Showing posts from May, 2022

A Revered Teacher

 This week we say goodbye to Knox Martin, painter and beloved teacher at the Art Student's League. He was ninety-nine.  Do you know this work of art? Have you ever noticed it?  Painted in 1970, it is located on the south side of Bayview Correctional Facility at 19th Street and The West Side Highway so it's been there as long as I've lived in New York and I see it every time we head north out of town. That building is no longer correctional facility and its future is uncertain.  I hope the painting survives--it's ten stories tall! It's titled "Venus."  Here's what I read about it, by Marilyn Kushner. "Traditionally the goddess of love and fertility, Venus represents woman, erotic and supple, but it also conveys Martin's love affair with New York. Venus is his love poem to the city where he has always lived, a place that is part of his being. The feminine, curvilinear shapes of the image are in direct contrast with the straight forms that inters

A Beautiful Lady

I'm embarrassed that I live in the greatest city in the world but don't pay enough respect to what it has to offer. I can see the Empire State Building from my living room and with just a short walk in our front yard (Hudson River Park on the banks of the beautiful river) I can wave to Lady Liberty. I'm afraid I take these treasures for granted. I used to say that a ride on the Staten Island Ferry was all you needed; you avoid long lines and big crowds--it's plenty close enough to see her.  but last fall, because Teddy's second-grade class was studying New York history so we made a visit.   Nancy, my dear friend from High School joined me and Jessie, Molly and Teddy.  It was a beautiful fall day, a lovely boat ride, and it wasn't crowded even though school was out.  The kids climbed up as far inside the pedestal as you're allowed and Nancy and I sat and watched the harbor and had a nice visit.  Lunch in the cafe and a quick trip to the gift shop. She really

An Upcoming Anniversary

 Next Tuesday will be my mother's birthday and also mine, as I was born on her twenty-first birthday.  When I think of myself at twenty-one I stand in awe of her, especially after she told me my own birth story. I told her about the LaMaze classes Arthur and I were taking to get ready for Jessie's arrival. [let me take a moment here and say that Arthur was the most mature and focussed of all the expectant fathers; when the other guys wanted to talk about the Knicks he'd ask the teacher, "Will you explain Braxton-Hicks again?"]  She told me, "Nobody told me anything even when I asked what was going on.  A nurse just patted my hand and left me alone in a room. It was awful. Then when it got close, they knocked my out."   Here I'd been thinking that we've come a long way in treating pregnant women with dignity and respect.   This is Mom in her Girl Scout uniform, age about ten,  and here's my daughter Jessie age five.  there's a story about

Lightning and Inspiration

 I thought I had run dry as I sought inspiration for this week's blog.  I wanted to write about Faith Ringgold and her retrospective exhibit at the New Museum but as I tried to think of something original to say I realized that better writers than I have already done well by her, and I can't add much.  Nevertheless I urge you to go see Faith Ringgold: American People at the New Museum, 345 Bowery, before June 6. See for yourself. I've been plugging away at my drawing but it's been a slog; a piece that's just not taking off. I kept making those little marks hoping that they would come together and surprise me but the drawing has no zing, it doesn't sing, it's just not working.   But I persisted and the Universe, the Muse, the Holy Spirit, even the New York Times came through! You could say lightning struck. On the front page of the Arts section was this photograph of a synagogue in Venice. It looks just like the triumphal  arches I love to draw, and, since it