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Artist Struck Down Too Soon

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George Baker was a sixty-six (66) year old Professor of Fine Arts at the Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. Diagnosed in March of 1997, he passed away in July of 1997.

For forty (40) years George had been creating sculptures which were both beautiful and beguiling. Like a musical composer, George created a score, developing a set of relationships between the visible shapes and invisible mechanics which comprise a sculpture. Most of George’s sculptures are kinetic. They move mechanically or with the wind or current. He has sculptures that hang from rafters or ceilings or float in water.

George had been hired to created large scale metal sculptures in Germany, California, Japan, Washington and Nebraska. He had solo exhibitions at the Gallery Springer, West Berlin, the Gallery Renee Ziegler in Zurich, Switzerland, the University of Louvain in Belgium as well as several galleries in New York and California. In the opening credits of the once popular television series, ‘Beverly Hills 90210', George Baker’s Lucille Y. Gilman Memorial Fountain at the Occidental College is showcased. It typifies the scale and ingenuity of his metal work.

George Baker devoted his life to making sculptures and teaching. He lived in his studio, which was adjacent to his class rooms. Once he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, he was unable to pursue his art or his occupation. He could only sit in his studio and look at his unfinished projects. He was too weak and preoccupied with his tumors. His mind was fresh and bursting with creativity. But his body would not respond. "It’s like I’m a prisoner in my own body. I was just hitting my prime. It takes years and years to establish a reputation in the art world. I had arrived. Now I don’t even return calls from agents who want to hire me. What’s the use?"

Some of George's beautiful sculptures:

Water Forms

Water Forms
1989, World Trade Center, Long Beach, CA

Three Axis Wind (Motor)

Three Axis Wind (Motor)
Kinetic by wind or motor, stainless steel, bronze

Standing Ring 1996

Standing Ring 1996
Meant to be viewed only from the front, motorized sculpture commissioned for the corporate offices of the Souther COmpany in Atlanta, Georgia

Double Axis with Red
Double Axis with Red
Motorized, stainless steel, red paint. 

The Lucille Y. Gilman Memorial Fountain

The Lucille Y. Gilman Memorial Fountain
The fountain was made entirely by students at the college working under the direction of their professor, George Bak