Archive for July, 2011

More Twombly

another opoooenr

My old friend and fellow Coastal Plains, N.C. native Sam King (Kinston) sent me a link to this piece on Twombly by Amanda McCleod that I’m pretty sure is my favorite piece on him since his passing.  The only thing I’d add (and McCleod writes many things in her piece that I couldn’t have written) is that he didn’t move to Rome permanently; he increasingly split his time in Lexington, Virginia and in recent years it was more than half the time.  But that only reinforces one of her interesting points:  When abstract art was peaking in NYC, Twombly cruised town.  I also like how McCleod uses the term “grant money,” which is a lot closer to saying “cash money” than saying “grant” or “grant funding,” bureaucratic terms.

-Sam Stephenson

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Cy Twombly’s Photography

Courtesy of a tip by Dave Simonton, I enjoyed Maria Lokke’s New Yorker blog post about Twombly’s photography.  Last week I wrote about Twombly’s interest in photography by others.

-S.S.

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Late Night Sports Radio

Today I began a series of brief pieces, quasi-diary entries perhaps, on late night sports radio for The Morning News.

My affinity for nocturnal sports radio might explain why I dig Smith’s collection of Long John Nebel shows from WOR radio that can be found on his loft tapes.

-S.S.

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Harvard and Class

There’s an interesting new piece on Paris Review Daily about Harvard by Misha Glouberman.  I think you could substitute many American university names into each spot where Glouberman writes “Harvard” and to some degree – maybe not to the degree of Harvard (or Yale or Princeton) – it would ring true.

Things like Glouberman’s piece make me think about 821 Sixth Avenue.  We’ve documented more than 600 people in that building – and the true number is probably twice that – and only about fifteen or twenty of them, as far as we know, went to college.

-S.S.

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Kevin Eugene Smith on David Logan

This comment from Kevin Smith over the weekend, in response to my recent post on David Logan’s memorial celebration.  I thought it deserved a blog post of it’s own:

Great vignette, Sam! I could hear David uttering every word as if he were sitting across from me. It reminds me of the story he told about how he met my Dad: He said he had bought a new camera back in the 50s or 60s and wasn’t sure quite what to do with it. So he thought to himself: “Who’s a great photographer? I’ll get some advice.” So he picked up the phone and called Gene Smith, whom he had never met, to find out how to take great pictures!!! They became friends. That’s just another example of the ingenuous curiosity that made David so endearing right up until he died. I was sorry I could not attend the memorial service in Chicago this weekend, but I have no doubt that it gave David the sendoff he so richly deserved….

- Kevin Eugene Smith

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Chicago

In Chicago today for the David Logan celebration, the name of Lin Halliday came up a few times in casual conversations surrounding the event.  The last years of his life were spent here.  So, in memory of Lin, I thought I’d link one of my favorite JLP blog posts:  It’s by Virginia “Gin” Wald, the former Virginia McEwan who is featured in the “Chaos Manor” chapter of the JLP book, the harrowing night in which Lin and Sonny Clark were shooting heroin while Smith was packing for Japan.  There are many Chicago references in Gin’s story.

Her post is “1961 in the Loft,” with a picture of her and Lin made by their daughter at the end

-S.S.

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David Logan and Last Weekend of JLP in Durham

Sunday July 10 will be the last day for the JLP exhibition at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.  I was over there today at 2pm to meet a local member of the media and in a brief period of time a diverse crowd of 15-20 people passed through.  For mid-afternoon on a university campus in summer, it seemed like a good number, a good final memory of the run at Nasher.

This weekend I’m heading to Chicago to speak at a memorial celebration for David Logan at the University of Chicago, where the Logan’s gave $35 million for the new Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts.  Of course, the Reva and David Logan Foundation made JLP possible and I wrote a tribute to David after his death in January at age ninety-three.

So on JLP’s final weekend in Durham I’ll be in Chicago thinking of the snowy night in January 2003 that I spent back in Durham with David and his key foundation board member, Ben Rothblatt.  The Dream Street show was opening at CDS the next night.  David, Ben, and I had dinner at Magnolia Grill and David ordered one of Magnolia’s terrific soups as an appetizer.  After about half of the bowl was gone, he looked up, spoon in hand, and said, with sly exasperation on his face, “Why do I live in Chicago if I can find soup as good as this down here?”

As the dinner progressed a group of eight men sat down at a large table next to ours.  These guys looked like they were 35-45 years old.  They were dressed casually but well and they ordered everything on the menu and bottle after bottle of wine.  They were talking, laughing, didn’t show a care in the world, having a large time.  David noticed these guys immediately and his curiosity grew.  You could see his his mind working:  We’re in Durham, North Carolina. This is an expensive place.  These guys look like they come here every night.  Who are they? I knew that’s what he was thinking.  A few minutes passed, David looked at me and gestured toward the next table and said, “Who are those guys?  They are about your age.”  I had no idea.  I could tell David was thinking like the shrewd investor he was:  These guys were about to drop two or three grand at Magnolia; he wanted to know who they were so he could look up their company or industry in the morning paper’s stock indexes.  A few minutes later he gave the guys another once over, and he mouthed to nobody in particular, “I wonder who those guys are.”  Finally, David couldn’t take it any longer.  He pulled back, got up from his chair, and walked over to the next table and said, “Excuse me.  I hate to interrupt, but, I have to ask:  Who ARE you guys?”

The men roared with warm, accepting laughter.  They loved David’s curious regard.  They explained they were from a biotech company in Research Triangle Park in between Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill.  David chatted with them for a good ten minutes.  We finished our dinner and he chatted with them again for another five minutes before we left.

I wish David had been around a little bit longer to see the JLP show at Nasher and to hit Magnolia again.

-Sam Stephenson

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Cy Twombly

Sad news arrived this morning (to me via email links from my wife) that Cy Twombly had passed away.  Less than a month ago I wrote a proposal for an article on Cy Twombly and Sally Mann and their shared Lexington, VA roots.  What are the odds that two major post-War artists would be from Lexington and still live there today (most of the time)?  I wanted to weave Frank Hunter into the story:  A little known fact, Twombly was the world’s leading collector of Frank’s large platinum palladium prints.  Over the years Frank and Cy regularly met for lunch in Lexington, including just a few weeks ago.  I always wanted to tag along on one of those lunches.  But Frank, respecting Cy’s reclusive nature, shied away, and I respected that a great deal.  Once, I gave Frank one of my books of Cy’s work and Frank had him sign it.  Cy signed it in black ink very large “To Sam” and a swoosh from the end of the ‘m’ went off the page.  Then he added a large “Cy.”

The only good thing to come out of news of Twombly’s death is that I learned he had a show of new work last year in tribute to Tennessee Williams and specifically the play “Camino Real,” which I wrote about for Paris Review recently.  You can read about that show at the Gagosian site.  I bet Twombly attended the 1953 premier run of “Camino Real” directed by Elia Kazan.  I would have liked to have chatted with him about it, or had Frank ask him about it.

-S.S.

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More Scenes from the Chaos Manor Workshop

First, an Excel template by Chris McElroen that we’re using to storyboard Chaos Manor.  It’s a spreadsheet replica of the Invisible Dog.  The visuals will be projected onto the side of the building from outside and through the windows from inside.  Below this are photographs from last week by Jason Goodman.

invisible dog temp001

Invisible Dog Rendered on Excel, by Chris McElroen

Chris McElroen, Photo by Jason Goodman

Chris McElroen, Photo by Jason Goodman

Brian D. Coats

Brian D. Coats

Brian D. Coats

Brian D. Coats

Sam Stephenson

Sam Stephenson

Click HERE for Part 1 of this post.

-S.S.

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Scenes from Chaos Manor Workshop

Last week we workshopped Chaos Manor again in Brooklyn.  This time it happened in the offices of A Public Space (much thanks to Brigid Hughes).  We made some headway toward creating an audio-visual narrative for the September 16-17 performances at the Invisible Dog, to be part of the Brooklyn Book Festival.  But there’s more ground to cover.  We’ll workshop again in mid-August at Invisible Dog.  The collective approach of this group continues to be inspiring and fulfilling.  Here are a few photographs from the week by Kate Joyce.

Clockwise from top-center: Frank Kimbrough, Jason Goodman, Chris McElroen, Julia Watt, Lucy Owen, Conrad Kluck, Jaymes Jorsling, Hank Stephenson, Brian Coats, Sam Stephenson

Clockwise from top-center: Frank Kimbrough, Jason Goodman, Chris McElroen, Julia Watt, Lucy Owen, Conrad Kluck, Jaymes Jorsling, Hank Stephenson, Brian Coats, Sam Stephenson

Chris McElroen, Lucy Owen, a 1962 Ford truck parked there appropriately all week

Chris McElroen, Lucy Owen, a 1962 Ford truck parked appropriately there on Dean St. all week

L-R: Jaymes Jorslin, Conrad Kluck, Hank Stephenson, Brian Coats

L-R: Jaymes Jorslin, Conrad Kluck, Hank Stephenson, Brian Coats

Chris, Julia, Lucy, and the ever-present Smith in the photograph by Harold Feinstein on the book page

Chris, Julia, Lucy

Chris, Julia, Lucy

Chris, Julia, Lucy

Sam, Chris, and the truck on Dean St.

Sam, Chris, and the truck on Dean St.

-S.S.

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