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Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday This & That

After I finished posting about Paul Himmel last night, I came across an article about his wife artist Lilian Bassman by Gina Bellafante titled Femininity, Salvaged - well worth reading, especially if you are unfamiliar with Ms.Bassman.

Recently I also read Constance Rosenblum's piece For a Writer, a Home With a Hideout for the NY Times, which spoke about writer Roxana Robinson's need for sanctuary. It really resonated with me, because I also find it necessary to be completely undisturbed to get work done. Often I feel this is the hardest thing to properly communicate to "civilians" - the need for extreme piece & quiet.

I have also been trying to figure out how I feel about the recently deceased artist Dash Snow. On one hand I understand the place people like him take (and I do like some of his collages) on the other hand it makes me want to change careers and become a health care professional or an organic farmer or something else undeniably productive. If you don't know who Dash Snow was, I suggest reading New York Magazine's elaborate profile titled Chasing Dash Snow, written by Ariel Levy. It's a couple of years old, but it seems well researched.

When I say that thinking about the life of Dash Snow makes me want to change direction in life, it is not necessarily a judgment on how Dash Snow lived his life. It is more a reflection of the art scene at large. I wonder what exactly drove Paul Himmel to turn away from photography and pursue a career in the health field.

The world is a crazy place and very random.

Other things I have been reading & thinking about this week:

-Peter Singer's Why We Must Ration Health Care also for the THE NY Times.
-Tim Weiner on Robert S. McNamara again for the Times. (tx, David)
-Paul Wolfowitz's Indonesia Is a Model Muslim Democracy for the Wall Street Journal.

and I am int he process of reading Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Paul Himmel


courtesy The New Yorker- July 20, 2009

I was sad to discover today that Paul Himmel passed this February. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Himmel briefly when I picked up works he & his wife donated for a political benefit/fundraiser I helped organize.
Photography is a family affair in the Himmel household. Not only did Mr. Himmel donate work for the cause, but so did his wife, the celebrated artist Lilian Bassman, as did their daughter photographer Lizzie Himmel.
Paul Himmel was a New Yorker of the old guard. In the 50s (before becoming disillusioned with photography and becoming a psychotherapist) he produced gorgeous & iconic vignettes of his hometown. Like his wife, there is a strong minimalist quality to his style, paired with a great sense of space and feel for abstraction.
The whole family excels at creating atmosphere in their imagery, reflecting lives well lived.
I used to work for Ms. Himmel 's & Mrs. Bassman's agent and mother & daughter were always kind and generous in their interactions with me. What endeared the Himmels to me further, was their love for their cats.
Once one of the cats was lost and Lizzie literally spent days and nights flyering and looking for the beast, which at last was found in an alley uptown--unharmed and just a bit slimmer.

Lilian Bassman and Paul Himmel were married for 76 years and they are an inspiration to me.
Keith De Lellis Gallery is showing large photographs by Paul Himmel of New York City in an exhibit titled "An Unerring Vision" throughout the summer. Don't miss it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Night


NYC Summer Sky @ Dusk © Nina Buesing Corvallo

Tonight is one of those perfect New York Summer nights. You can smell summer in the air and even at midnight the air is still balmy. The concrete radiating heat keeps the temperature just right.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mondays & Heidi Klum

Today is Monday. Mondays are often hard for me, which is strange since my life is not necessarily structured in a conventional seven day week.
In any case today is one of those Mondays. Arggh.

Oh well. No time for complaints. I haven't had much time for personal blogging, and this post is probably not getting the attention it deserves.
But sometimes 80% gotta do.
Over dinner this weekend Sasha Baron Cohen's new movie Bruno was discussed. A gay friend of mine was commenting on how he finds the movie to be very offensive & damaging to his community (while another gay friend loved it). I have not seen the movie and prob. will not see it and thus I cannot comment on it in depth. I looked at a few old clips of Mr. Cohen in the Bruno character on youtube, and decided I was not goign to see the film in theaters (on DVD later maybe).
I understand Mr. Cohen is purposefully being provocative and I understand what Owen Gleiberman is arguing in his review of the movie.
And who knows maybe I would like the movie.
But I suspect the stereotyping of Teutonic people would prob. bother me somewhat (I'm used to it, but it is getting old).
I am not sure there is any point in discussing and dissecting that aspect of the movie, but it made me think about model & entertainer Heidi Klum. I don't have a television and even if I am near a television you prob. won't find me watching reality television. So I don't know how Ms. Klum acts on her show(s). Or if she served as inspiration for Mr. Cohen. I suspect he is taking a stab at her. However what I know of Heidi Klum otherwise, just makes me think of her as a German national treasure (albeit she is now a naturalized US citizen as well). She seems like an open & warm person who cares greatly about her family. She seems like someone who makes the best out of everything and tries to do the best she can. She seems like a good sport and like she has a good sense of humor. Sure she is hyper and silly at times, but she is a model and an entertainer, and not chancellor or president. Cut her some slack. She's come a long way.
To me Heidi Klum is representative of modern Germany. Her upbeat, straight-forward and comfortable-in-her-own skin personality reminds me of close friends back home.
And I have much affection for Heidi Klum for that reason. I like what she exports and thank her for it.