Kate Johnson and Michael J. Masucci, 1997
Photo Credit: Robert Gelman
I always said that Kate Johnson had terrible taste in men. After all, she spent over half of her all-too-short life with me. She could have done much better. Much, much better. She could have been with a billionaire, a famous artist, a politician or corporate leader. In fact, before moving in with me, she had seriously dated a musician now in the Rock & Rock Hall of Fame, as well as several Hollywood Producers and even a national politician. She could have had anyone, and yet, she picked me. I don’t think I ever fully lived up to that privilege, but I always tried. I think that it was my constant trying, that won and kept her heart.
Beyond love, friendship is what truly binds a couple. The joy of being together, doing things together, and just being together. Together we saw LA’s cultural communities come of age, through countess movies, plays, performances, gallery openings or the lectures we attended. And there were the times on the boat, or the simpler times, cooking together, enjoying a glass of wine on the terrace, playing with the cats, or just plain talking. Talking about anything and everything: politics, art, spirituality, science, anything and everything,
We were bound together by love, respect and a commitment to each other. And at its most basic: we just had a lot of fun together. None of the obstacles which curse any relationship could destroy that.
There is so much to remember, and things long forgotten have now freshly resurfaced. But it was our travels together that I may remember most, because she documented them extensively through her photography. I can revisit them at any time. She used her camera as one of her most effective journals. She had wanted to publish a book of her travel photography, and I will follow through for her, and publish one in the near future. And I during those numerous adventures together, I always used my smartphone to take many pictures of her in these amazing places, which I will share with you soon. It is still difficult to go through them all. Perhaps I will ask a friend to do it.
The love that Kate showed me and so many of you, was amplified by the love which she and I were shown, during these difficult almost 3 years since she was diagnosed with cancer. But it was actually almost 2 years longer that she felt sick and showed symptoms, tragically, during that time she was incorrectly diagnosed as having ‘walking pneumonia’.
It will now be among the other things I wish to do with what remains of my life, to advocate for Kate’s rightful place in the legacy of LA art history. She belongs there and LA needs her story included, to transit correctly into an understanding of 21st century arts-based practices. I do believe I will succeed in this effort.
But Kate was so beyond merely being an artist. She was so much, much more. She was a thinker, a philosopher, and a cultural ambassador. A person devoid of bigotry of any kind. She had an inexhaustible capacity for love. She was the real deal. One in a million, all the cliches that people say about lost loved ones, and yet with Kate, it really was all true.
She will always be with me, and I hope that whatever the realities of this universe are, that she is out there, joyous as always, eternal, endless and boundless. Just as she was in life.
With all my love, appreciation and gratitude, as always,
“KJ my love”
A letter by Michael J. Masucci
Kate & Michael, 1996
Collab Opening, 2011
Kate & Michael, 2015
Kate in Delphi, Greece
Hookah's in Cairo
With the cats
Swimming with sharks
Kate & Michael on phone
Celebrating Michael's birthday
Swimming with pigs
Leaning Tower of Piza
A young Kate