Stuart Pivar

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Stuart Pivar (born 1930) is a chemist, art collector and author from Brooklyn, New York.[1]

New York art world[edit]

Pivar attended Brooklyn Technical High School before going on to earn a B.Sc in chemistry at Hofstra University. An inventor, he made a large fortune in plastics, founding Chem-Tainer industries in 1959. The business specialised in bulk-storage plastic containers. While remaining active in the plastics industry, he became an independently wealthy investor and buyer on the art scene.[2] Pivar soon met Andy Warhol, becoming one of his closest longtime friends. With Warhol he would go on regular shopping trips to buy "masterpieces", which could be objects bought anywhere, from a high-end auction house to a fleamarket.[3] After the artist's death, Pivar recalled that "Andy Warhol loved to buy art. We used to go shopping together for it for a few hours practically every day in the past couple of years."[4]

Pivar was a collector of 19th-century academic art at a time when it was unfashionable.[5] A scholar of the work of the sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye, he wrote "The Barye Bronzes: A Catalogue Raisonne" in 1974, a collation of critical commentary on all the sculptor's known works.[6][7]

Pivar wished to reintroduce traditional skills to the teaching of art, including human and animal anatomy. With Warhol, he helped to found the New York Academy of Art in 1979, becoming one of its board members. The academy opposed abstract art and promoted traditional skills. According to Eliot Goldfinger, Pivar "strongly supported the acquisition of an anatomical collection of comparative skeletons, related artwork, anatomical models and charts, and the use of dissection as part of the curriculum."[8] He donated over $1.2 million to the Academy during his involvement with it.[9]

He resigned from the Academy in 1994, complaining that he had been "lied to and outmaneuvered" by other senior figures at the institution. A report placed most of the blame on his "disruptive, angry and abusive" behavior for problems at the institution.[9] Pivar attempted to sue the Academy for $50 million, claiming that he had been caused "emotional and mental distress" and that he had been ostracised for pointing out falsification of financial records and employment of illegal immigrants.[10] Pivar has stated that he resigned from the Academy Board along with Caroline Newhouse.[10]

Pivar was also a well known friend of Jeffrey Epstein, however the two had a falling out before Epstein's sex crimes became well known.[11][12]

Biological theories[edit]

Beginning with his book Lifecode in 2004 Pivar has published novel claims about the evolution of species. He asserts that the body form of species are encoded not in DNA but in the patterned structure of a primordial germ plasm.[13][14] However, critics have stated that Pivar's proposed developmental sequences bear no resemblance to anything actually observed during embryological development.[14] Massimo Pigliucci says that Pivar's ideas constitute pseudoscience. On his blog "Pharyngula", developmental biologist PZ Myers reviewed Lifecode and concluded that it was "a description of the development and evolution of balloon animals".[15] In 2007 Pivar attempted to sue Seed Media, whose ScienceBlogs hosted "Pharyngula", for describing him as "classic crackpot",[16] but the case was withdrawn after ten days.[17][18][19] On July 5, 2016 a scientific paper titled The Origin of the Vertebrate Body Plan in the Geometric Patterns in the Embryonic Blastula was published in the peer-reviewed journal Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology identifying Stuart Pivar as the principal investigator. [20]


  • Edelman, D.B.; McMenamin, M.; Sheesley, P.; Pivar, S. (2016). "Origin of the vertebrate body plan via mechanically biased conservation of regular geometrical patterns in the structure of the blastula". Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology. 121 (3): 212–244. doi:10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2016.06.007. PMID 27392530.
  • Pivar, S. (2011). "The origin of the vertebrate skeleton". International Journal of Astrobiology. 10: 45–65. doi:10.1017/s147355041000025x.
  • Pivar, S. (2009). On the Origin of Form. North Atlantic Books.
  • Pivar, S. (2004). Lifecode. Ryland Press.
  • Pivar, S. (1974). The Barye Bronzes. Antique Collectors' Club.


  1. ^ "On the Origin of Form – Author". Retrieved 2011-09-18.
  2. ^ Paul Alexander, Death and disaster: the rise of the Warhol empire and the race for Andy's millions, Villard Books, 1994, p.14.
  3. ^ Alexander, Paul (27 January 1992). "What happened to Andy's Treasures?". New York Magazine: 28.
  4. ^ Russell W. Belk, Collecting in a consumer society, Psychology Press, 1995, p.72
  5. ^ Art & antiques, Volume 22, 1999, p.99
  6. ^ Day, H.T.; Sturges, H. (1987). Joslyn Art Museum, paintings & sculpture from the European & American collections. University of Nebraska Press. p. 77.
  7. ^ 19th century European paintings, drawings and sculpture. Sotheby's. 1996. p. 265.
  8. ^ Eliot Goldfinger, Animal anatomy for artists: the elements of form, Oxford University Press, 2004, p.ix.
  9. ^ a b Connolly, J. (8 April 1996). "How could it be that board members at the New York Academy of Art were too busy fighting with each other to notice that $175,000 was missing?". New York Magazine: 24.
  10. ^ a b New York Media, LLC (1 Dec 1997). "Stuart Pivar's New $50 million Suit". New York Magazine: 25.
  11. ^ Nally, Leland (August 23, 2019), "Jeffrey Epstein, My Very, Very Sick Pal", Mother Jones, retrieved 2019-11-10
  12. ^ Davis, Ben (August 26, 2019), "Here Are the 3 Most Disturbing Takeaways From Mother Jones's Interview With Jeffrey Epstein's Art Advisor and Former 'Best Pal'", artnet news, retrieved 2019-11-10
  13. ^ On the Origin of Form: Evolution by Self-Organization, Stuart Pivar, North Atlantic Books, 2009 ISBN 1-55643-886-9
  14. ^ a b ILAOL introduction by Mark Macmenamin
  15. ^ Myers, PZ (July 17, 2007), "Lifecode: From egg to embryo by self-organization", Pharyngula (blog), ScienceBlogs, archived from the original on September 6, 2007, retrieved October 5, 2011
  16. ^ Myers, PZ (July 12, 2007), "Lifecode", Pharyngula (blog), ScienceBlogs, archived from the original on September 7, 2007, retrieved October 5, 2011
  17. ^ Delta, George B.; Matsuura, Jeffrey H. (2009). Law of the Internet, Volume 1, 2009 supplement. Aspen Publishers. pp. 11–12.
  18. ^ Massimo Pigliucci, Nonsense on stilts: how to tell science from bunk, 2010, p. 101
  19. ^ Keim, Brandon (August 20, 2007), "Pseudoscience not Selling? Just Sue a Science Blogger for Libel", Wired Science, Condé Nast Digital, retrieved October 5, 2011
  20. ^ Edelman, David B.; McMenamin, Mark; Sheesley, Peter; Pivar, Stuart (July 5, 2016). "Origin of the vertebrate body plan via mechanically biased conservation of regular geometrical patterns in the structure of the blastula". Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology. 121 (3): 212–244. doi:10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2016.06.007. PMID 27392530.