Remembering Govinda Artists and Friends Who Passed Away in 2011

by Chris Murray on December 30, 2011

I would like to remember some very special artists and friends of Govinda Gallery who passed away this year. They made a big difference in our lives at Govinda.

Bob Venosa (January 21, 1936 – August 9, 2011)
Bob Venosa was one of the great visionary artists it was our pleasure to show at Govinda Gallery. I first met Bob in Cadaques, Spain, where I was living during the summer of 1972 with artists Howard Carr and Kim Waters. Bob came to Cadaques to meet Salvador Dali. We knew Dali and were performing as a musical trio every evening at Dali’s home in Port Lligat, while he entertained guests by his swimming pool in his surreal garden. We brought Bob to Dali’s home and introduced him to the great master painter, and we remained friends ever since. Bob’s paintings were featured in several exhibitions at Govinda including two one-person shows in 1984 and 1980. We reproduce here the invitations from those two exhibitions along with a photograph of Bob Venosa showing Albert Hoffman his portrait of the legendary scientist who discovered LSD. We will miss Bob and his enormous talent and charm.

Scientist Albert Hoffman with artist Bob Venosa and his portrait of Hoffman.

Astral Circus (Detail), 1980. Copyright ©Bob Venosa. All Rights Reserved.

Kara Kennedy (February 27, 1960 – September 16, 2011)
Kara was a great friend of mine and of Govinda Gallery’s for over thirty years. Her presence at our exhibitions always lit up the room. It was a real pleasure this year to give Kara a tour of Alfred Werthiemer’s Elvis at 21 exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, along with her dear friend Linda Donovan and Photojournalist David Burnett. We all had a great day together.

Here is a photo of Kara at Govinda Gallery’s 25th anniversary party at Halcyon House published in the December/January 2001 issue of George Magazine which was edited by her cousin John Kennedy.

Robert Whitaker (November 13, 1939 – September 20, 2011)
Robert Whitaker used to love to visit Govinda Gallery and Georgetown on his visits to America from his home in England. Bob was a wonderful photographer who was most famous for his banned “butcher block” photograph on the original album cover for the Beatles Yesterday and Today. Bob’s photographs were included in a number of Govinda exhibitions, most notably our tribute to George Harrison in 2002. Bob also photographed Eric Clapton and Cream for their Disraeli Gears album cover and accompanied John Lennon to Japan and took many great photographs of him on that journey. He also took an incredible collection of photographs of Salvador Dali. Bob had a great sense of humor and we will miss him.

Photographer Robert Whitaker.

Original cover for Yesterday and Today by Robert Whitaker.

Front and back covers for Cream’s Disraeli Gears. Photographs by Robert Whitaker.

Donovan, Chris Murray, and Robert Whitaker at Govinda’s 25th Anniversary exhibition in September, 2000. Copyright ©Neshan Naltchayan. All Rights Reserved.

George Harrison at Regents Park Zoo in London. Copyright ©Robert Whitaker. All Rights Reserved.

Barry Feinstein (February 4, 1931 – October 20, 2011)
Govinda Gallery is proud to have hosted Barry Feinstein’s first exhibition, simply titled Barry Feinstein: Photographs in 2002. His extraordinary images of Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, George Harrison and King Curtis are known throughout the world. Barry’s dear friend Donovan came to his opening reception at Govinda Gallery and played several songs in honor of Barry. Photographers Jim Marshall and Danny Clinch attended that opening as well. The Washington Post art critic, Jessica Dawson, wrote of “Barry Feinstein’s iconic toilet graffiti photographs”, that were featured in the Rolling Stones 40×20 exhibition at Govinda in October of 2002. Those photographs were used for the front and back covers of the Rolling Stones album Beggars Banquet. Barry’s photographs of George Harrison were also featured in our tribute exhibition to George in 2002. Barry was always generous, creative, and a loyal friend. We love you Barry.

Photographer Barry Feinstein.

Beggars Banquet, front and back covers, 1968. Copyright ©Barry Feinstein. All Rights Reserved.

Barry Feinstein’s photograph for the cover of Janis Joplin’s Pearl, taken just a few days before she passed away.

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