Szymon Bojko passed away on Friday, October 24, 2014 at the age of 97 at the nursing home outside of Warsaw, Poland where he had been living for the past two years.
Bojko was born on February 25, 1917 in Warsaw and studied at the University of Warsaw after World War II. He published articles on a variety of art forms internationally and taught in Poland, Australia, Japan, and Brazil. Bojko joined the RISD Art History faculty in the Fall of 1984 and retired in 2001. In 1988 he directed the first of a dozen RISD Cabarets undertaken in successive Wintersessions, initially as an extra-curricular experience and later as an immersive six-credit art history and performance course that was a life-changing experience for students. His RISD Cabaret collaborators included Don Keefer, Agnieszka Taborska, Bill Newkirk, Peter O’Neill and Edward Dwyer. Professors James O. Barnhill and Julie Strandberg of Brown University and local composer Steven Jobe also worked with Bojko and his students to bring moments and movements in art history to life in original choreography, music, installation, and performance.*
Bojko was nominated for the Frazier Award for Excellence in Teaching, was the recipient of four Professional Development grants, and received an honorary doctorate from RISD in 2002. Generosity was a Bojko trademark –from donating part of his important poster collection to the RISD Library, to his enthusiastic support of the creative and scholarly aspirations of younger colleagues and students around the globe, to his producing wheat grass juice on request for weary students at semester’s end. RISD will miss this larger than life character.
* A number of the Cabarets were documented and may be viewed at the RISD Library.