Michael Galbreth

Michael Galbreth

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The artist Michael Galbreth left the fairgrounds on October 19, 2019, from complications following emergency surgery for an aortic dissection. He was 63.

Here are some of the things that Michael loved: pulling stunts and making art, most notably with his longtime collaborator Jack Massing in the duo The Art Guys, playing chess with his friend Jim Pirtle at Notsuoh, teaching art at Sam Houston State University, fishing in Galveston Bay, playing golf, Bruce Springsteen, Randy Newman, The Beatles, John Cage, Steve Reich, Revolutionary War biographies by Joseph Ellis, impenetrable books about quantum mechanics and number theories, bawdy jokes, trees, red-tailed hawks, friendly spiders, Texas wildflowers, chaos theory, game theory, paradox, wrongheadedness, the Houston Rockets, complaining about the Houston Rockets, asking his wife arcane questions about the Houston Rockets that he knew she couldn’t answer, Ken Burns’ Civil War, movies about space exploration, arguing politics, gin and tonic, good meals with good friends, the Illinois monument and the USS Cairo at the Vicksburg, MS national park, long drives in the country, exploring cities, all of his artist heroes, heresy, the sacred, the profane, freedom, excellence in any form, the underlying structure of things, this earth, this universe, this life. Most especially his friends and family.

On road trips, Michael liked to eat cheap honey buns from truck stops. He would buy one and say, “It can’t go stale because it was never fresh!”

Michael said, “Drawing is not a crutch, but an anchor” and “Outer space will eventually be proven to be non-geometric and without scale” and “It’s the thought that counts” and “Anything worth doing is worth over-doing.”

Michael said, “The idea that ‘art’ is useless and has no application, particularly in education, is laughable and absurd. It is the very foundation of thinking itself. There’s your application.”

A Tennessee boy to the core, he was gracious, elegant, wry, and a bit of a redneck, in the very best sense of the word. Later in life, he always wore bow ties and jackets.

He made us laugh.

He made us pay attention.

He made coming up with great ideas look easy.

Michael is survived by his wife of 16 years, Rainey Knudson, son Tennessee Galbreth, mother Pat Galbreth of Nashville, brothers Bill and Joe Galbreth and sister Patty Stephens and their spouses and children and grandchildren, a passel of Knudson/Reynolds/Clare in-laws, and a most faithful hound named Sandy.

Services will be held on Monday, October 28, 2019, at 2pm at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas Avenue. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Michael Galbreth Visiting Artist Fund at Sam Houston State University, or The Regis School of the Sacred Heart in Houston.
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“It is said that art is about life and death. That may be melodramatic. But it is also true.” – Bruce Nauman
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