds.
After View folded, Mr. Myers organized - with a partner, Tibor de Nagy - the Tibor de Nagy Gallery, and served as its director for 19 years. The gallery was stubbornly eclectic. Mr. Myers was never swayed by trends, and showed a wide range of talents, from the abstract motifs of Robert Goodnough to the droll figures of Mr. Grooms. In 1970, Mr. Myers set up shop under his own name, but four years later, concerned over the increasing financial burdens of running a gallery, he retired. In Search of 'the Marvelous'
Since then, he had divided his time between work as a private dealer, lecturer, publisher (of an art-and-literary quarterly, Parenthese), writer and exhibition organizer. In 1981 he organized a show of his favorite contemporary artists, called ''Tracking the Marvelous,'' for the Grey Art Gallery at New York University.
He gave the same title two years later to a book that described his adventures in the art world. His use of the word ''marvelous,'' Mr. Myers explained, derived from the ''Surrealist Manifesto'' by Andre Breton, a poet he much admired. ''I could think of no more prodigious word and no greater goal in life than to seek for the marvelous,'' he said.
In the last two years, he had served as a consultant for the Kouros Gallery in New York.
Mr. Myers is survived by two brothers, James, of Venice, Fla., and Edwin, of Fort Pierce, Fla., and four sisters, Dolores Kaltenbach of Lake Placid, N.Y., and Grace Sullivan, Evelyn Ward and Lillian Van Dewater of Buffalo. He also leaves two nephews, Paul and Robert Myers.