Professor of Art
UC Los Angeles
1931 – 2006
Robert Heinecken, artist and founder of UCLA’s photography program, died on May 19, 2006 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Describing himself as a para-photographer because his work stood “beside” or “beyond” traditional ideas associated with photography, Heinecken was well-known for his influential portfolio of twenty-five prints titled “Are You Real,” published in the late 1960s.
The son of a Lutheran minister, Heinecken was born on December 29, 1931, in Denver, Colorado. The family moved to Riverside, California in 1942, and Heinecken entered UCLA in 1951 but did not graduate until 1959, after serving in the United States Marine Corps for four years. Heinecken married Janet M. Storey in 1955 (they divorced in 1980) and finished graduate school at UCLA in 1960, where he took a position on the art department faculty. He launched the photography program in 1962 during his thirty-one year stint at UCLA. The artist later married Joyce Neimanas, an instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Some of Heinecken’s most daring work involved buying several copies of magazines at newsstands and altering the images, sometimes done in shocking and disturbing ways, and then surreptitiously returning them to the sales rack to be purchased by unsuspecting customers. Between 1969 and 1994, Heinecken made 37 editions of collaged and overprinted magazines.
Heinecken’s work can be found in the collections of numerous art museums around the world, and his archives are held at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, Tucson.
UCLA Today, June 27, 2006
Approved by Jeanne Giovannoni, Vice-Chair, UCLA UEPRRC