Wednesday, 2 September 2009

BILL TILDEN

Big Bill Tilden

In honour of the 2009 US Open, here's a tip of the cap and a wave of the racquet to Bill Tilden, a native Philadelphian, and one of the greatest tennis champions of all time.

Friday, 28 August 2009

TED KENNEDY

The Kennedy Family, Hyannis Port
c. 1948

Edward Moore Kennedy
22 Feb 1932 - 25 Aug 2009

"We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us will live on in the future we make. I have lived a blessed life."

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

MARCO QUERAL

Photographer Marco Queral shakes hands with a Humpback Whale

What a busy summer it's been. Since I last posted on here, I've been out to Colorado and gone hiking with Zeke, the wonder dog. I've been to Philadelphia for a Phillies game. I've been to Brooklyn for a friend's wedding; for another friend's birthday (what was Ralph Lauren doing there?); for an artist's exhibition. I've been out kayaking on the Hudson River.

There are a number of pictures I want to post that would have been timely during the past month. I'll catch you up with them in no particular order. Look for upcoming images by Julius Shulman, Robert Capa, Bruce Weber, pictures of Woodstock, and even Ralph Lauren (because how often are YOU hanging out at some dive bar in BK w Ralph??).

In the meantime, I'm resuming the blog with this picture of the underwater photographer Marco Queral and a humpback whale. It seems fitting that my last post was of a man on the moon, and this one is of a man under the sea with a 50 ton whale. I am wonder-full.

Monday, 20 July 2009

NEIL ARMSTRONG

On 20 July 1969, Mission Commander Neil Armstrong & Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon. As the lunar module touched down on the moon, Aldrin declared "Houston, Tranquility Base, here. The Eagle has landed." At 10:56 pm Armstrong began his descent to the moon's surface. He stepped off the Eagle and onto the moon, the first human ever to walk on another planet. His words still resonate today: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." The event was broadcast back to Earth; at least 600 million people watched live, as Armstrong & Aldrin walked on the moon. Walter Cronkite, who passed away 2 days ago, anchored the CBS news desk and exclaimed "Oh boy!"

Forty years later, it's been suggested that NASA was too concerned with collecting rocks and not enough with the bigger picture. Tom Wolfe, the author of The Right Stuff, writing in The New York Times, complained that "NASA...neglected to recruit a corps of philosophers." But in looking for the meaning of the bigger picture, we sometimes forget to look at the pictures themselves. The images snapped by Neil Armstrong have lost none of their power. They are thrilling and, literally, wonderful. Armstrong and Aldrin left behind a plaque that stated "We came in peace for all mankind," and took away the pictures that are a lasting testament to one of our greatest achievements, our finest hours.

Friday, 17 July 2009

RYAN MCGINLEY

Dash Upstate
2002

Dash Snow, who rebelled against his privileged and art-loving family to become a promising young New York artist in his own right, died Monday night at a hotel in the East Village. He was 27 and lived in Manhattan.
His death, at Lafayette House, on East Fourth Street, was confirmed by his grandmother, the art collector and philanthropist Christophe de Menil. The cause was a drug overdose, she said.
Mr. Snow was known to be a heroin addict, but Ms. de Menil said he had been in rehab in March and had been off drugs until very recently.
Mr. Snow was a rebel as young as 13, when his parents — Taya Thurman, a daughter of Ms. de Menil’s, and Christopher Snow, a musician — sent him to a reformatory-like school in Georgia. He stayed there two years. After his release, he returned to New York and began living on his own. With no more than a ninth-grade education, he was largely self taught. His art would eventually include photography, drawing, collage, installation, zines, film and video. But he began, in his teens, as a graffiti artist known by the tag “Sace.”
Handsome, heavily tattooed, with waist-length blond hair and a full beard, he soon became something of a downtown legend. He began taking Polaroids of the sex- and drug-fueled young bohemian circles in which he moved, recording his life and times in a style similar to that of his close friend Ryan McGinley and older artists like Nan Goldin and Larry Clark. Several of these images were included in the 2006 Whitney Biennial.
Mr. Snow had his first solo show in 2005, at Rivington Arms, a gallery on the Lower East Side. (His work is now represented by Peres Projects of Los Angeles and Berlin.) By then, Mr. Snow had become close with a group of artists that included Nate Lowman, Adam McEwen and Dan Colen, all of whom were experimenting with appropriation, or found-image, art in various mediums.
He began using newspapers in different ways, drawing in colored pencil, for example, on historic images, like a photograph of the shooting of President John F. Kennedy. He made large collages out of headlines and strange, delicate, sexually suggestive ones that evoked the medium’s Dada origins. He had also started making short Super 8 films and converting them to video.
Sexuality, violence and life’s fragility were frequent themes in Mr. Snow’s work, but there was also an air of exuberant misbehavior. A 2007 article in New York magazine, “Warhol’s Children,” highlighted Mr. Snow’s art, antics and underground stature, bringing his notoriety to a wider audience. It mentioned that he and his friends liked to turn hotel rooms into “hamster nests” by littering them with torn-up telephone books.
That summer, Mr. Snow and Mr. Colen went public with this practice. In their installation “Nest,” they filled Deitch Projects, a SoHo gallery, with several feet of shredded phonebooks and invited visitors to hang out, party and add graffiti to the walls. Many cooperated.
Mr. Snow was born in Manhattan in 1981 to a family whose cultural contributions included the Menil Collection in Houston and the Dia Center for the Arts in Manhattan and Beacon, N.Y. When he was 18, he married Agathe Aparru, now the artist Agathe Snow. The marriage ended in divorce.
In addition to his grandmother and his parents, Mr. Snow is survived by a grandfather, Robert Thurman; his sister, Caroline Snow; his brother, Maxwell Snow; his companion, Jade Berreau, and their daughter, Secret, all of Manhattan.
- Roberta Smith, NY TIMES, July 15, 2009

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Thursday, 9 July 2009

GORDON PARKS

Canadian Pianist Glenn Gould Playing Concert Grand Piano as He Records Bach's Goldberg Variations in Recording Studio
1955

Glenn Gould's landmark 1955 GOLDBERG VARIATIONS, was as startling a debut in music as any, comparable to Bob Dylan or the Beatles. Glenn Gould represents pure intellectual energy as well as a particular kind of quirky secular culture that was all the rage in the supposedly conformist '50s. This was the age of Holden Caufield and James Dean, not to mention Thelonious Monk and Jackson Pollock. Gould fits in with all of them, far more than any other '50s classical musician, all of whom were merely bourgeois highbrows (with the notable exception of Maria Callas and maybe Toscanini). He also delivered on the promise of this debut throughout his career. While he may have declined physically, there was no concurrent artistic leveling off. Even his failures, like his series of trashed Mozart sonatas, are as fascinating as car wrecks.
- Joe Sarno

I first encountered a vintage print of this image at G.Ray Hawkins' Gallery on Melrose in Los Angeles. It was probably the late 1980s. I've always admired Glenn Gould's landmark recordings of Bach's Goldberg Variations. I thought this picture captured some of Gould's eccentric genius. If you look closely, you'll notice that Gould has kicked off his shoes and is playing the piano in his stockinged feet, hunched over the keyboard in that inimical way he had. But there are two pairs of shoes! I always wondered: did Gould start recording earlier and go home that night in just his socks, only to return the day this picture was taken, wearing a new, second pair of shoes??

The print of this photograph ranks high on my list of The Pictures That Got Away. I should have bought this print on the spot, but for a variety of reasons (excuses, excuses), I didn't. But I know where it ended up. Almost a decade later, I discovered this very print up in Toronto, Canada. I always thought it was fitting that this image of Gould returned to Canada.
- Peter Hay Halpert

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

DON HUNSTEIN

Glenn Gould Testing 4 Steinways
1957

Glenn Gould's eccentricities and perfectionism were legendary, a part and parcel of his musical and artistic genius. His need to recreate the music he heard in his brain led him on a quest for the perfect piano, as responsive to his intuition as it was to his fingertips. In April 1957, Gould visited the Steinway factory in Astoria, Queens, and, after playing every piano in the showroom, had the final four contenders sent over to the 30th Street Studio for a more intensive audition. Don Hunstein caught the maestro, in one of the low-slung stool-like chairs he traveled with, hunched over the keys in search of the perfect sound.