Friday December 13, 2013 | by Andrew Page

In Memoriam: Kanik Chung (1968 - 2013)

FILED UNDER: In Memoriam, News

Kanik Chung, a glass designer and artist based in New York since 2000, died on December 4th, 2013, at the age of 45 from complications due to cancer. Born in Texas in 1968, Chung grew up in Palo Alto, California. He attended San Francisco State University, where he pursued his interests in ceramics and glass, and went on to earn an M.F.A. from Ohio State University in 1998 with a focus on glass. Chung had a long association with UrbanGlass, in Brooklyn, New York, where he was known for his dedication to highly controlled handling of glass and his unforgiving attention to precision. He was also a well-respected educator, and had regularly led the New York University glass courses offered at UrbanGlass. In 2009, Chung opened a design studio in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn called simply 70 John, where he showed design works exhibiting his unique blend of extraordinarily exacting hand-blown forms with hints of a restrained sense of humor. Case in point are his 2009 “tablescape” design installations of opaque white glass vessels which draw on shapes derived fom a variety of sources including Chinese ceramics, milk bottles, and cartoon imagery. 

Chung was diagnosed with cancer in early 2012. He was treated with standard chemotherapy but also took part in a series of cutting-edge experimental drug trials at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Throughout much of his extended battle with cancer, Chung was able to continue working on his own artwork and design lines, on his partnership in Mazel Tov Glass, and on a series of retail installations at Saks Fifth Avenue locations in Troy, Michigan; St. Louis; and Chevy Chase, Maryland. He also was able to find the time and energy to visit friends and family in California, and take in a number of baseball games. In his final months, he dedicated himself exclusively to his own artwork.

In October 2013, Chung began to feel a persistent pain his left foot, which was initially diagnosed as unrelated to his cancer. However, a biopsy in November showed that it was. A persistent cough also began to get much worse in late November, and he began having difficulty breathing on November 29th. He was admitted to Memorial Sloan-Kettering, where he was put on a a ventillator to help him breathe. The breathing tube was removed on the morning of Wednesday, December 4th, and he passed quietly, surrounded by firends and family, inlcuding his sister who had made the trip from California. A small gathering of close friends and family met that same afternoon at the apartment of Andrea Osnow, one of the owners of Mazel Tov Glass, to begin to process their loss.

Chung's long fight against cancer has been chronicled in a blog entitled "Keeping Up with Kanik" which is billed as a way for friends and family to stay connected and updated on his treatment and recovery. He is survived by his sister, Ling-Fong, who made frequent trips to New York to support her brother's battle. Chung's family is requesting that "in lieu of flowers, donations be made to any living artist you know, like, or love," according to the official obituary published in the New York Times. The time and place where a memorial celebration of Kanik's life will be held will be announced on the blog

Glass: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, a glossy art magazine published four times a year by UrbanGlass has provided a critical context to the most important artwork being done in the medium of glass for more than 40 years.