Monday, April 29, 2013

Some recent photographs taken around New York City and Brooklyn

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Jene Highstein 1942-2013

I just learned of the passing of the artist Jene Highstein. Most distressing. I was friendly with him in the mid-seventies when he was living with Suzanne Harris and both of them were kind and supportive of my art. I liked him very much and thought he was a good strong sculptor not to mention a nice man. Very sorry to hear of this.

Last Collage of April 2013

Saturday, April 27, 2013

57th Street

Made it to the Philip Guston show up on 57th street on the last day. I really like his work and the cartoon like images of his later work. There was one big beautiful abstraction included, but the majority of the work make use of big comic images and his famous pink. 57th street is a strange landscape, some galleries still hanging on in this historical area, but its mainly now fashion, tourists and huge buildings so the scale of the street is pretty much gone. I also wandered into Hirschl & Adler talk about stepping back into the past, they had a small show of an outsider artist who I never heard of James Edward Deeds, who was installed in a mental hospital for many years, and whose drawings which were in an album was found in the trash by a teenager in 1970. Some beautiful drawings. This gallery is strange sort of like a tiny museum full of this and that, a Joseph Stella here, a George Bellows there. I also saw Joe Zucker's elegant narrow grey works at Mary Boone," Zucker scores the surface into a quarter inch grid, then picks off the top layer, exposing the porous core. Each tiny square is painted with watercolor in a broad tonal range from black to white, with only an

occasional leaning toward color." William Klein's paintings, (stick with the photography Bill) and Jane Freilicher Painter Among Poets show at Tibor de Nagy which didn't really interest me much. I like realist work but her stuff is a little too soft for me. I did like all the books, letters and photos of the poets that were displayed in glass cases around the gallery.

Good Neighbors 2010

I came across this unknown to me movie the other day at the library and I thought for free I’ll take my chances. This is a good little Canadian Noir like thriller directed by Jacob Tierney who I realized is also an actor and who as a young boy appeared in Terence Davies’s tableau like film “The Neon Bible” and as I remember  gave a heartbreaking and moving performance. Anyway this film which is set in Montreal in 1995 takes place mostly in the very nice and spacious apartments of 3 young tenants (two men and a woman) on the eve of the 2nd referendum on the separation of Quebec, while at the same time a raging maniac serial killer is going about raping and killing young women. The villain of the film is pretty obvious early on, but Tierney and his writers have several twists, turns, tricks and good surprises up their sleeves that will make you shiver and chuckle at the same time. There are cats, tropical fish, Chinese restaurants (where the young woman works), an awful neighbor, a nice gay couple who make a brief appearance without any fanfare or fuss, a landlady who decorates the lobby with Halloween and Christmas decorations and takes them down immediately after the holidays and dark and scary night time walks along deserted streets.  The cast was unknown to me, but I did recognize the very fine character actor Gary Farmer who made a strong impression on me in Dead Man playing Nobody, and in this film plays a detective. References to Rear Window abound and there are plenty of plot holes and loose ends but I did have a good time with this one and it says a lot that I didn’t wind up throwing the dvd case at my television.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Carousel and Nathan Gunn

Watched Carousel on pbs tonight, and it was superb. A classic of the American musical theatre, complex and beautiful. And how about Nathan Gunn I had no idea how handsome and sexy he is, never mind his great voice. He should have done the film Les Misérables instead of russell crowe. I need to go to more opera. A true hubba hubba guy with a great voice. I should of course mention that Kelly O'Hara was also superb.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The String 2009

In the String  Claudia Cardinale at age 72 plays the mother of a good looking young architect who returns home from France to his upper class home in Tunisia to come to grips with the death of his father and to sort out his homosexuality with himself and his mother. This is a decent little film that has a feel good feel to it, obvious symbolism ie the the title of the film is brought into focus a little too often and a very attractive cast including a happy lesbian couple, and accepting family members. The son soon becomes involved with the very handsome and hunky displaced young Arabic houseboy who is working for Cardinale for room and board and they get caught after the fact of their sexual act by Claudia who at first freaks out but is soon open and receptive to her son’s gayness. Sort of a fairy (no pun intended) tale but it does no harm, and the reason I got it from Netflix was because  I was curious to see how Cardinale has aged. Well at first it was a shock to see her, I mean she was one of the most beautiful young actresses in the International cinema of the 60’s and here in front of  me was this aged over botoxed woman drastically  hanging on to youth and beauty by a string.  Finally her inner beauty started to come through for me and my shock changed to pure admiration and joy that she had the guts to go before the camera and that I still had the pleasure of having this impressive rare beauty before me to enjoy and admire.   

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Paul Thek and his circle

I saw the very good exhibition "Paul Thek and his circle in the 1950s" at the Leslie Lohman Museum of gay and lesbian art yesterday and say yes to everyone seeing it. Personal and touching there are lots of wonderful photographs of the handsome young Thek and his friends including Peter Hujar and the painter Joseph Raffael, including many by Hujar that are being shown for the first time. There are also paintings, drawings and artworks mostly by Thek but also by some the members of his "circle" I met Thek once a year before he passed when my old friend the sculptor Ed Shostak brought Paul to meet me where I was working because Paul liked my work and wanted to meet me. We had shown at the same gallery in Germany. We were both shy but I was delighted to have the chance to meet him and sad when he died the next year. Of course we had his very good retrospective at the Whitney a couple of years ago, but this show is different because it focuses on Thek's close gay relationships and the political and social Milieu of the time. The show was curated by Peter Harvey who was a close friend and lover of Paul's and Jonathan David Katz and the free very nice 20pg. brochure includes essays by both. This place is one of the treasures of New York City and they generally put on really interesting shows while maintaining a permanent collection of more than 20,00 works "spanning more than three centuries of queer art."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Elizabeth Peyton At Gavin Brown’s Enterprise

I must be living in some kind of Bizzaro world, how else can I explain the attention and recognition that this paltry and very minor painter has been receiving for the last couple of years. Her show of mostly wimpy small portraits at Gavin Brown highlight her weaknesses and none of her strengths because she has none. Her works I think appeal to a certain hip cool segment of the art world because they look easy and don’t offend, probably one of the reasons some  “celebrities” are so willing to pose for her, Alice Neel she ain’t. These are vapid and empty little things devoid of any psychological insights that sit on the walls of this big and ugly space like pimples on the backside of some Bruce Weber model.  They remind me and look like illustrations that use to appear with regularity in the pages of  New York magazine, and maybe they still do since I haven’t looked at this rag in years.   

Monday, April 22, 2013

Richie Havens 1941-2013

I saw him perform at least twice at the old Fillmore East

Friday, April 19, 2013

postcard april 2013. Collage and ink on blank postcard

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Saw the John Singer Sargent watercolor show at the Brooklyn Museum yesterday and its packing them in. Way too many people to my liking, I simply hate looking at art this way, especially when the work is small and intimate.
The painting illustrated was my favorite one in the show. The caption read something like "the model was one of his favorites and he used him in several other paintings." I prefer his portraits to these watercolors of boats. Venice and gardens. They're just a little too precious for me. My heart and soul and interests were over in Europe where the impressionists, post impressionists and Picasso were doing their magic. I also prefer the Americans of the Ashcan school. The watercolors are pretty no doubt about that, but they really didn't interest me much. Still judging by the crowds he has many fans and the show will be one of the big hits of the season.

New York Dreaming

New York Dreaming has used this photograph of mine with a poem on their website. I knew they wanted to use it, but they didn't tell me that it was up. I found out by accident.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

notebook drawing 2013. Ink, paint, wax and collage on notebook paper

postcard april 2013. paint and collage on blank postcard

Sunday, April 14, 2013

books, hitchcock and vera

Just back from the New York Antiquarian Book Fair, where I volunteered at the The Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) table for a couple of hours. I was able to view the show for free and drool over lots of amazing books, the treasures of the world seemed to be here. Booths I was told start at $7,000 which should give you an idea of the kind of books and things that were on exhibit here. All I could do was look and dream but it was fun anyway but somewhat draining looking at thousands of fantastic things. It was held at the very beautiful Armory on Park ave and 64th street, came back loaded down with many nice catalogs.
I stumbled on this series Vera at the Library and its quite nice. It stars the great Brenda Blethyn as detective chief inspector Vera Stanhope. There is the usual plot devices that we've come to expect from this kind of show, she has a hubba hubba young colleague, who she treats like a son and the stories are good and compelling on the whole and Vera is a complex character who has doubts and problems and carries her loneliness, vulnerabilities and her caustic wit and temper on her sleeve. Blethyn gives a superb performance.
 Hitchcock. This movie should be avoided at all costs. A piece of junk that should be put in a shower and stabbed to death and then flushed down the toilet. Anthony Hopkins continues his long and sad decline as an actor who should be taken seriously and Helen Mirren should be forced to watched this movie over and over until she screams Mommy. The only decent work is done by Scarlett Johansson who actually pulls off her channeling of Janet Leigh. Unclean, unclean.

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