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.