Tuesday, September 30, 2014



Glint Literary Journal just published this photograph of mine along with several of my drawings and other photographs. .You can view the other work at this link


scroll down to my name.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Today was the annual 3rd ave street fair, that sprawls along the avenue here in Bay Ridge like a 5,000 pd sausage and pepper hero. I have always made my way out of here for the day, since this monster without a head moves right by my apartment. Today to get away from it I took in the New York Art Book Fair at P.S. 1. which I had never visited before. This was like walking out of the frying pan into the fire because the joint was packed no doubt it being free had something to do with the hoards descending on P.S.1. I couldn't possibly see all the exhibitors way too many, way too hot, and way too crowded. But I did get to many of the exhibitors/publishers and I made some nice connections. I brought two of my recent collages and I showed them around and the reactions were very encouraging, a few even took photographs of the pieces, and many told me to send work a few wows also. I also ran into a few very old friends which was a happy and sad thing for me. I also noticed in the entrance lobby a framed group photo of the artists who took part in the opening show at P.S. 1 Rooms, and I glanced at it noticing my name was misspelled for a change, now I am known as Ha Joel Haber. I'm in the 2nd row on the right, second in. It was quite a group.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Oddball Magazine

Monday, September 22, 2014

September 2014 notebook drawing

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

September 2014 notebook drawing

Monday, September 15, 2014

Psychopomp Magazine

Psychopomp Magazine has just published one of my notebook drawings. You can view the entire issue if you like at this link.


Australian Latino Press

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Oddball Magazine


There’s quite a bit of wow going on in many of the galleries that are located in Chelsea. There is also a lot of kitsch, camp and spectacular spectacular and I expect soon that some artist will come up with an installation that turns a gallery space upside down, sort of like one of those amusement rides or that great Fred Astaire dance routine where he dances on the ceiling. However right now and for the time being in the galleries there is a glider plane, a large wood crafted diorama of an airport checkpoint, large glass chandeliers, wall to wall and ceiling to floor intricate small kite like sculptures, and large scale kitschy furniture with ceramic dogs sitting on them surround by lots of bubbles, bangles and beads. Crowd pleasers all, judging by the hoards swarming in and out of most of these shows on Saturday. There are also some exhibitions that are a lot quieter and for me infinitely more pleasing and rewarding.

Jennifer Wynne Reeves. Bravinlee Programs
The Jennifer Wynne Reeves show at Bravinlee Programs is sadly also a memorial exhibition as she passed a month or so ago. These are small and intimate works that while intricate in scale are pretty big in emotional pull. Reeves mixed up her mediums to invent and invite us in to her magical fairytale like landscapes and views, but horribly her life itself was hardly a fairy tale no prince charming rode in to the rescue. There are ships at sea, strange bits of foliage and trees and buttons, bits of wire all mixed up and in with molding paste which seemed to be a favorite medium of hers, with the images generally placed on paper with rough and torn edges. The colors are delicate yet vivid that seem to have a longing for peaceful interludes. This is a show of grace and dignity.

Richard Nonas. Fergus McCaffrey
The opposite of the Reeves exhibit is a large and expansive display of Richard Nonas’s sculptures that I pretty much stumbled on by accident, having no idea that he had a show on. This is a compelling exhibition of simple yet complex minimal sculptures from the 70’s to the present that are made from wood, granite and steel and are placed on the floor and against and on walls. Many of the pieces surprise with their intimate scale and their interruption of the gallery spaces. Even though they are made from impersonal materials they have a hint and feeling of touch. A rich and beautiful show done by an artist now in his late 70’s with more vigor and inventiveness than most artists half his age.

David Hockney. The Arrival Of Spring. Pace Galllery
Very pretty and elegant (it is the Pace Gallery after all) show of the ever lasting British artist’s output of Ipad prints and charcoal drawings of Woldgate which according to the presssheet is in East Yorkshire. These large prints are bright and colorful and easy to like and also appears to be a big crowd pleaser. Hockney depicts the landscape as it changes from winter to spring and is loaded with bright acidy colors almost looking like they are animation cells. The charcoal drawings are smaller and are of course not as flashy as the prints.

Irving Sandler: Out Of Tenth Street and Into The 1960s. Loretta Howard Gallery Impressive but small group show of 8 artists who had deep ties both personal and professional with the art critic Irving Sandler who was a strong presence in the art world of the 1950’s and 60’s especially in the short lived Tenth Street Scene. The show consists of one work each by Ronald Bladen, Mark di Suvero, Lois Dodd, Al Held, Alex Katz, Alice Neel, Philip Pearstein and George Sugarman. The mixture is nice with primary sculptures, figurative paintings and one abstract work by Held along with photo wall labels of portraits of each artist when young. I like this gallery because it generally puts on historical shows on American artists of the 50’s and 60’s.

Left Coast/Third Coast. Bay Area and Chicago Artists. George Adams Gallery.
Large and crowded chunky group show of paintings, drawings and sculptures by a wide open range of artists including Leon Golub, Robert Arneson, H.C. Westermann, Roy DeForest, Jim Nutt, Wayne Thiebaud and two women Gladys Nilsson and Joyce Treiman. The show is bright, colorful and quirky with mostly small scale drawings, paintings and a few sculptures by artists from Chicago (the third coast and California (the left coast). I have to say that I pretty much liked all the pieces here, which is unusual for me.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Notebook drawing September 2014

Dan Colen: Miracle Paintings. Gagosian Gallery

Danny Boy Colen is back and this time he's brought a series of dreadful paintings to push on us. I usually don’t like to heap scorn on another artist or their art, after all we are all brothers and sisters under the gesso, but this current show of his bleak and weak paintings at the Gagosian Gallery that he unbelievably calls “miracle paintings” seems to me to warrant if not red hot scorn then certainly a large amount of dislike. I’ve come to expect very little from this artist (I even hate to use this term with him) especially after his last outing at this space a few years back,but seeing these vapid paintings that he based on stills from the Walt Disney classic “Fantasia” lowers my opinion of him even more. The only miracles about these dour works is that they are being shown at all, and that stupid collectors are paying big bucks for them.Now that is a miracle. Who would want to live with so much nothingness? These are not exciting or inspiring works that can fill a room or a life with joy and insights about the mysteries of art, they just hang there, big and stupid. Their dull surfaces or skins show no feeling or connection to the paint or the act of painting and in fact are an insult to all the terrific painters and artists who struggle each day not only with their art but with the terrors of making a living to pay the rent and continue to make their art. Colen has it made, and maybe that's part of my anger and hostility towards him, that a talentless (and yes I think he is talentless) artist can get this much attention, recognition and buckets of money for this garbage then what is left? and what does this say about a system that rewards such mediocrity. Listen if these dreadful paintings were not being shown at this well touted gallery they would pass unnoticed on their way to the dustbin of art history where they belong. Now my day is Chelsea was not a complete waste, and I did see some good and even wonderful shows, but I think I'll say them for another day.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Two notebook drawings. September 2014

Good Sam 1948

"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there" L. P. Hartley. The go-between.

   I thought of this great opening line from  “The Go-Between” the other night as I sat down to watch one of my favorite childhood movies “Good Sam”, which I had seen on one of those programs of my youth that would show movies from the 30’s and 40’s and thought to myself the past is a childhood movie, they look differently there.
     Made in 1948 by Leo McCarey on the cusp of post war prosperity and the coming of the cold war, the film starred two great performers of Hollywood’s golden years Gary Cooper and Ann Sheridan (this may have been the first time I had seen Sheridan, and I fell madly in love forever and a day with her) as Mr. And Mrs. Sam Clayton of any town USA. Cooper tall, lanky and still good-looking plays good Sam who is an executive- manager in a large department store with  a hands on approach to his job and is treasured by his employees and customers alike.  He is kind and helpful with a heart of gold, to the dismay of his wife. Sam thinks nothing of lending his car to his neighbors so they can get away for a weekend (never mind the neighbor would qualify as being legally blind), He lends a lot of money to a young couple so they can open a gas station, lets his lazy brother in law live with them, and takes in a troubled young employee of his store played by the talented Joan Lorring. 
          Some of the golden moments that I loved as a kid are still hilarious like the scene where Sam holds up a bus so a woman who is running to catch it, can get aboard. The bus driver played by Dick Wessel is annoyed by the delay and the woman played by the marvelous Florence Auer get into a heated argument, with Florence getting the last laugh when she discovers he’s bald and his name is Melvin Z. Wutzberger announcing all of this in a loud voice to the crowded bus, as Wessel does a slow burn.
          I also love the scene in the department store where the great Ida Moore appears befuddled asking for street directions and of course good natured Sam takes the time to draw her a detailed map, much to the chagrin of the store’s president played by Edmund Lowe.  Also in the packed character actor laden cast are Almira Sessions, William Frawley, Minerva Uracal, Louise Beavers, Ray Collins, Irving Bacon and in a very small role a very young Ruth Roman. There are also two of the most natural and realistic portrayals of children I’ve seen in a movie.
              McCarey Knew movie comedy having directed the Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, Mae West, W.C. Fields, and Harold Lloyd. Some of his classic films are “The Awful Truth” for which he won his first directing Oscar, made the same year as his sublime “Make Way For Tomorrow” which McCarey thought he should have won the Oscar for instead of “Truth” and “Ruggles Of Red Gap” with the great Charles Laughton giving a surprising comedic performance.
         But he also had a long sentimental streak and this is apparent in “Good Sam”. The film opens on a Sunday morning church service and its happy ending arrives on Christmas Eve  which made me think of Frank Capra. This streak could also be seen in his famous and popular “Going My Way”, which I still cannot bring myself to watch because of my distaste for the Catholic church and Bing Crosby. This 1944 film won many Oscars including best picture and best actor and was McCarey’s final best directing award. 
    As time went on he became more right wing and conservative becoming a member of the notorious The Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals (MPA) which was founded by him and other Hollywood conservatives who wanted to defend the film industry against Communist infiltration. He was also a friendly witness at the political witch hunt hearings held by Un-American Activities Committee in Congress where he named names of supposed Communist supporters working in Hollywood.  As his film career dwindled he made one more popular success, 1957’s  “An Affair To Remember” which was a remake of his hit romantic film of 1939 “Love Affair.” Brightly colored and cinemascoped it starred Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr as the doomed but eventually happy lovers and made many a woman (and probably some men) weep copious tears but is not a favorite of mine, it’s way too sentimental to me even for McCarey and 1950’s standards.

Friday, September 05, 2014

September notebook drawing

Marjorie Strider 1931-2014

Many drunken nights and wild times. R.I.P.

I knew her very well in the late 60's early 70's back when the art world was small and fun. She knew everyone and was lovers with many famous male artists including Sol le Witt and Carl Andre. I Met lots of interesting people through her, the list is long, but we had a big falling out in the 80's and our friendship never recovered. Here is what she wrote for the catalog of my retro. at Kent State in 1977

"I first met Ira Joel Haber one sunny morning in 1968 in an apartment on tenth st. He was at the tender age of twenty one eating his corn flakes and milk. In the nine years since that day I have hated, loved, screamed, cried, laughed, gone over the edge several times and produced a lot of very good sculpture.I feel Ira Joel's history parallels mine. Through all life's machinations in those nine years we have managed to keep a friendship and a respect for each other's work alive and kicking. That is an incredible accomplishment."

Test Pilot 1938

This pre-war popular M.G.M. glossy movie made my jaw drop. The jaw dropping had nothing to do with the special effects aerial scenes or with Clark Gable’s dimples, but with the tangled triangle love affair between Gable, Myrna Loy and Spencer Tracy. All three stars were at the top of their game, and Tracy would go on to win his 2nd Oscar for the sentimental “Boys Town” later that year. Gable who plays the test pilot of the title is a gung ho try anything flyer with the Gable persona in tact and Tracy plays his best friend and mechanic named Gunner. The two are inseparable even living together, but things start to get dicey when Gable has to force land his plane on Myrna Loy’s family farm in Kansas and they meet cute. Loy who looks no more like a farmer than Alf Landon looked like a president is soon swooning all over Gable’s profile, and falling madly in love with him. They get married, and that’s when the trouble with Tracy begins and that’s when I started picking up on what was going on underneath and between the spoken lines and action. Tracy is jealous of their relationship and is in love with Gable. This action picture, this boy’s Saturday matinee, this romantic jab at the movies is suddenly something else. I suppose one could see this film as a male bonding movie, with a romantic but sharp edge (Loy is having problems with Gable’s absences, his drinking and his death defying job). However the kisses that Tracy blows at Gable every time he takes off on a flight and those goo goo eyes of remorse and longing along with his moaning and groaning all over the place speak volumes and screams out repressed homosexual longing and love, yes even in 1938.  The three rent a nice apartment on 81st for $150.00 a month from the landlady played with elegant reserve by Marjorie Main (no stranger to homosexual longing herself) and it’s uncomfortable coziness for about 3 minutes.  In one-scene Gable showers Tracy with kisses all over his head, which Tracy looks like he’s enjoying very much even though he plays it rough. There is a somewhat happy ending except for Tracy who exits the film in the usual way for conflicted characters. Directed by the male butch masculine house director Victor Fleming in a no nonsense butch style which is what he was noted for. A good old boy who played hard and fast and is credited with directing two of the most loved movies in the history of film. Questions still arise over what actually he contributed to both The Wizard Of Oz and Gone With The Wind, especially so with GWTW that started filming with the gay George Cukor who left the film for reasons that are as smoky today as the burning of Atlanta.  Oscar nominated for a best picture Oscar in 1938.    

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

New notebook drawing September 2014

Monday, September 01, 2014

Flyover Country Reviw

Flyover Country Review has just posted 25 photographs that I took when I was in Columbus Ohio teaching at Ohio State in 1984. These are of course pre-digital images. You can view them at this link.

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