Pop artist James Rizzi dies at 61

Associated Press
FILE - In this May 20, 2010 file picture US Pop Art artist James Rizzi stands in front of his work "In the Spirit of Peace", painted on a fragment of the Berlin Wall, during the opening of his exhibition "Rizzi's World - 60 Years of James Rizzi" in Bremen, northern Germany. James Rizzi, a New York-born and based pop artist best known for his playful and childlike three-dimensional sculptures, has died. He was 61.  Rizzi's managers, Art 28 GmbH & Co. KG, based in Stuttgart, Germany, said in a statement on its website that the artist died peacefully at his studio in New York's SoHo district on Monday Dec. 26, 2011. They gave no cause of death. (AP  Photo/dapd/Focke Strangmann,File)
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FILE - In this May 20, 2010 file picture US Pop Art artist James Rizzi stands in front of his work "In the Spirit of Peace", painted on a fragment of the Berlin Wall, during the opening of his exhibition "Rizzi's World - 60 Years of James Rizzi" in Bremen, northern Germany. James Rizzi, a New York-born and based pop artist best known for his playful and childlike three-dimensional sculptures, has died. He was 61. Rizzi's managers, Art 28 GmbH & Co. KG, based in Stuttgart, Germany, said in a statement on its website that the artist died peacefully at his studio in New York's SoHo district on Monday Dec. 26, 2011. They gave no cause of death. (AP Photo/dapd/Focke Strangmann,File)

NEW YORK (AP) — James Rizzi, a New York-born and based pop artist best known for his playful and childlike three-dimensional sculptures, has died. He was 61.

Rizzi's managers, Art 28 GmbH & Co. KG, based in Stuttgart, Germany, said in a statement on its website that the artist died peacefully at his studio in New York's SoHo district on Monday. They gave no cause of death.

Rizzi was born in Brooklyn and studied art at the University of Florida. He returned to New York in 1974 and first made his name as a street artist.

He became known for his bright, cartoon-like drawings and 3-D constructions. In 1996 Lufthansa commissioned him to decorate a jet with pastel stars, birds and travelers.

Rizzi developed a large international following, especially in Germany. Last year a school in Duisburg was named for him.

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