Obituary | Myron Mirakovsky

Citizen X | Citizen LA

Mirror Master attacked by wolves, dead at 79.

Myron Mirakovsky, known as the ‘master of mirrors’ for the thousands of works he created using reflective surfaces, died December 1st in Brooklyn, New York, from injuries sustained in a wolf attack in Central Park.

Born in Odessa Russia, Mirakovsky emigrated to the U.S. with his parents in the 1950’s. In New York, he worked with his father, a glazier, and attended the Pratt Institute. In the early 60’s he burst into the New York art scene with his installation at Andy Warhol’s Factory, ‘Shiny Dogs,’ which consisted of twenty German Shepherds wrapped in highly reflective Mylar.

In his next show, at the Leo Castelli Gallery, hundreds of cunningly placed mirrors created the sensation of vast crowds stretching to infinity. The six-week exhibition was cancelled after the second week when several members of a visiting group of patients from the Brooklyn Psychiatric Institute ran amok in the gallery, injuring two patrons and smashing a dozen mirrors.

Mirakovsky shied away from large installation following the Castelli Gallery debacle and focused instead on constructing mirror effects that disrupted the viewer’s sense of scale. Using refracting surfaces, he created reflected illusions in which insects (an ant colony, in his most famous work) appeared to be the same size as humans. The effect was disturbing.

For several decades the artist labored in obscurity until a book about him by art historian Eva Hassan (Reflections on Reflections) prompted renewed interest in his mirror works. At a recent retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the aging artist apparently became disoriented during the installation of one of his mirrored chambers and suffered a fall, cracking his hip. Forced to walk with a cane, New York police surmise Mirakovsky was unable to escape when the wolves attacked.

He is survived by two daughters, Myra and Sylvia.