Over the years I have written four letters to The New York Times.Two of them were published which shows that my view points were taken into consideration.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Travel













Which is the most beautiful city in the world? There is no such thing. Each city has a beauty of its own. While New York is considered beautiful for its grandiosity and gigantism, Rio de Janeiro is acclaimed for its natural beauty, Paris for its well designed boulevards and huge squares, Rome for its eternal city quality.
Left photo: Roma, near Spanish Steps Right photo: Rio de Janeiro

Great Thrills


One of the great thrill of my career was arriving in Paris for my first solo exhibition. As the taxi entered the main stream of the city, I saw a poster announcing my show. Then another and
another. The closer we got to the gallery, the posters proliferated and reality set in. I was showing in Paris! The French treat an artist with great respect and dignity.
Paris is for painters what Vienna is for musicians. One has to be there to get the seal of approval. I went back to Paris many times, but never got that thrill of my first time exhibiting there.



Hurray for Karen Cooper, director of Film Forum


Film Forum was founded by two young cineastes in 1970 with a $2000 investment, a tiny 16mm Bell& Howell projector and a rented loft space on West 88th Street. with 50 folding chairs, one projector and a $19,000 annual budget. Karen Cooper became director in 1972 and under her leadership, Film Forum moved downtown to the Vandam Theater in 1975. In 1980, Cooper led the construction of a twin cinema on Watts Street. Finally, in 1989, when the Watts Street cinema was demolished by developers, Film Forum’s current Houston Street cinema was built. Today, Film Forum is a 3-screen cinema open 365 days a year, with 275,000 annual admissions, 462 seats, 55 employees, 4600 members and a nearly $4 million operating budget.
We present two distinct, complementary film programs .Would be great if we had more Karen Cooper all over the country. I am happy to be a member of that organization which has give us so many precious art movies from the past and the present.

“Raising a joyful hell in a small space”

Founded in 1996 by three of New York’s most acclaimed downtown theater artists-director Jim Simpson, designer Kyle Chepulis and playwright Mac Wellman- the award-winning Flea Theater was originally formed out of the purely artistic impulse to create a “joyful hell in a small space”. Brash energetic, and dedicated, Flea Theater become a downtown beacon for creative artists of every discipline, and for audiences seeking bold and inventive work

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Pet Peeves

Bladder Blather

In most big cities in the world there are plenty of public rest room facilities, except in New York City. If nature calls it is better to be near a department store, a hotel or an open construction site. Do not attempt to go into a restaurant because right on the door there is a big sign "For Patrons Only". I met countless tourists who asked me directions not to the Statue of Liberty or The Empire State building but for a toilet. Men of course.
In the past there were paid rest rooms on the subways stations and in certain coffee shops. However somebody in the administration of the city decided that charging for such necessity was illegal and now they are gone. Sometime ago a man was arrested for peeing in Central Park.What else he could do? There is a lot of talking about installing the much-needed facilities but bureaucracy stands in the way.

Irritating questions to an artist

One of the most irritating questions which somebody can ask an artist is "how long it takes to do that work" Art is not measured by the lengh of time of the creation. That questions belongs to the same category of people who wants to buy an art work to fit the color and size of the couch or those who wants to buy yards of books in different colors to decorate a room.

Humility

There is something noble about saying "I don't know". However some people would rather die than acknowledge that they don't know. My grandefather used to say that the learning process does not end with a dipoloma, but in the grave. Everybody is entitled to an opinion, but it should be based on the knowledge of the subject that one is talking about. Dr. Benjamin Zohn, father of my friend Herb, used to say: "They don't know and they don't know that they don't know". Very true indeed. I met several people that are "expert" in just about everything: art, science, architecture , any profession. The worst are the ones ëxpert "in medicine. They even precribe medications...
It is not a shame to say Ï don't know and then ask"can you tell me something about it? "



Collaborator


I invited my friend Herbert Zohn to collaborate on this blog. He is not only my best friend but also my manager and financial advisor. He was founder and co-chair of the organization that erected a statue of Eleanor Roosevelt at
the entrance to Riverside Park. This project also rebuilt a great portion of the park whcih was dilapidated by years of neglect. For ten years he worked hard on this project, removing patiently, one by one, all the stones in his way. Herbert also once owned a gallery in which I had several shows. He encouraged me to stay in this country, and our relationship has lasted more than 25 years so far. Herbert graduated from Yale University in l954 and has worked on other civic projects over the years.

Photo: Hillary Rodham Clinton, honorary co-chair talks with Herbert Zohn about the project.

Part of the article published by New York Times Magazine on October 5, 1996

"The idea was born in March 1986 as Herbert Zohn, a retired art dealer and the other co-chairman was walking along Riverside Drive near 72 street where he lives. That part of the park was in shabby condition, and he thought it would be a wonderful idea to refurbish it with a statue of Mrs. Roosevelt, whom he had long admired, as its centerpiece.
It took 10 years, but the statue ultimaly paid for removing an unused entrance to the Henry Hudson Parkway ( itself a major New Deal poublic work), the city did landscaping and other improvements and more than 2,000 donnors gave money for the statue. The total cost was $1.3 million"