Michael Galbreth
1956 - 2019
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Michael Galbreth
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.
For more information, please visit www.ASacredChoice.com.
"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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Published in Houston Chronicle from Oct. 23 to Oct. 28, 2019.
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Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by A Sacred Choice
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8 entries
March 7, 2020
I just found this out. I am so sorry, Rainey.
anna rather
October 28, 2019
So saddened to learn of Michael's passing. I remember the old days at Lawndale in the mid 80's. Too, too young.
J. M. M. Barkovich
October 27, 2019
Mike juiced life for all that it was worth and then some. Undoubtedly, he now will be probing the other side with just as much gusto. We are all better for his having been here. Sending love and prayers to Rainey, Tennessee, Jack, Star and all family and friends.
Sheri Goodman
October 27, 2019
What a wonderful tribute to a great artist. Michael will be missed.
Katy Bomar
October 27, 2019
The Art Guys are dear to us. We are sorry for Rainey's loss; sorry for the loss of all his family and friends. His life and art touched many lives. God Bless All.
October 23, 2019
I had the pleasure of working with the Art Guys at Central Market grand opening. I have their image hanging in my kitchen, they're happily covered in food!
My heart is broken.
Nancy Beck
October 22, 2019
My heart is broken.
Laura Perry
October 21, 2019
Dear Richard, Sally and family,
I wish I could think of words to help you. As you are children of God from Baptism, you know the gift of knowing that you will meet again. May our loving Christ keep you and all those you hold dear in tender warmth of Grace, a gift which nobody can ever take from us.

Dwight Nittsche
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