Burton died of complications due to AIDS on December 29, 1989, at Cabrini Medical Center in New York City.
See Aids Memorial on FB here.
Mr. Burton, a small, wiry man known for his erudition, verbal precision and explosive laugh, worked as a critic and an editor for Art News and Art in America before becoming a full-time artist.
He was inspired by tensile chairs and tables of Rietveld, the Dutch De Stijl designer who, like Piet Mondrian, specialized in simple geometries and primary colors. Further inspiration came from the round stone table and stools that Constantin Brancusi created as a memorial for the fallen of World War I in Tirgu Jiu, Rumania. But he also took ideas from Art Deco designs, the common American lawn chair, as well as rustic or Adirondack furniture made from bark-covered tree trunks and branches.
His wide-ranging body of writing, which often champions positions thought to be antagonistic and advocates for underdogs, is united by a strong and consistent underlying philosophy—his belief that art should be accessible, personal, and affective, that it should challenge the elitism, exclusivity, and hierarchies that plague the art world in favor of producing subjective and eclectic emotional responses and direct connections with viewers. He sought to dissolve the boundaries between art and life, placing emphasis on temporal and performative works because they are subject to the same mortal span as the viewer and deny the impossible permanence of the object.
Mahogany Table by Scott Burton
Hannah Weiner, Scott Burton, Anne Waldman, Vito Acconi, Bernadette Mayer, Eduardo Costa and John Perreault, NYC, 1969