Monday, February 17, 2014

A Three SD 4 GB weekend if you count Thursday

Gail Marcus-Orlen, the woman I see often see and with pleasure, was in a group art show at Pima College with a reception Thursday night. During the day I played chauffeur driving her to give a lecture in the afternoon. Then back into town for her mother, the seamstress, Marian, then back out to the college. All her "girls Nite out" girlfriends were there plus a large of art lovers. Our friends, Tim and Anne, treated a bunch of us to late night dinner at Augustins' at the El Mercado on Congress past the freeway.

Nancy, Gail, Marian and Betty

I collect and one of my collections was being resented beginning Valentine's nite at Exploded View Micro-cinema at 191 Toole. But first I picked up Sarah Peterson whom I first met because she was going to Idyllwild school above Palm Springs with my oldest daughter, Leah. She has a grandma (Panzy) and an aunt living her but we got some moments together (shopping and eating mostly).
The El Charro in the foothills.
our waitress (I am a fool for beauty)

Sarah at Frank and Francesca's on Pima

she's a sometimes jeweler and lives in the frozen trundra of upstate NY. her she is in the 99 cent store at 1st ave and Grant.

I took her to meet Serge and Kateland (refer to last year's National Park bust) and she took this fine photo with her cell phone of this yr's installation

photos by Sarah Peterson

Like Halloween, I like valentine's day. In the past I have sewn velevet hearts for my kids or found heart shaped prickly pears. This year candy and roses.

Then to hang the Arthgur show with the help of Rebecca Sherman, co founder of Exploded View and mother of Roman.

She didn't like the way I jhung and called in Richard and I called in Robert and the four of us fought and hung.

Then a short stop at the Mint to watch Wild Cats

Then to the opening for "Unattainable", the work and collected hair images of Arthur (from the collection of Eric Kroll (me).


Arthur never tried to make art. Nor was he a photographer. Yet some of his photographs in Washington Square park make me think of Cindy Sherman’s early cinema stills or Walker Evans in Cuba in the 1940’s or Robert Frank’s The Americas.
He was a physique model and part time messanger who was obsessed with women’s long hair. In the late 1950’s and early ‘60’s he spent his weekends in Washington Sq Park or the beach at Coney Island taking photographs and film of women he didn’t know.   
He lived just north of Times Square on the Westside and regularly browsed the many magazine stores for comics of women in distress and movie magazines of starlets like his favorites, Veronica Lake, Anita Ekberg and Pier Angeli.  He’d return to his railroad apartment and cut out everything but the good parts (women and their hair) and paste them onto  three hole  lined paper and put these into albums. He did this for decades and then, in 1990, I showed up.

Rather, Arthur read an article in a downtown rag on my collecting Betty Page images            and more. He called and asked if I wanted to buy Betty Page images from him. He’d come to my studio on Park and 28th street in mid Manhattan with a ménage of paper collectibles. I bought everything.

It took me years to realize the extent of his obsession. I began to visit him at his apartment and buy. Even into his sixties there were certain photos he would not part with. I moved to San Francisco in 1994 and just before I left he offered me his 8mm and super 8mm porno collection. I politely turned him down. “Even for 10 cents each”? They reside in my library with the 1,000  non porn vhs tapes I own.

Every so often an oversized envelope would arrive with treasures. Among these were 1950’s photos stamped “Stan’s Photos” Redland, California…b&w photos of mostly homely women with hair grown down to the ground! Or rare Irving Klaw bondage shots. It didn’t seem to matter to Arthur- as long as the women had long hair he’d add it to his collection.

My kids are fully grown and live in Brooklyn and this past October I went back but first called Arthur. I wanted to take him to lunch and interview him AND buy anything he still had for sale. He was delighted that I was interested in him and asked if I had a truck. I could have everything remaining at NO cost!

When I got to his apartment and reintroduced myself to his cats I asked him if I could have any film he shot. I think I was referring to his photographs but he misunderstood and climbed his latter to the top shelf of his chaotic bookcase and brought down two tins of 8mm film he had shot fifty years before! And color slides encased in metal. And rare copies of Wink and Titter with Peter Driben cover art.

Richard at Centric Photo on Pima pointed out the tiny kodachrome slides by Arthur were shot with an Olympus Pen F (half frame) camera and very rare.
Things change. I assumed I could dupe Arthur’s slides and project the dupes I made for this exhibition but no one- not even in LA, does slide duping. Like the disappearance of the American buffalo. Overnight gone.

Was Arthur a stalker? Did he have aspects of the character Terance Stamp plays in “the Collector”. I don’t think so. I asked him if he ever approached these women and he smiled and said back in the 1950’s men who worked out in the gym were considered freaks and he never approached a woman.

All great perverts have their stash and mine is on my mac. I choose not to have internet at home or else I’d be collecting porn off tumblr all nite long.

He kept the photos he shot and the film he made for over fifty years. I offered to introduce him to some long haired women I knew that lived nearby and he again smiled and declined. His reality of women remains a world of fantasy.

“All good art stems from lust”
-Marcel Duchamp

happy Valentine’s day

Eric Kroll

David Sherman, co director of Exploded View recommended that the jazz group Thy Oldd Birds do live music during the hour plus long showing of Arthur's kodachrome 8mm footage from the early 1960's shot in Washington Sq and at the beach of Coney Island.
below are photos of the hand written notes Arthur put in the canisters I have from him.

some photos by Arthur

and a cut out he sacved after eliminating the male element.

or a collage he made

Arthur also bought Stan's Photos from the early 1950's!

and amassed a huge collection of Hollywood stills of starlets with long hair

1 comment:

  1. Hello Erik, how are you? Could you give me an email to contact you on as I work for Olivier zahm and we need to contact you in regards to authorization for a photo that he took of you. I've tried many emails we've had for you on file but they're all returned to us.

    thank you

    you can email me on