MoCAD founder, photographer Taubman dies at age 50

Louis Aguilar
The Detroit News

Julia Reyes Taubman, a founder of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and a photographer, died Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, in her Bloomfield Hills home. Taubman, 50, had cancer.

Taubman’s book “Detroit: 138 Square Miles” published in 2012 was a compilation of her photographs of abandoned buildings and other blighted images in the city, images that took her seven years to collect.

Novelist Elmore Leonard wrote the book’s forward. “In Julia’s composition there is beauty in despair, and sometimes a glimmer of hope,” Leonard wrote. “We see life and death in Detroit, nothing Chamber of Commerce inspired, but more real than any other reality show.”

She was also a high-profile patron of the arts. Taubman was a founder and board chairman of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MoCAD), a member of the board of governors of the Cranbrook Academy of Art, and a former board member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Born and raised in the Washington, D.C., area, Julia, known best to her friends as “Julie,” was a member of the Reyes family, owners of Chicago-based food and beverage distributors Reyes Holdings LLC, one of the nation’s largest privately held companies. She married Robert S. Taubman, chairman of Taubman Centers Inc., in 1999.

“I and our children were blessed to have her in our lives,” said Robert Taubman in a statement Sunday. “Julie’s extraordinary strength, free spirit, deep love for her family and her memory will forever be a comfort and inspiration for us all.”

In addition to her husband, she is survived by her children, Ghislaine, Sebastian and Theodore, and Alexander Alfred; father Joseph; and brothers M. Jude, J. Christopher, David, James, Thomas and William Reyes.

She was predeceased by her mother, Frances Reyes; her father-in-law, the late A. Alfred Taubman; and the late Reva Taubman Stocker.

Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. Tuesday at the A.J. Desmond and Sons Funeral Home, 32515 Woodward, Royal Oak. A funeral service will be held at 3 p.m Wednesday at the Temple Beth El, 7400 Telegraph in Bloomfield Hills.

The family asks that contributions be considered to the University of Michigan’s A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute.