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In LOVING Memory of

Kevin Karl Burger

11 July 1957 - 19 January 2006

Kevin Burger passed away peacefully in the morning of 19 January 2006 at his Aunt's house in California after a three year fight with cancer. This memorial page is dedicated to him. It includes tributes, as well as reproductions of his remaining paintings. If you are interested in owning one of Kevin's extraordinary works, please contact James Burger:

Remembrances & Tributes

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Celia and Brian Carroll

Dear James, First, we want to thank you and Rosemary, Stephen, Bill, John, Martha, and everyone responsible, for organizing the lovely tribute to Kevin last night. As we are also close friends of the Conte-Lindberghs, we got to know Kevin over a long 15 or 16 year period. Although we were more in the larger circle of his close friends, we always enjoyed his one-of-a-kind, quirky spirit and intelligence. He somehow had the ability to seem tethered to the earth and completely untethered at the same time. I do think he inhabited another dimension, especially in his receptivity to life and his acute sensitivity and awareness to the things most of us don't, or can't, see. Since we were not able to make Kevin's Retrospective this last summer, I also can't thank you all enough for the extraordinary slide show. I know the scale couldn't have captured the effect of gallery walls dwarfed by massive color, but the sense of volume, variety and originality came through in all the shots of the show and in the individual photographs of his work. The interspersed personal photographs were almost too poignant to bear, as were the tributes from those who knew and loved him best. Thank you so very much, Celia and Brian Carroll

06-May-2006 03:56 PM

Shannon Carter and family

to all friends and family of kevin, our deepest sympathy to you all.

Bealeton, Verginia

16-Feb-2006 10:54 PM

Annemarije Kooijman

Kevin and I met in 1997, when I was working in NY for a few months. I was so lucky to have bumped into Kevin in this big impersonal city -- he not only became my guide for the 'other side of New York City,' but he also became my friend. Every week we visited at least one fascinating exhibition or gallery, and besides we also sought out small pubs or restaurants. Kevin took me along a few times when he went to visit his friends (including for my first and only Thanksgiving, and a lovely weekend out in the countryside with Ellen and Stefan). Kevin was not only there for the fun, but I was very impressed how fiery Kevin suddenly became when stuck up for me in an argument with my landlord one evening, and he also came by and helped me change the lock early the next morning! These moments and tokens of friendship made all the difference to my whole New York experience, and I will remain thankful to Kevin! In 1999 (I think) Kevin came to the Netherlands for a few days. We tried to get the 'all Dutch experience' by renting bicycles and going out to look for the 'big wide open' near Haarlem: Kevin really liked the Dutch bicycles on which you can sit up straight and comfortably -- and also the Dutch cycling experience on separate cycling lanes which is so much more relaxing than cycling in NYC -- although Kevin was one of the few who actually cycled through NYC (on his beautiful designer bicycle). We also had drinks at a pub with red Persian carpets on the table because this was what Kevin had seen on paintings (and yes, they do still exist!). I am very glad that so many people are sharing their memories of Kevin, and hope these and all the other positive memories will remain with his friends and family as his very valuable contribution to peoples lives. Thank you Kevin! Annemarije Kooijman

Enschede, The Netherlands

13-Feb-2006 12:40 PM

Brian Burger

It's so hard to see my brother has left, I moved to WI to be with Jeremae and I thought maybe I'd get to see him soon, sadly that never happened, nor did he ever get my letter that I had written to him 5 days prior to his death. Kevin was my bestest friend, he was more than a brother to me. He was a man who could understand his little brother and the hardships I went through with my learning disability when I was younger and how it was a struggle for me. James would pick on me when I was little, Kevin wouldn't. It's all changed now though, James is now teaching for kids with learning difficulties as I once had a hard struggle with. I am just happy my brother is in a better place now, not going through the agony he had gone through. Just wish I could of said my last good byes to my best friend and a brother I could never forget. Love always, Brian

Waukesha, WI

12-Feb-2006 07:43 PM

Heidi Ehrhart

Hi, I'm one of Kevin's cousins. Our mothers, and our aunt Rosemary, were sisters. As children we lived in England, and I remember visiting him, his brother and my aunts in London. Kevin must have been around 13, and had discovered the antique and junk markets. Already at that age he had the knack for finding THE funky object, and was working on what must have been some of his first creations. He would buy old wrist watches, open them and make a unique door on the face and hands. My family consisted of girls, and Kevin and James were the closest thing I had to brothers. We fell into the role, and at that age would antagonize each other as opposite sex siblings would. Over the years, as we never lived near each other again, we saw each other quite seldom. Happily, last summer I was in California and Kevin came out for a visit. He was in great form, and we took a long, steep walk to the beach. I'm glad to have these lasting memories of him - of the determined kid, and man.

Brussels, Belgium

09-Feb-2006 06:21 AM

Fred Araneda

Bainbridge Island

02-Feb-2006 06:02 PM

I had known Kevin in High School here on Bainbridge. We have a mutual friend who kept me up from time to time about Kevin. It is good to know that he has a lasting legacy for all to enjoy. He will be missed here on earth.

Oliver Rish

New York, NY
02-Feb-2006 12:03 PM

Hey Kev. I still gaze up at your window each time I pass by your apartment building while walking Petunia on St. Marks Place. I still wave to your window as I always did while you were there. I always sensed some intrigue at the nuance of your presence behind that window, a feeling that has not gone away. Since meeting you in L.A. in the 80's, and rooming together in Soho in the 90's, and living on the same block for the past many years, I will surely miss you and your presence in my life. I cherish the one painting of yours that I own, which happens to be of a window, perhaps the one I gaze up at. The world is a much less interesting place without you Kev.

Ellen Morris/Stefan Magnusson

Glen Ridge, NJ
31-Jan-2006 12:24 PM

I told our two little guys, Evon and Victor (7 and 4 years old), about this guestbook today, and they wanted to offer something about Kevin. Their fondest memories of Kevin involve water gun fights and wrestling. Kevin always gave the boys quirky and interesting gifts, and one time he gave them water guns. Not only did he instruct them on how to fill the guns and use them, but also on the proper way to fight. All three of them would run around the house and the yard squirting each other and laughing. It always ended up that it was Kevin and Victor against Evon, but Evon said he did not mind that. These water gun fights usually devolved into wrestling matches, where Kevin would do the dreaded "leg twist" in order to emerge the overall winner. Kevin was always so playful and fun-loving. Victor, who is Kevin's godson, says that he misses him but also says that Kevin is floating above in heaven having lots of fun. I think that its good way to think about it!

Peter Clayton

Los Angeles
30-Jan-2006 05:23 PM

Two days after Kevin died I went skiing for the weekend at Mammoth Mtn. in California. It was somehown appropriate, since it reminded me of the times I used to ski with Kevin as a kid. (Paul Morton mentions one of the these occasions in his message.) In the two days I was there I tried to come to grips with the loss of my childhood friend, yet thinking and feeling that it was somehow impossible that he was really gone. Then I looked at the High Sierras around me and remembered a quotation from the Old Testament: "Before the mountains were risen, thou art God." High up on a chairlift I began to understand that a great spirit like Kevin's is timeless, ever was and ever will be. Death isn't strong enough to make Kevin go away, because he's become a part of both the world around him and of those who love him, as real as the High Sierras themselves.

Laura Harrigan

Pelham, NY
28-Jan-2006 01:33 PM

Kevin and I started working together back in 1988. He came in to apply for the position of "studio manager" at the Astor Place offices of Conran's Habitat. He was hired on the spot, he liked the idea of being able to paint during down-time. The way he answered the phone really made me laugh. It went exactly like this: "Hello... studio... manager speaking." (the delivery made that priceless, I'm not doing it justice here!) Imagine his voice, with the pauses and inflections all in the right places! I had no idea then what a great person and friend Kevin would turn out to be. Everything about Kevin always surprised me. He was quite an accomplished skier. He was a brilliant painter. He was the voice of reason on those wacky 3 week shoots. And, he was beyond funny. Kevin, you will be missed.

Helen Quinn

Jackson Heights
28-Jan-2006 10:28 AM

We will miss you, Kevin. You were so courageous and stoic during your illness. I hope you are resting. Thanks your artwork and good humor. Have fun in Venice. Torcello is an excellent choice. x Helen

Paul Baumann

Brooklyn New York
26-Jan-2006 04:21 PM

I wish to say for those of you closer to Kevin than myself including James his brother whom I've met that I'm sorry for you in the loss of a most kind and lovely man. I rented Kevin his painting studio first on the 4th floor on Lorimer Street, and more recently here on Grand Street. It was always a pleasure to me to spend a few minutes talking with him. It struck me that he was meeting his illness with a unusual forthrightness, and we had a number of very frank conversations about it as it slowly became clearer that it would refuse to respond to treatment. I will remember him going about on his bike, his stories of the kindness of Martha Stewart, and the pleasure he seemed to take in life and in his artwork.

Andrea Raisfeld

Bedford, NY
23-Jan-2006 07:32 PM

It has been less than a week since we got the sad, sad news that Kevin finally succumbed to the cancer that had been his constant companion for these past three years. Though clearly becoming imminent, the news of his death still stunned us. This was a man who despite the cruel effects of both the illness and the treatments, maintained a cheerful attitude, a generous willingness to listen to the petty complaints of our lives, and a rare ability to accept help gracefully when he needed it. He was often a part of our lives for so many years, and the photo albums and home videos will always be proof of that. Kevin was always there for our special events--babies born, birthdays, holidays, openings, a bar mitzvah. We had both the burden and the blessing of caring for Kevin in some of the last months of his life. We enjoyed his company, but guiltily, we sometimes felt overwhelmed by what we feared might come. We said it was too much for the children, but maybe it was too much for us to witness, a body crumbling around a spirit that was still strong, still planning on going back to work in the spring. Kevin was a unique man, no doubt about it. He was so tall, and so red-headed, but most singular was that wit, quiet and droll, and deadly on-target. After Bill would spend time with Kevin, I'd notice how Kevin-like Bill's humor would become. He had that effect on a lot of people, I think, but they were merely imitating the original. I am so proud that Kevin was part of our family. I am forever thrilled by the paintings of his that fill our house, and can't resist showing them to visitors. The 25 year retrospective that Stefan, Ellen, Bill, Marti and Martha put together for Kevin this past summer was a great tribute to his talent, and evidence of the love so many people felt for him. He was taken from this life too soon, and the only thing pathetic words that keep coming to mind is that sucks.

Simon Abranowicz

Bedford, NY
23-Jan-2006 07:08 PM

Kevin was really funny. He was strong and stayed strong. He never complained. Even though he was sick he was the same person. He acted the same, sounded the same. It creeped me out a bit when he was sick. He was funny. He was just a little different on the outside. Kevin was funny, smart, kind. He liked to joke. He wanted to shine up his walking cane so he could look up girl's skirts. He liked wine. He had like 10 foot long skiis. I am sad that he is gone. He wasn't even old. He was only 48. I looked at his painting and he is a really good artist. He had his own style. He'll get to meet George Washington, Harriet Tubman, God. Even though I am sad, he woudl tell me to be happy. He'd tell me to snap out of it. I hope he meets a lot of people in heaven and I'll see him later.

Zander Abranowicz

Bedford, NY
23-Jan-2006 06:52 PM

Kevin stayed at our house in Bedford, NY for a few weeks, during the time where he was starting to become unable to care for himself. It was odd to see someone who I had known to be so full of life, with his humor, his amazing bike, and his paintings, stuck inside a body that wouldn't carry him the way his soul wanted to. When I first saw him without his hair, I was afraid he would not be the way he was before. I was wrong. He was the same Kevin, the same humorous Kevin, who could make jokes out of things that I would never have thought "jokable". He is inspirational person, and I am incredibley lucky to have been honored in meeting him. Kevin will always be in my thoughts.

Paul Morton

London, England
23-Jan-2006 05:49 PM

I am in shock and very saddened. I don't know what to say. I know it was pretty much expected but not for me. I was so hoping that Kevin's fighting spirit and beautiful soul would prevail. I am devastated. Kids should not pass away before their parents, and students should not go before their old teachers. It just isn't right. When Kev was in my 8th grade class, he was small, shy and hardly ever spoke. I think the only one he ever talked with was Peter Clayton. He never talked to me. I use to tell him he had THE most beautiful hair.... I would kill for hair like that. I have no idea how he managed to choose as his best chums three powerhouse, heart throbs of the 8th grade, one of whom (Cliff Kelly) was one big dynamo. Cliff was sort of the gangleader. I don't think they were in any classes together. Whatever they did or went, Kev was with them. Once we all went skiing in Austria (Kaprun). The first day up the Alp some kids (and a chaperon) got off at the easypeasy beginner run while Cliff, Andy, Peter, Chris and I got off at the top of the glacier. A jet black run down. Very difficult for me, but a doddle for the others. Halfway down the movie version of a super snow storm hit and we were in mega trouble. It was awful... a blizzard, temperatures too low to be measured, I thought I was going to be found in the spring thaw. We could not see anything EXCEPT a tiny mound of snow barely moving in our direction. Yep. It was Kevin. We had thought he left at the first station with the other chaperon and kids. He hadn't. I don't think he had EVER been on skis before. HOW he got down the black run, I still do not know. It took us AGES to get us and Kevin through the blizzard, down the glacier to safety and marginally better weather. I hope I never experience that kind of cold ever again. I watched Kevin grow up. We stayed friends all these years. He would often stay with us for a few days on his way to Venice. He used to send me email pictures of his pictures. His last paintings of Venice were stunning. I told him I wanted one. I was so thrilled for him when he started working for Martha S. Such a wonderful and successful life. I will miss him. We will all miss him. Oh yes. When he grew up, he did talk to me a lot. Paul Morton

William Abranowicz

Bedford, NY
23-Jan-2006 03:28 PM

We spent this past weekend upstate at our house looking out at Kevin's giant La Croix skiis. We placed them outside as he had asked us to do when we last saw him in late November. Sharpened, waxed and ready to run if he needed them. Kevin was one of the finest people I have ever had in my life. I have been reminiscing with my wife and kids these past few days, laughing at all the often strange, constantly brilliant comments and jokes he would make. He would sit quietly and then let rip a searing, on target, often surreal, joke or statement. He had an endless knowledge of pop culture, art, current events and coupled it with a remarkable economy of words. His commentary was often hilarious, always sweet and gentle, but man if he wanted to bite.... When Kevin got sick, his spirit remained strong. He was, as Stefan and Ellen noted, scared, confused and lonely. We all were. As his illness progressed and his body started to dramatically change, he'd come to our house for stays and I could see my kids--who are young--approach him with tenderness but with tentativeness. It took but a few minutes with Kevin and some comment that cracked them up--before they realized, oh yeah, that's Kevin inside that body. He had not changed. He only looked different. A squeaky session with my daughter on clarinet and Kevin has us busted up telling us about his mom making him play, 'Froggy Goes a Courtin'" when he was a young clarinetist. I will miss Kevin. I will miss his friendship, his steadfastness and his big heart. I will miss his red hair and his smirk. I will miss the calls we would make to each other and the lunch we would have at Martha Stewart's studios. I will remember our trips to Maine, our stays together at Peters Valley and the surprise he brought into our lives with his paintings and the new ways he taught us to see. The other morning as a half moon was setting over my house, I saw a sky that I would never have ever taken notice of if it were not for Kevin. His painting taught me to see things that I was never aware of. I knew long ago how great Kevin was and now I understand how loved he is.

James Burger

New York
21-Jan-2006 09:21 AM

Thank you for your notes and thoughts of Kevin, and condolences to Rosemary and me. With Kevin's passing and the subsequent condolences written, I am just now beginning to know the breadth and depth of Kevin's friendships. It helps me to hear of Kevin's life experiences and know how fully he lived his life. Although we were close in a brotherly trust, Kevin rarely shared much of his life with me, so now, despite his private nature, I am at last getting to know him. There are several emails that were recently sent to Kevin, and one to me, that I feel capture who Kevin was and how he will be remembered. I hope that you enjoy reading them as much as I did. I will miss Kevin very much. James (Kevin's Brother)

Jan Willem baron van Heemstra

Brussels, Belgium
21-Jan-2006 09:16 AM

Dear James, Looked at the website. We are so very sorry for both of you - Rosemary and you. Despite living towards this for three years now, with all the ups and downs, all the false hopes, the shared moments of despair- of course we all wanted, expected, counted on a miracle as long as there was life. How terrible and final is such an end, how angry you should be, as it is not fair that people die so young. But in time, if you let it heal, you will find back the good memories that are also there, the way he lived before he fell ill. You will talk to Jackson about your brother with a special smile on your face, and he will secretly look up photographs in albums. You will meet people that also knew and loved him and cherish memories. He will be there with you, in the distance, but still there. People only die when we forget them, and we will never forget our brothers, nor our children their uncles. Look after yourself; Jackson needs you to tell him about Kevin. Love, Jan Willem (baron van Heemstra)

Kristina Lindbergh

21-Jan-2006 09:15 AM

(Written before Kevin's death) Dear Kevin,
Lately I've been remembering those nights at our Manzanita Bay house when the Sing Luck club came over -- lots of stringy-haired boys with little moustaches, Lars in his prized purple shirt, and you like a match-stick, always ready with a comment that would shift the light on the entire scene. It was during Mother's Hot Buttered Rum period, when the kitchen windows steamed up and all the mug handles got sticky. Did she let you guys have rum? One of those nights it must have been New Year's Eve because you all went down to the dock and lit M-80s and the noise bounced all over the bay and rattled the chambered nautilus shells on the bookshelves.
The cars in the driveway were long trapezoids (except for ours, the blocky red Clubwagon or the semi-circular red VW). And in the dark the lawn was a maze of shadows from apple trees and all those little fir trees Daddy planted to keep himself out of the house.
In the mornings Erik and Morgan found nickels and dimes under the kitchen table and we'd wipe everything down feeling too sugary and a little stale. Somebody's torn shirt would turn up somewhere -- blackberry vine casualty? I can still smell it all perfectly: damp, woodsy with a little of the low tide.
I wonder where your thoughts are, and wish I could meet you there now and then.
Much love, Kristina (Lindbergh)

Bob Conte

21-Jan-2006 09:14 AM

(Written before Kevin's death) Kevin, We just finished our midday present-giving orgy. Well, it wasn't quite the orgy of Christmases past. Some restraint was shown. Or at least we feigned moderation by occasionally bundling several gifts into one package--a feeble attempt to minimize the apparent extravagance. As we sat exchanging gifts in the living room, all the while Zelda and Monte devouring their Christmas doggie Slim Jims, we couldn't help but see your beautiful Venice painting, newly framed, hanging on the wall above the couch -- a beacon of tranquility and mystery in a season that's too often frantic and obvious. And we think of you, not lying in bed in your aunt's house awaiting transport to places unknown, but secure in your studio painting canvas after canvas, or sitting at dinner with us, drinking a little too much wine, making us laugh with wry and penetrating observations that surely no one else could make. We thought of you last night as we celebrated Christmas Eve at Lars and Nette's newly renovated house, exquisite in its every handmade detail. The only thing missing was a deer-antler chandelier courtesy of yours truly. But for all the gifts and good cheer, Christmas isn't the same this year knowing that you are in California and not knowing when or if we might see you again. That "if" feels like a camouflaged elephant in the room -- lurking but hard to miss. Know this, my friend, my old friend: we thought of you yesterday, we think of you today, and we will think of you for however many tomorrows are allotted to us. We love you now and forever.
Bob (Conte)

Paul Lund

London, England
20-Jan-2006 08:55 PM

I met Kevin through the Moulton Cycle Club. We went on some rides together over few years. We also travelled to Oxford and around London to see exhibitions and places of interest. When I visited NYC in 1991, I met up with Kevin and he showed me some of the lovely 1930s Architecture at night. It was on that visit that I first saw his paintings and realised how talented he was. A very Kevin moment. On the road to Oxford we passed one of those long sections of stationary traffic on the other side. I remarked on the sad plight of the stalled cars; but Kevin simply nodded sagely and said: "Rubbernecking!" It was the first time I had ever heard the term, so he had to explain it; but he proved to be quite right. Kevin's unique view of the world made him a great guy to travel with. His paintings testify to the vividness of his vision. I will miss him.

Kristine Woodward

20-Jan-2006 11:34 AM

About 3am this morning, John Woodward woke up and heard Kevin say, "John! John! hey, John!". John was certain that it was Kevin's voice and he awakened me to say that he heard from Kevin. We are surprised by the coincidence and saddened to have received the news from James that Kevin passed away this morning. We were very touched and proud of Kevin's strength and focus until the end. He struggled to complete a body of work for an exhibition we gave him at the street level windows of the Gourmet Garage in Soho. Tens of thousands of people saw that exhibition and appreciated Kevin's creative talent. Kevin and John spoke deeply during that exhibition in October and Kevin knew that he was not going to make it through a whole new year. Kevin was not concerned with his own mortality, but exhilarated by his thoughts on art. He jokingly said, "...maybe I'll even meet Van Gogh!!" We are so relieved to know that Kevin is finally resting in peace after such an ordeal with brain cancer. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends for this great loss. May time help ease us all through this difficult time! We will remember Kevin fondly and continue to share images of his art with the world....

Genninger Studio

Venice, Italy
20-Jan-2006 10:53 AM

A dozen red roses tossed one by one into the Canale Grande this morning...each a thought in honor of you, Kevin...each floating into the thickening mist...following the current... out to sea.

  • Your love of Venice

  • Your love of painting

  • Your love of travel

  • Your love for your family

  • Your love for your friends

  • Your love of life

  • Your inner strength in the face of great illness

  • Your family's caring for you day in and day out

  • Your friends special support and caring for you throughout it all

  • You realizing a retrospective exhibition of your life's great passion...painting...your inner self..all beautiful

  • You... for being you

  • You... resting in peace

Thank you for your friendship over the years. A big hug and love from Venice, Leslie, Michele and Leonard (whom you never met but who shared his first days of life in a hospital room with a baby named "Kevin" Padova...near Venice, Italy...."Kevin"!!!!

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