Monday, March 28, 2011

Flo (Flores) McGarrell, an American artist and gender activist, was born in Rome, Italy on August 31, 1974. He died in Jacmel, Haiti in the earthquake of January 12, 2010.

As a student at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore (1993-1997) his work and interests quickly moved from figurative painting and drawing to huge inflatable sculptures, and pursued this interest during graduate studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His first one-man show was at he Lisa Dent Gallery in San Francisco (2004). For the last three years of his life, he focused attention on projects for sustainable living: "Agrisculpture,"
involving live plants; and the use of recycled plastic, first shown at the Roswell Museum and Art Center, Roswell, NM (2007) ; a mosaic of broken and recycled solar cells that could be used to recharge cell phonbes and laptops in Jacmel, Haiti, where McGarrell was director of the FOSAJ (Fanal Otantik Sant d'A Jakmel)
art center. He had been deeply interested in Haitian art and culture since childhood. He was art director of the film "Maggots and Men" (2005), and at the time of his death had produced a short film based on Kathy Acker's Kathy Goes to Haiti as participation in the 2009 Ghetto Biennale of Port-au-Prince. He also exhibited at the AVA Gallery and Art Center of Lebanon, New Hampshire.

His life and untimely death inspired the creation of a new art center in Jacmel (Jakmel Ekspresyons) and the film le Jour y Est by Claudel (Zaka) Chery.

He is survived by his brother Andrew McGarrell of St. Joseph, Missouri, and his parents, James and Ann McGarrell of Newbury, Vermont. For additional information about Flo McGarrell's life and work, please contact Andrew at or Ann at

Words and Pictures of Flo

There are plans to rebuild Flo's site; in the meantime there is a capture of the site from the Wayback Machine.

Art21 Blog: in-depth interview

Flo's Flickr album

Collection of pictures gathered by Kiku

Godfather Barnaby's video footage of Flo in Jacmel, days before the earthquake

Tributes from friends

Flo's Facebook page

"Going with Flo" tribute blog

Tribute from Jeanene, who made friends with Flo in Haiti in the weeks before the earthquake hit

Photographer Julie Dermansky's blog posts about Flo

Friend Winnie's tribute (Village Voice)

Brother Andrew's tribute

Wikipedia article

From organizations associated with Flo

flashback memorial to Flo's Roswell project

MICA news release


Main Street Museum

Media stories

Baltimore Sun obituary

Wall Street Journal

San Francisco Examiner

Seven Days, Vermont's independent newspaper

Washington Post

Baltimore City Paper

Bay Area Reporter

WPTZ (New England TV station)