Taylor McLean, 72, a prolific artist, dancer, writer and musician who touched the lives of many with his sensitive and uncompromising works, died peacefully on Feb. 25 at Christ Hospital in Jersey City. He was surrounded by his family and immense love. The cause of death was plasma cell leukemia.
He was born in 1943 in Jersey City, and was raised there, one of two sons, to L. Deckle McLean, originally of Barbados, and Ella (Ayres) McLean, originally of Maryland. He graduated from Exeter Academy, one of the first African American students to attend, in 1961. He began his arts education at the Art Students League in New York and then moved to Boston where he completed his B.A. in Art History from Harvard College in 1965 and an Ed. M. at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1981.
After college he served as an apprentice and mentee to the acclaimed sculptor and designer, Mirko Basaldella. He became a long time resident of the Fenway neighborhood in Boston, working out of his studio on Boylston Street from 1976 until 1992. His work included lithographs, sculptures, paintings, ceramics, handcrafted drums and more. He also worked as a jazz percussionist, dancer, film producer and writer.
Mr. McLean performed in countless jazz ensembles, dance and performance art pieces with collaborators such as Stan Strickland, Dan O’Brien, John Voigt, Tom Plesk, Nancy Adams, Joy Kellman, D. Sharpe, Nance Sharpe, Aisha Kahlil, Dominique Eade, Lowell Davidson, and Jon Damien among others. He worked closely with and performed often at the Mobius Artists Group, an artist run center for experimental work providing a space for presenting visual, performing and media arts.
In 1988 Mr. McLean was commissioned by the city of Boston and the Fenway neighborhood to install a sculpture at the Harry Ellis Dickinson Park in Boston. His work entitled Tent Bay, an ode to his ancestral home of Barbados, was unveiled in June 1991.
His work has been exhibited at the Image Gallery in Stockbridge, Mass, the Pratt Art Center at Goddard College, the National Center of Afro-American Artists, the Concord Art Association, The Community Gallery in New York City and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.
In the early 1990s Mr. McLean left Boston and moved back to his hometown of Jersey City, NJ. In addition to his art and writing, he worked for over a decade as a percussionist accompanying dance classes at the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation and Merce Cunningham Studios in New York City

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