Osvaldo Romberg, 1938-2019

Celebrating the life and achievements of our dear friend, artist, and curator


Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Artistic legacies
  • Memory
  • Pedagogy

Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Slought is deeply saddened to inform you that artist, curator, and co-founder Osvaldo Romberg passed away on November 24, 2019. It is with grief and sorrow for the loss of our beloved friend that we make public this announcement celebrating his life and achievements. A memorial event will take place at Slought in Spring 2020.

Osvaldo Romberg was born and raised in Argentina, and in his later years lived in Philadelphia, Tel Aviv, and Ilha Grande, Brazil. Over six decades and across five continents, Romberg produced an expansive body of work that questioned the analysis, interpretation and representation of art history. In the early 1970s, for instance, as a painter and conceptual artist, he began using a grid to analyze the tone and saturation of various colors. Romberg's deconstruction of both individual hues and those of famous historical paintings investigated the political and social conventions of looking and seeing. Later, he explored the links between the human body and media, recovered histories of architecture and public space, and produced what he called a "new epistemology" pairing art and life.

Slought began twenty years ago out of an enthusiastic cultural exchange and friendship between Osvaldo Romberg, Aaron Levy, and Jean-Michel Rabaté. From its inception, Slought was committed to bridging artistic and cultural histories, and in the years that followed, Romberg was a vital and dynamic presence in nearly every activity of the organization. Slought's inaugural exhibition, Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting / L'Hypothèse du tableau volé (2002), which playfully revisited an avant-garde classic about a missing work of art, was based on Romberg's private collection. Osvaldo's friendships with artists and curators such as Dennis Oppenheim, Carolee Schneemann, Peter Weibel, and others often informed our identity and programming, and made possible projects such as Die Aktionen: 1962-2003, a video retrospective with Viennese actionist Hermann Nitsch, who came to Philadelphia for the opening. Romberg was also the inspiration for Slought in Transit, an ongoing series of public programs organized in collaboration with cultural organizations in different cities and countries.

We celebrate his infectious energy, endless creativity, and extraordinary ability to form networks of friendships and collaboration across an almost inexhaustible career of sixty years. Osvaldo will be missed by all of us.