Edward Meneeley, born in Wilkes-Barre on Dec. 18, 1927, died early Saturday morning "with a smile on his face" according to his nurse.
A champion of the role of culture in society, Meneeley had been part of the art scene in New York and London for over 50 years, showing in many prestigious institutions and galleries including the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan and the Tate Modern, London.
With dual careers on both sides of the Atlantic, Meneeley was a painter, sculptor, print-maker, photographer, film-maker, turn by turn, and sometimes all at the same time. He invented custom machinery for the making of art, as well as the Electrostatic Print Process as a medium for the fine arts. He was the publisher of one of the earliest pop art newspapers. He was photographer for the artists' magazine It is published by the sculptor Philip Pavia. For a period of 18 months, he worked in close collaboration with Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg on special projects. With the painters Herman Cherry and Kyle Morris he developed a program for making photographic color slides of the works of contemporary avant-garde artists. This expanded in due course into the Portable Press Gallery, which documented the works of over 7,000 American and British artists, forming the nucleus of ESM Documentation Archives.
A veteran of two wars, Meneeley joined the Navy shortly after the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor. He spent most of World War II as a medic caring for paraplegics in Riverside, Calif., where he befriended Marlon Brando. Upon discharge, Meneeley returned home to Wilkes-Barre to attend the Murray School of Art and began making frequent trips to New York City. He was then recalled for the Korean War, where he served as a Navy photographer at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital. When released, Meneeley staged two solo exhibitions at the Donovan Gallery in Philadelphia before moving to Manhattan to attend The School of Visual Arts on his second installment of the GI Bill.
A three-time recipient of grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation as well as the National Endowment for the Arts and British Arts Council, Meneeley staged his first one-person exhibit in New York in 1962. His last four decades included numerous solo and group shows in London, Athens, Edinburgh, Atlanta and New York, including his last major solo exhibition in 2010 within the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
He is survived by his sister, Beverly Cushner of Shavertown; nephew, Jack Kitchen; nieces, Karen Lyons and Linda Shrader; great-nephews, Jesse and Shane, and an extensive body of work. A memorial service for friends and family will be held in the near future.
Read more about Ed's life or watch a video of his lecture at the Arts Students League at www.swimming-naked-at-the-ymca.com.
Private arrangements in the care of Philip J. Jeffries F.H., 211 First St., Weatherly, Pa. Philip J. Jeffries F.D.
Online registry and condolences may be signed at www.griffithsfuneralhomes.com.