CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 1/12/2012
The New York Times reported today that John McWhinnie, one of the world's most respected rare book dealers, had died on Friday. Below is the full text of Mr. McWhinnie's obituary.
"John McWhinnie, a rare-book dealer and gallerist known as a champion of words and images on paper in an age of electronic reading, died on Friday in a snorkeling accident in the British Virgin Islands. He was 43.
Mr. McWhinnie and his wife, Maria Beaulieu, were pulled out to sea by a swift current, his sister, Lisa Paradis, said on Wednesday. A bystander was able to rescue Ms. Beaulieu but not Mr. McWhinnie.
One of the few people to straddle the worlds of high-end book collecting and high-end contemporary art, Mr. McWhinnie was the director of John McWhinnie @ Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, a rare-book shop and gallery at 50 ½ East 64th Street in Manhattan.
As a bookseller, Mr. McWhinnie specialized in the 20th and 21st centuries, concentrating in particular on the Beats. As he made clear in interviews, he prized books as windows onto the culture that produced them, and when it came to culture he made it a practice to represent the high, the low and the unclassifiable. Visitors to the shop might encounter anything from signed Hemingway to obscure pulp fiction to punk manifestos — all collectible.
As a gallerist, Mr. McWhinnie exhibited well-known contemporary artists like Richard Prince and Cindy Sherman, as well as up-and-coming artists.
John Scott McWhinnie was born on Jan. 29, 1968. At Boston College, he earned simultaneous bachelor’s and master’s degrees in philosophy in four years. He later taught in Manila as a Fulbright scholar before doing graduate work in philosophy at Fordham.
Mr. McWhinnie, who began selling items from his own sizable book collection as a graduate student, met Mr. Horowitz, an established rare-book dealer, at a book fair. Before long, Mr. McWhinnie, who had planned on an academic career, was managing Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Mr. Horowitz’s shop and gallery in East Hampton, on Long Island. The Manhattan shop opened in 2005.
With Mr. Horowitz, Mr. McWhinnie also ran a small publishing imprint, JMc & GHB Editions, which produced artists’ books and exhibition catalogs.
Besides his wife and sister, Mr. McWhinnie’s survivors include his parents, John and Betty McWhinnie."