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Doomed and Famous: Selected Obituaries

Adrian Dannatt

Forthcoming Fall 2020
Sequence Press
Drawings by Hugo Guinness
Hardcover 210x135mm
304 pages, 20 b/w illustrations
ISBN 978-099756747-2


“Here comes Mr. Death!” Working as a professional obituarist for decades, Adrian Dannatt tracked and dredged the dead, often finding his subjects amongst colleagues, friends and acq­­­­­uaintances with a macabre disregard for the etiquette of mortality. His speciality, much in demand amongst even the most mainstream publications, were those who would not otherwise merit any such attention; those who had often drifted their whole lives under the radar of public appreciation and whose eccentricity or criminality made them impossible candidates for the fleeting immortality of a newspaper necrology.

Dannatt was devoted to the odd and outrageous, marginal and maverick, maintaining a veritable lust, perverse certainly, for turning their wayward existences into a snappy thousand words of polished prose. This book is a selection of some of the best, meaning most improbable, of these miniature biographies, simply arranged in chronological order from over twenty-five years of such an unusual if not sinister occupation.

Here are arraigned an almost fictive cast of characters including an imaginary Sephardic count in Wisconsin, a sadomasochist collector of the world’s rarest clocks, a discrete Cuban connoisseur of invisibility, an alcoholic novelist in Rio, a Warhol Superstar gone wrong, a leading downtown Manhattan dominatrix, a conceptual artist who blew up a museum and much much more. 

Beginning with a specially-written preface in which he outlines his obsession with the dead and that lifelong lure-of-the-obscure Dannatt terminates this volume with his own extinction, performing the difficult if not dangerous task of penning his personal life history and ultimate end, own obituary indeed.


Adrian Dannatt is a writer, curator, editor and artist based between New York, Paris and London. A longtime New York correspondent for The Art Newspaper his many books include the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (Phaidon), Wim Delvoye (Yale University Press) and most recently Francois-Xavier and Claude Lalanne: In the Domain of Dreams (Rizzoli). His fiction and poetry have been published in a range of anthologies including Best British Short Stories and PEN New Poetry. He has organized exhibitions at varied venues including Robert Indiana at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Price Tower in Oklahoma, Castillo/Corrales in Paris and Storefront for Art & Architecture in Manhattan. At Paul Kasmin Gallery (NY) he organized a triptych of three separate exhibitions and accompanying publications celebrating in turn Alexander Iolas, Les Lalanne and the Impasse Ronsin. His own work as an artist has been exhibited at Deitch Projects, the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester and Shanaynay in Paris.