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Legendary L.E.S. Artist, Actor Taylor Mead Dies

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taylor mead, photo by clayton patterson
Taylor Mead in his Ludlow Street apartment. Photo by Clayton Patterson.

There’s some sad news to report this morning.  Taylor Mead, the legendary Lower East Side artist and actor, died in Colorado yesterday after suffering a stroke. Clayton Patterson, the LES documentarian, heard from Mead’s family late last night, and the news has been spreading on social media today.  Mead, 88, vacated his Ludlow Street apartment earlier this spring, after a long battle with his landlord and said he would be taking a temporary break from New York.

Mead gained fame in the 1960’s and 1970’s after appearing in several Andy Warhol films.  By then, however, the anti-establishment artist was well known for his irreverent brand of beat poetry. Village Voice film critic J. Hoberman called Mead “the first underground movie star.”  He appeared in more than 100 films and was a prolific painter and writer.  Mead performed regularly at the Bowery Poetry Club until it closed last year.  Patterson noted that he continued to be an “active, vital, contributing, creative artist” until very recently.  Just last night, some of Mead’s films were screened at 139 Ludlow St., the possible future home of Soho House on the Lower East Side.


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  1. Taylor acted in two of my films. It is an honor to be included in his filmography. Taylor gave a hilarious performance as a leering pervert in Ecstasy In Entropy in 1999. I later got to film him in his crumbling apartment in 2005, where he ironically played his death scene in an episode of Electra Elf. He complained later that I’d cut the death scene down, but it was all there… nothing was cut. I used to go bar hopping with Taylor, who always got free drinks and was treated as royalty in the most unexpected, chic places, filled with horrible people that he loved to be around. Like Taylor, I fled NYC after it mutated into something hideous, a capitalist nightmare designed to kill artists. After being hounded out of his apartment, paid off to leave by an evil landlord, he couldn’t stay any longer and didn’t live long enough to spend the money.
    We were both announced as Acker Award winners earlier this year. Neither of us will be accepting the award in person, since death, distance and the ugliness of capitalism preclude our presence.

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