Sunday, June 29, 2014

Pressboard Press. Vol 2.

Pressboard Press has just posted 9 of my notebook drawings including the cover. You can view the entire issue at this link.

last Notebook drawing of June 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014

Garry Winogrand The Metropolitan Museum Of Art.

For me this might be the show of the summer. Winogrand who died young at age 56 is one of my favorite picture takers, and one of the great photographers of mid 20th Century. This show gives us the chance to view 175 of his wonderful photographs of people in the streets, at play, walking, dancing, stunning images of ordinary life made extraordinary by his eye with a big chunk of his images taken in New York City in the late 50's and 60's.There is also documentation and nostalgia of and for this city of mine in these moments in time that no longer exists, that goes hand in hand with the beauty of his pictures. He also worked out west, in L.A. Texas and Las Vegas, but for me he'll always be a New York City street artist. Do you not know his work?  Well then you should take the Lexington Ave line to 86th street and walk on over to the Met and check out his lasting and moving work, and try to ignore the ladies who park themselves in front of his images, just standing there, blocking my view, not looking at the photographs because they're ,  too busy talking about their grandkids and where to go for lunch in way too loud voices as if they were on their cell phones, intruding on my silent conversation with the art. Why do they even bother coming. Stay home yentas and watch your soaps. This stunning exhibition of this great photographer's work  will be on view until Sept.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New Notebook drawing, paint and collage. June 2014

Faded Aguirre

I went up to the Moma today to see a screening of Aguirre The Wrath Of God, directed by Werner Herzog. Released in 1973 the film is in great need of a major restoration as it is fading to a red brown mess.The curator mentions that the print is fading in his projected notes but he thought the red brown "golden" tones added to the rich texture of the film. I didn't and I kept imagining the film in what must have been its rich color palette. If I had known how faded the print was, I think I would have passed on it, the greens, reds and blues are pretty much gone which is a shame. Hopefully someone will restore it. Anyway while I waited for the film I took in the Moma's recent acquisition fiasco which they call "Sites Of Reason" which is as dull and pathetic group of work I have seen since their last acquisition show, maybe they can get the money back that they wasted buying these "works of art." Keep up the good work Moma. There is also one of their hastily thrown together photography shows that should keep the tourists quiet and dulled. This one is called "A World of Its Own: Photographic Practices In The Studio" and of course the title is misleading and meaningless with very little of work actually fitting the title of the show, but it does free up the Moma to throw whatever was handy into this smorgasbord of photographic images. This museum must think that we're all idiots not to realize how slap dash this show is. To be sure there are some mighty fine photographs in this exhibit, how could it be otherwise with what they own but there are also way too many mediocre works by the the usual suspects who I won't mention by name. And finally I leisurely walked through the wonderful Sigmar Polke retrospective again, and I liked it even more this time than I did on my first viewing. This is the show to see, even though the installation is ugly (the works in that God awful atrium are especially ill served) and there are no labels only a cumbersome and confusing checklist. The Polke is only on through Aug. 3, the other two shows will be on for far too long.

Eli Wallach 1915-2014

Some recent photographs from 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

notebook drawings June 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

Jennifer Wynne Reeves 1963-2014

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Something New. Collage, paint, ink on verso of notebook covers. No. 2 June 2014

Mgv2 magazine

has just posted 9 of my photographs.  Here is the cover with one of my photographs used. You can view the entire issue with my photographs at this link.

you can also purchase a copy for $19.00

Fine Flu Journal

Fine Flu Journal has just published 7 of my photographs. You can view them and the entire issue at this link.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Gloria 1980

A grim gritty New York fable set in the city before it became a shopping mall. This very untypical John Cassavetes film is just about his most accessible movie, simple; dramatic with flourishes of humor and suspense, hell it almost doesn’t seem like a Cassavetes film. The movie tells the entertaining story of an ex gangster’s moll who is at the right place but the wrong time and like the Pharaoh’s daughter saves a child from certain death. The moll is given depth and beauty by one of our greatest actresses Gena Rowlands who plays an urban know it all tough girl tootsie who uses a gun like a pro, because as it turns out she is a pro. The scene of Rowlands in her high heels with legs spread and firmly planted on the sidewalk wearing an expensive but somewhat trashy Emanuel Ungaro outfit (a great costume touch) as she shoots up a car of hoods is one of the lasting and memorable scenes in all of 80’s cinema. Improbable yes but its so shocking and unexpected that it pretty much puts a smile on our jaw dropping faces. This is a dangerous almost picaresque film as the two leads one a young boy of 6 and Gloria try to stay one step ahead of the dangers that wait for them it seems at very corner and bus stop. There are aborted bus and train rides, overnight stays in flea bag hotels, lunches never finished in train station diners, and lots of cab rides. This boy Phil played by John Adames is not an actor and for some dumb reason he was attacked for his “bad acting” by some critics and they should know better. He’s a charmer and his non acting skills brings a reality and an awkwardness that works very well and some of his moments in the film where he is vulnerable and trusting are simply heartbreaking. Gloria and Phil have their ups and downs during their dark nights of the soul, but with the Hollywood ending attached, (any other ending would be unbearable and simply unacceptable) things as someone once said “are looking up.” No doubt Luc Besson was very impressed and influenced by this film when he made “Leon: The Professional” some 14 year later. With no frills cinematography by Fred Schuler and a pumped up score by Bill Conti. One of the ten best films of 1980

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Self Taught genius. Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum. May 13-Aug 17.

I made it up to the American Folk Art Museum's original space near Lincoln Center today in all the heat to see this marvelous show. Its pretty much irresistible and its full of many popular self taught artists like Henry Darger, Bill Traylor, Thorton Dial, and on and on. But there were also unknown darlings to me like Judith Scott (boy would I love to see a show of her spaced out sculptures wrapped in wool and twine), Marino Auriti's 11 ft tall beautifully made intricate skyscraper he called the Encyclopedic Palace, and many many others some dating from the 18th and 19th century to present day. I could kick myself for not having a pen to write down some of the artists names, and I could kick myself again for not charging my camera's battery which died on me. And going here of course brings up the destruction of the museum's 53rd st. building and the sad fact that this city cannot support this museum with a building all its own. This space is small and cramped and they can only show a tiny part of their great collection. The nice thing though is admission is free, and they let you take photographs.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Ultra Violet 1935-2014

Saturday, June 14, 2014

I Move

I moved to Manhattan from Brooklyn when I was 19 in the late summer of 1967, one year after Frank O’ Hara was mowed down by a dune buggy on Water Island. Most people refer to his death as happening on Fire Island, but it was Water Island that he died, visiting the same house where a few years earlier Edward Albee had written “Who’s Afraind Of Virginia Wolfe?” I too would visit this house and place one summer a few years later but that comes much later. At the time I had no idea who Frank O’Hara was, and when my new sophisticated friends first mentioned him, I thought they were talking about some Italian actor named Franco Hara. I had just turned 19 and was really ready to get out of Brooklyn and make the move to Manhattan. This was my goal since I was 15. When I was around 17 me and my friend Howard would sit in one of the glorious art deco rooms of the main branch of the Brooklyn public library near Grand Army Plaza and read through the apartment ads in the back of the Village Voice, dreaming of the day when I would move into the city. I had saved up $800.00 from my jobs working in advertising, but my career in the ad world was not going all that well. Still I was willing to take a chance that I could always find employment doing crap work in the profession. I wanted to live of course in Greenwich Village which was in my heart and soul for as long as I could remember. I had been going there since I was a 15-year-old kid. Moodily I would sit in Washington Sq. park in the dead of Fall and Winter reading Baldwin’s “Another Country.” I knew that the life and people that Baldwin wrote about in the book was the kind of life that I wanted. I wanted to know writers, actors and artists. I would go to the Washington Sq. Art shows with my fellow high school art students thinking that this garbage was good. How little I knew. I started to go to Off-Broadway shows when I was 16 and 17 mainly with Howard. We had seen our first Albee plays and discovered the wonderful Judson Poet’s Theatre which we would go to, it seems to me every weekend. What is now strange and somewhat disappointing to me is that at the same time I was going to see the plays there was also happenings, dance and art taking place but we never went to those events. Instead we stayed with the plays. I did go into the art gallery one day and asked the young man sitting at the desk if I could bring my drawings in to show him, and he said sure, but I chickened out, and some years later I would tell Jon Hendricks who was the young man behind the desk this story and we would chuckle about it. Me and Howard thought we were so grown up, so know it all hip Brooklyn Jewish boys. We couldn’t hit a baseball but we could recite lines from Albee’s “The American Dream” by heart and could sing some of the songs from the Al Carmines Rosalyn Drexler musical “Home Movies.” It’s now 47 years ago since I started to look for a place to live. Sharing an apartment with a stranger was such a new option for me both scary and exciting but I was determined to get out of my crazy house where my parents fought all the time. I had stopped talking to my father. He was at that time out of his mind. His addiction to diet pills and speed had taken its toll and he was manic and dangerous. He had turned the bedroom that he and my mother once shared (she was now sleeping alone in the bedroom that I once shared with my brother) into a workshop, a garage, a room that was full of wood, paint tools and the weird objects that he would make. He was also storing tires and cans of gasoline. Why he didn’t blow us all up is a miracle. They turned off the electricity for a while because my parents had no money to pay the bill and he ran cables up and down the hall and tapped into the buildings current. He took my sisters baby shoes, sprayed them with gold paint and made a hideous lamp out of them. There her tiny little shoes sat, once white and happy they now sat sadly at the base of some gold-sprayed pieces of wood with its eerie light topped off by a lampshade that he had found in some trash bin. Looking back on it, I suppose this was good therapy for him, but not for me. It was a very sad tension filled time for me. My brother and sister had both married and I was on my own in this crazy place. I was now sleeping in the small small bedroom that was once my sister’s room that was next to his workshop-bedroom. He would hammer, saw and talk to himself into all hours of the night of course keeping me up with the noise. I complained. “Can you stop the noise I have to get up to go to school or later on I have to get up to go to work.” He would just look at me and continue to hammer and saw as if I didn’t exist. Finally in the early dawn he would be exhausted and collapse on the bed that was full of things and fall asleep in his dirty clothes. So finally 47 years ago in the spring and summer of 1967 I took an ad out in the Village Voice announcing to all that I was looking for a roommate. My mother was upset that I was planning to move out, and I really don’t think she believed that I would do it, but truth be told I wasn’t getting along all that well with her either. So in that spring and early summer of 1967 I started to prepare for my move. A few days after the ad came out, I started to get responses and I would head off to the city to look at the apartments. Howard had asked if I wanted him to come along and I said sure why not I could use the moral support and company. So at each place he would patiently wait for me downstairs as I went to look at apartments. They were in the village, some uptown and one near Times Sq. After 47 years I still remember them all. There was one place on Christopher St. that when I asked the guy where do I sleep he patted his bed. No thank you. I also saw an apartment off Greenwich Avenue that was being offered by a very large overweight African American whose taste was as loud and garish as he was large and overweight. Over the plastic wrapped white couch that had lots of gold fringes and borders was a very large oil painting of his mother. I thought he was a pimp and offered me the room on the spot. “I’ll get back to you in a day or so” I said as I made a hasty retreat back down to the avenue. Actually most of the guys who I met were gay, and at 19 I really didn’t know who I was. I was still like a little chick just coming out of his shell. One guy and his girlfriend interviewed me in his small ugly upper eastside apartment and they didn’t stop arguing, but he said I could share the place if I wanted to. I recall him being very handsome, and he keep telling his girlfriend Mindy to shut up every time she tried to say something. “Mindy would you please shut the fuck up” he would yell. I agreed to share, but later in the day he called to say that his girlfriend would be moving in instead. Maybe that’s what they were fighting about but I was relieved. The search went on. One day I answered the phone and the voice at the other end sounded very feminine. “I have a room for rent in my apartment on 19th street in Chelsea, would you be interested”. “Yes I would but where is Chelsea?” He gave me the directions and soon me and Howard found ourselves in a neighborhood I had never been to before. Where was I? It was a rather run down Spanish neighborhood with lots of small mom and pop shops along 8th avenue. We found the building a huge pre war number but no elevators and I started the long climb up to the 6th floor. Dennis and his overweight sweet dog Lisa greeted me at the door. I loved the apartment right off the bat. The living room had nice pattered rugs on the floor and wooden shutters on the windows. A comfortable red worn couch was against one wall and two old leather recliners sat at either end of the couch. But what really caught my eye was the wall to wall bookshelves that held 100’s of books along with Dennis’s large opera and classical music record collection. There was a small kitchen and bath and two bedrooms, one was Dennis’s office, which also had wall to wall bookcases and two desks. The room smelled nice, musty but nice. The other bedroom would be mine if I got lucky. It also had shutters on the window and the view from it was terrific with a great view of the Empire State Building. It was all so nice and sophisticated, a set out of a Broadway play. I wanted to live here in the worst way. It was my dream apartment come true. Dennis was small and somewhat effeminate with a high voice and a scary loud laugh that most people when hearing it thought he was a girl. At that time he dressed conservatively and he told me about the several careers he had before I met him, including one as a costume designer, which he left to go work in publishing. He opened the closet to show where my clothes would go and it was full of dresses and other feminine things. Oh shit I thought. He’s a transvestite this will never do. “These are my ex-girlfriends clothes, she just moved out and she’ll be picking up the stuff soon.” His ex-girlfriend what a relief. We sat in the living room with the sun pouring in. Two cats basked in a small pool of it taking their afternoon nap, and Lisa the dog was staring at me with her big soulful eyes. “Lisa out” Dennis commanded and she sulked out of the room to her little corner in the hallway. “I work at home now” he said I do free lance editing. He asked me about myself what did I do for a living. “You would have the bedroom, and I’ll sleep on the couch that opens up into a bed.” The rent is 80.00 a month. I was ready to move in that day. “My original roommate Peter just moved back to Puerto Rico so I need someone to share the rent and the expenses.” Oh one thing Ira after working all day I like to relax and smoke some pot and watch old movies on TV.” Do you smoke pot? “No I never have, but I would love to” I replied. He laughed and I knew that I had passed the test. Well I have a few more guys to interview, and I’ll get back to you when I reach my decision. As we said our goodbyes, I knew this was where I belonged and I literally floated down 6th floors. “How did it go Howard asked.” “Oh God what a great apartment, this is the one Howard.” “Where the fuck are we anyway.” I asked. “Chelsea where the fuck is Chelsea”?. I would soon know all about Chelsea.

The illustrations are drawings of my roommates
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