Pop artist James Rizzi dies at 61

By Associated Press
James Rizzi, a Brooklyn-born and SoHo based pop artist best known for his playful and childlike three-dimensional sculptures, has died. Rizzi, a native of Brooklyn, died Monday at his SoHo studio at age 61. He had a heart condition, Lieventhal said.
Rizzi enjoyed some of his biggest successes in Germany and Asia.
“With his art, what you see is what you get,” said Alexander Lieventhal, an executive at Art 28 GmbH & Co. in Stuttgart, Germany, which manages and sells Rizzi’s work. “Any child can look at it and understand what he’s trying to convey: a celebration of life.” He became known for his bright, cartoon-like drawings and 3-D constructions. In 1996
Lufthansa commissioned him to decorate a jet with pastel stars, birds and travelers.
James Rizzi applied his playful, cartoon-like art style to unusual projects worldwide, from Volkswagen Beetles and Japanese train ads to cow sculptures in New York and the front page of a German newspaper. His creations included images for German postage stamps and a tourist guide to New York published this year. He was the official artist for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and soccer World Cup games in France.
In New York, he created a limited-edition of the MetroCard subway fare-paying system for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. His designs also appeared in “CowParade,” an exhibit of fiberglass sculptures displayed in New York public spaces.
There, he designed the ring coat for boxer Henry Maske, china for the Rosenthal company, the front page of a newspaper in Hamburg and some vehicular art — a toy-size fire engine and three versions of the 1999 Volkswagen “New Beetle.”
Rizzi was divorced and had no children. Survivors include his mother, a brother and a sister.

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