Thursday, December 25, 2014

Black Highwaymen and the sons of Black Highwaymen

I go down to North Miami beach to the sun but also to follow the lead of my friend/writer Javier de Pison who I have been friends with since he had the Wild Seduction gallery and was married to Peli and I was with Felice. We try and know the old sites of Florida- Weeki Wachi, the underwater phitographer Bruce Mozert and this time the Black Highwaymen that began in the sixties along A1A in Ft. Pierce, Fla. I'm going to gert the facts wrong and will try and correct the txt at a later date.
It seems NOT COLLEGE EDUCATED Black men painted Florida landscapes and sold them up and down the state road.
My new writer friend photographer/writer Gary Monroe who teaches in Daytona and wrote the definitive book on the work of Bruce Mozert also wrote numberous books published through the University of Florida Press on the Highway Men painters.
We were due in Ocala the next day but stopped at Ft. Pierce and found the A.C. Backus museum.

Seems Backus, the talented and successful Florida landscape painter, went to the local high school in Ft. Pierce and asked to teach the most talented Black young artist they had.

Al Hair, born 1941, came and studied with Backus. Soon he was doing landscapes from his memory (not from photos) and linked up with Al Black who sold them to businessmen along A1A and out of his truck. Things were going well- hoping to make many canvas to make much money he learned to paint on jetson board (drywall board). He had an assembly line of canvases and produced 20 paintings a day. Other young Blacks came around and Hair and the 26 original Highway men would paint in his backyard, go out and catch fish and drink and eat while painting and sell them in South Florida.
Then sitting in Eddie's drive-in along Avenue D in Ft. Pierce, he was gunned down and the art movement went quite until the late nineties. There is a oblique down the street from where he was killed as a tribute to his talent as an artist.

I always encourage my kids to ask people questions. When we couldn't find the Backus museum, Javier asked Derrick, who turned out to be working for the city of Ft. Pierce and was the nephew of Al Hair's wife, where Backus gallery was and later he walked back up to us and offered to introduce his aunt over the phone. That lead to an home interview and more.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

good time for a new year

drawn by Willa. the yearly from the Krolls (Willa, me and Leah) . peace, health and happiness in all (all) the right places

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Mermaid and the Manatee

in Marathon, Florida

out Javier's backyard in north Miami Beach

me with mermaid (photo by Javier de Pison)

Javier with mermaid Nataly (from Columbia) on the beach in front of the Deauville Hotel.

we "used" her to promote issue 6 of Osmos magazine at their launch party on the beach

mermaid Nataly reading issue 6 Osmos in the lobby of the Deauville

carried by students attending an unnamed college in the lower eastside of NY. One of their fellow student's artwork was in Osmos #6 and they all came down to give her support. Later they held a class on the beach dealing with censorship...I was about to comment (from my experience with Karen Finley, and various run-ins with the law and censorship) when someone said the class dealt with INSTAGRAM which I don't know anything about.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

On the Beach

Everytime I fly into Miami to be with my friend/writer Javier de Pison pleasure becomes work and vice verci. in order to ketch up I need to lay down some photos.
My artist/performer long time friend Willard Morgan of Idealglass gallery in NYC has been creating personas for decades (Jelvis, the Jewish Elvis i.e.). He wasn't coming to art Basel then he was and flew in to work with his artist/performer friend Ayakamay ( and along came Azumi OE (in red) and Seira Makanishini in blue. Costumes are by  Uta Bekaia.
I went to meet Willard on the beach near 17th st not knowing what to expect. Something about Charles II.

then lunch at the Tap Tap Haitian restaurant on 5th st. with Javier

the luncheon crowd at the Tap Tap

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Robert Wilson on the Beach

I shot Robert Wilson's rehearsals for "Einsten On the Beach" and this time, the strongest wqork I saw at Miami Art Basel was his "portraits" of Lady Gaga in image boxes where he added subtle movement in the image and his signature music.

The main pavillion had the Warhol's

and the Annie Leibovitz work of what's her name

and the David Hockney rooms

and John Chamberlain

and Alexander Calder's stay mobile in the foreground

and Mike Kelley who I have been wrong about consistantly.  Years ago I had dinner with him. We were guests of Benedikt Taschen and afterwards I mentioned how I thought he was aragant plus boring. Then I saw his sock monkeys and loved them. Then we had a big public verbal fight at a Pierre Davis talk and then I saw his Gagosian yearbook recreation exhibit and loved it. Benedikt published an anthology of "Sex To Sexty" magazine and at first I thought the mag lame but then I started to dig it and buy it. Turns out Benedikt learned of Sexty to Sexty from Mike Kelley. I'm ceertain I will be wrong again.

But the most important move I made at Art Basel was when I turned the corner and saw the color photo of Mike Bildo and David Wajnarovich sitting on the grass on the second floor of the Canal Pier.  

That's when i met Penny Pilkington, owner of PPOW gallery which I remembered from the lower eastside art movement in the 1980's. I told her I also had fine photos of David and the pier and she told me about the upcoming David Wajnorich retrospective at the Whitney museum. As soon as I got back to my north Miami beach apartment provided by my brilliant writer friend Javier de Pison, I sent these images below and more.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I'm thinking of having a party entitled "Nobody Gets Out Alive"

After I graduated from college in 1969 and moved to Taos, NM and then to NYC in 1971 it took about 3 years to get a spectacular loft on w. 29th st above the Old Garden (German) restaurant in Manhattan. One day a female friend from Bard College came by having just returned from living in Laos. She remained a high cheeked beauty and she told me she needed a job and I got her a job with my photo stock agency that I sold my work through. They hired her and gave her keys to the office. She came over after work the nbext week and after she left I went looking for my camera and it was gone. I looked everywhere. Finally I called another friend from Bard and mentioned I couldn't find my camera and the last person that had visited was H. He remarked that she had come back from Laos a junkie! Telling my agency to change their locks was a drag. Fast forward forty years and another friend from Bard sent me an article in the New York Post about a grandmother purse thief that at age 68 had been arrested and put into jail. She had been arrested multiple times. After she came out of jail she died the next day! It was the same person I had known at Bard college. I can't believe she remained a junkie all these years. Maybe she had some klepto problems.

I've been in love (with him and his music) Naim Amor since I met him at Amy Reed's house at a jam session years ago. and I fell crazy for the music and personality of Al Foul. I heard them for the second time recently at the Maker House. Beautiful Katy awful was my date. She told me she used to hear Al when she was 12 years old! Lucky lady.

             Al Foul...need  I say more

me and Naim with his latest album. photo by Katy awful

the boys in the band

Katy and I then drove all nite to Colorado and I bought some legal pot and I smoked it but didn't inhale and Katy didn't smoke any.

I am disappointed to write that Roberto Francisco Villa,  and dad to my close friend Robert Villa, violinist and reptile (turtle) and plant guy died last week at age 50 of cardiac arrest.

I met Roberto only a few times but I remember those times- he cooking a pot of something delicious in his kitchen, we eating with his other boy in a restaurant along 6th avenue and a chinese restaurant along St. Mary's and at a Heather Gray documentary on a Spanish bakery where the above photo was taken. I keep telling my girl kids how every moment together is a precious one for me...and for them.

My close friend Dave Naz married to my close friend Ori Small had an exhibition in Chinatown in LA and a book launching at the gallery.  The book, Genderqueer and other Gender Identities is published by Rare Bird Books and available on Amazon and at their website rare The exhibition is at Coagula Curatorial 974 Chung King Rd in Chinatown LA. Nov. 8th to Dec. 20, 2014.

the nite of the opening

Buck Angel in front of his Naz portrait

Dave and one of his subjects

Matt Gleason, gallery owner and Dave Naz

Lillian Batts takes no prisoners at the opening