Thursday, January 10, 2013

Romaniello Wasn't Built In A Day

My good friend Steve Romaniello

 won the Buffalo Exchange art award last nite. He's a painter, teacher (at Pima College), lover (Karen) and dad to Leah (not my daughter). We walk and if I am particularly lucky he cooks lunch or I get invited for dinner. No finer cook but I think the award wasn't for that. I know Laura Wills from Screamin Mimi's through my photog frenzied friend Henny Garfunkel and last nite I got to chat with Kirsten Block, owner and creator of Buffalo Exchange. In her intro speech b4 Steve got his plack and check, she quoted from her late husband, Spencer Block, on his `take' on art and artists. I agreed with him that artists are vital to humanity.

Afterwards she and I spoke together and  I noticed her maze- like silver metal earrings. I told the story of my daughter Leah and the clunky Calder necklace. She was living in NYC and I was having a Christmas party in Silver Lake (LA) where I worked for TASCHEN as photo book editor. My good friend and boss, Benedikt called and asked if Leah could stop at the Soho TASCHEN bkstore and pick up his surprise holiday gift for his wife, Lauren. It was an original, one-of-kind, EXPENSIVE (priceless) necklace made by Alexander Calder! Concerned, Leah asked how she should carry it on the plance, etc. I told her to wear it. She stopped for a day in SF to pick up her sister, Willa, and when they arrived in Burbank the first thing I said was "let me see the Calder".
"I forgot it!"
 I calmly but sternly explained she had to get back on the next plane to SF and get it which she did and it all worked fine and Benedikt never knew.

Steve, winner of the 2013 BE Art award had an after party. I kept thinking that everyone at the Beowolf threater was old like me and someone pointed out there was a woman with her daughter whom were considerably younger. At Steve's I remet Abril Castillo and her 3rd grade daughter Luisa.
It turned out Abril was a photographer born in Bogota, Columbia and we had spoken previously at the Warhol Eric Firestone opening several years ago. She had videotaped the awards ceremony and was downloading it onto Steve's computer. She showed me her new work. Very powerful, I felt.

But it was her daughter Luisa in her red velvet dress that I was struck by. Immediately I thought about Balthus'

Joan Miro and His Daughter Dolores (193

My camera kept going back to Luisa and her mother. As I was leaving I took a last photo of her as 3rd grader occupying herself at mommy's party as my daughters did when they were her age.

some visual after thoughts.

Retrofitting done to Steve several months ago

the presentation

Andrew W. Rush (2009 BE art award recipient) and Steve discuss quietly art evolution.

Luisa and Abril Castillo (

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