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.