Art educator, music lover, good neighbor and life adventurer Gust Vasiliades died Feb. 21, 2004, in his beloved Manhattan. Gust was born April 10, 1965 in Canton, Ohio. After he graduated from high school, he bought his older brother, John, out of the motorcycle they shared, drove to New York City and never looked back. He loved art. Gust made his way into the New York art scene in the 1980s, founding the software services company POSTDATA serving such clients as the Pat Hearn Gallery and Leo Castelli Gallery.
In 1989 he opened the Gust Vasiliades Gallery in Soho, showing several artists who later became big names and some who already were. He also worked as a museum educator at the Guggenheim Museum in the new education department, and at the New School University in 1996. Gust spent several years organizing art shows and expanded into photography. He recently worked on photos that explored the emotional cues and facial expressions of pets and our projection of human emotion onto our pets. His photos appeared in New Observations, ArtNet and various trade magazines. He was an excellent cook and, according to his girlfriend, Marion Fasel, made the best cappuccino. “No one makes coffee as good as you,” she once told him. He paused for a second and then replied, “Gustbucks!” His sense of humor, sharp mind and clever wit could find laughter in any situation, even cancer. When the doctor told him in June of 2002 he had what was called a GIST tumor. He said, “No, it’s Gust.” He was a great dog-father to his chihuahua, Marcel, and knew the name of every dog in his neighborhood, from Marcel’s best friend, Dreyfus, to his mortal enemy, Buick. Marion says Gust was passionate about music, particularly the Beatles.
“Among his vast collection of vinyl there must have been at least seven copies of ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’ alone,” she said. “We even went to Liverpool and took the Magical Mystery Tour.” He lived in the same building in the Nolita neighborhood of Manhattan for nearly 20 years. He cared for his neighbors like family, campaigned to re-route the commercial trucks that disrupted the neighborhood calm, and when someone cut down the tree in front of the building to steal a bike, he made it his mission to get the tree replaced. And he did. Gust, says Marion, liked all forms of transportation. He always had a car, was passionate about sailing and had even logged a couple hours flying. He had a motorcycle and liked vintage bicycles and electric bikes. “It was not unusual to see him cruising up Broadway — yes, against traffic — standing on top of the motorized vintage scooter with perfect posture,” recalls Marion. Gust’s last evening out before his hospitalization was a book-signing at Robert Rauschenberg’s studio to benefit Change Inc., a non-profit, taxexempt foundation established in 1970 to assist professional artists of all disciplines in need of emergency aid. Contributions in memory of Gust Vasiliades can be made to Change Inc., P.O. Box 54, Captiva, FL 33924; Attention: Ms. Bradley Jeffries. Gust is survived by his girlfriend of seven years, Marion, and brothers John and Jim Vasiliades of Ohio.