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Ai Weiwei says tax case demonstrates China's dark side

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Written by DIDI TANG, Associated Press   
Monday, 22 September 2014 10:46

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Image courtesy of New Mexico Arts, Department of Cultural Affairs.

BEIJING (AP) – China's best-known dissident artist, Ai Weiwei, has accused his country's Communist government of losing its principles and using underhanded ploys to try to silence critics.

The artist, whose supporters say he was hit with a $2.4 million tax bill in retribution for his outspokenness and activism, also criticized fellow Chinese artists for failing to speak up while he was singled out.

Yet Ai said he was optimistic about the country's younger generation in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press this week at his Beijing studio, where he talked about the English-language version of a Danish documentary released this week about his tax case.

“Before, I was naive enough to think that a political regime, a strong society, would never use unsavory means in legal cases. If you bring a charge against someone, you do it in the normal way. You should not defame and frame someone and silence their voice,” Ai said.

The outspoken artist has been virtually silenced in China over the past couple of years, though he occasionally speaks to foreign journalists, and Ai said he was warned by police not to conduct the AP interview or face unspecified consequences.

“From what we see today, (the government) has completely lost its basic principles,” he said, referring to the frequent declarations of Chinese leaders that ruling Communist Party members are honest and above-board people.

The 86-minute film, Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case, by director Andreas Johnsen, opens with 2011 footage of Ai emerging from 81 days of detention amid a throng of journalists. Already a longtime government critic, he had been detained with other activists and dissidents amid calls for social and political reforms in China following the Arab Spring uprisings, but then was let go without charge.

After his release, authorities slapped his company with a $2.4 million bill for back taxes and fines in a closed-door hearing. Ai unsuccessfully fought the tax assessment in court.

“The legal system is not legal,” said Johnsen, the film's director, who chronicled Ai's judicial fight, his hopes and frustrations, and his everyday life under tight government surveillance. “They were just making the rules along the way according to what they needed.”

In recent years, Chinese authorities have increasingly targeted activists and dissidents, as well as their relatives, on nonpolitical charges such as disturbing public order or business-related misdeeds, instead of free speech and political dissent charges that would draw international condemnation.

Last year, a Beijing court convicted the brother-in-law of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiabo on business fraud charges and sentenced him to 11 years in jail.

The iconoclastic Ai has been outspoken in art and commentary since his youth, something he likely inherited from his father, a famous poet who frequently ran afoul of authorities.

As part of his artwork, Ai has been photographed giving the finger to Tiananmen Gate, the symbolic heart of China's political establishment.

Ai wrote scathing commentary via social media from 2005 until 2009, when his microblogs in China were shut down. He especially angered authorities with his high-profile campaign to highlight the shoddily built classrooms that crumbled in a 2008 earthquake and killed thousands of students.

The 57-year-old said he did not seek to be an activist.

“All my feelings and viewpoints are genuine. They are all opinions that I, as an individual or as someone linked to artwork, would normally have,” he said. “But because of repeated crackdowns and bans, I have been turned into someone unusual, and I have become a kind of activist.”

Ai himself has turned many of ordeals into art.

In May 2013, he released an obscenity-filled music video mocking state power called Dumbass. He said it was inspired by his eight-day detention in which he was guarded by men in close proximity as he ate, slept, paced, showered and even sat on a toilet.

He also produced a six-part diorama reconstructing scenes from his jail cell. Other works include surveillance cameras and handcuffs, symbolizing the repressive regime he is living under.

The government has blacklisted him from any mention in state media, and he is not allowed to post anything on China's social media. Authorities also have confiscated his passport so that he cannot go abroad where he might speak freely.

His tribulations – reported by foreign media – have raised his profile overseas, and Ai said he is thankful for the support from foreign artists and organizations. Yet he says he has been disheartened by the indifference of fellow Chinese artists.

“The biggest trauma is not how I was treated in jail but how I saw that the Chinese artists, as a group, pretended that nothing happened,” Ai said. “They are still celebrating some fake performances in auctions and international art markets, but they show complete indifference to this society or what's happened to an individual member of their profession. That would be impossible in any other society.”

Ai said he believed the people's pursuit of freedom and happiness will eventually prevail.

“I may have underestimated myself. Given how seriously the government is treating me, it seems I do make a difference. Every day, there are young people who approach me to shake hands with me, to have photos taken with me or to seek an autograph,” Ai said. “They all voice their support.”

When news got out about his hefty fine and tax bill, about 30,000 people expressed support online and offered donations and small loans totaling more than $9 million yuan ($1.5 million). In the documentary, money folded into paper airplanes was flown over the wall into his studio. His tax bill is now paid.

“The government cannot suppress them all,” Ai said. “They are all normal people.”

___

The documentary is available at http://thefakecase.com/

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-09-19-14 1450GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Image courtesy of New Mexico Arts, Department of Cultural Affairs. 

Last Updated on Monday, 22 September 2014 12:18
 

War bride's visit to RMS Queen Mary tops bucket list

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Written by KELLY DICKEY, The Herald Bulletin   
Monday, 22 September 2014 08:42
The RMS Queen Mary, launched in 1936, is now a hotel in Long Beach, Calif. Image by Mike Fernwood, Santa Cruz, Calif. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license. ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) – Shortly after her second husband died two years ago, Anderson resident June Allen discovered a box she didn't realize she had. Tucked away were all sorts of memorabilia from her arrival to the United States on the RMS Queen Mary as a war bride following World War II.

Little did she know that little box would help catapult her into the national spotlight and make one of her dreams come true.

Last month, Allen flew to California to visit the Queen Mary and was interviewed about her experiences by CBS journalist Tracy Smith. Allen's piece appeared yesterday on CBS News Sunday Morning yesterday.

“Afterward, she gave me a high five and said, ‘June, you did a great job.’ And I said, ‘I sure hope so,’” Allen told The Herald Bulletin.

Smith's husband is a producer on the show, and when Allen mentioned she watches Sunday Morning every week and loves the theme song, he whipped out his phone and showed her that it was his ringtone.

“They were just gracious and wonderful,” she said.

Allen said that when she was flown out to California for the Sunday Morning taping, she was also interviewed by a reporter from the L.A. Times. That story, she said, is scheduled to run Sunday, too.

It was something she never expected to happen, especially not at the age of 87, yet she found herself returning to the grand ship the same week as her birthday.

“Believe me, at my age to go through all of this, it was an unbelievable thrill,” she said.

Allen's first time on the Queen Mary was when she boarded the ship in 1946 in England. A young war bride, she made the voyage to New York at the age of 18.

For more than six decades, she wanted to return to the ship, which has since been retired and permanently moored in Long Beach, Calif.

But it was that box of items she had long forgotten she saved that has turned her into quite the traveler.

In the summer of 2013, she made arrangements to visit the ship. Workers told her dozens of soldiers and war brides used to travel to the Queen Mary, but none had in a long time.

“I said, ‘I'm not too old to travel, I'm not in a nursing home, I'm not dead and I'm coming,’” Allen said.

Her travels didn't end with that first trip. She's already been there several times in the last year, and before she got the call to be interviewed on Sunday Morning, Allen made reservations to return to the Queen Mary in November.

Allen said that brings her travels to five trips in 13 months – four to Queen Mary and one to Ellis Island in New York.

“It's unbelievable. It's like a fairy tale,” she said. “I just wanted to go back as a part of my bucket list.”

She said she never could have imagined the opportunities she's received. She's become friends with Queen Mary crew members, been featured in a short documentary and made her television debut on one of her favorite shows.

“All I did was come over on a ship 67 years ago,” she said. “This has been the most exciting year of my life.”

___

Information from: The Herald Bulletin, http://www.theheraldbulletin.com

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-09-19-14 1318GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
The RMS Queen Mary, launched in 1936, is now a hotel in Long Beach, Calif. Image by Mike Fernwood, Santa Cruz, Calif. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.
Last Updated on Monday, 22 September 2014 08:51
 

Pope's skullcap raises over 100,000 euros on eBay

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Written by AFP wire service   
Friday, 19 September 2014 09:51
Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square. Image by Edgar Jiménez from Porto, Portugal. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license. ROME (AFP) – An Italian TV show managed to coax Pope Francis into handing over his white skull cap and has already raised over 100,000 euros in less than 24 hours by putting it on eBay.

The host of satirical show Le Iene (The Hyenas) got up at the crack of dawn to ensure he had a front row position for one of the pope's regular appearances in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.

As later shown on Vatican TV, the host managed to approach the pope as he boarded his jeep and offered him a new white skullcap.

The pope is seen stopping the jeep and examining the cap, before swapping it for his own.

The cap was put on eBay on Wednesday evening, and had already attracted a bid of 105,000 euros ($135,000) by Thursday afternoon.

The money raised will be given to an Italian charity fighting child mortality in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the program producers said.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Pope Francis in St. Peter's Squarealign=
Last Updated on Friday, 19 September 2014 10:04
 

Thomas Crow to present 2015 Mellon Lectures at Nat'l Gallery of Art

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Written by Museum PR   
Thursday, 18 September 2014 14:58
Thomas Crow, 64th A.W. Mellon Lecturer in the Fine Arts at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, spring 2015. Image courtesy of National Gallery of Art WASHINGTON— The Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) at the National Gallery of Art has announced that Thomas Crow, Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, will give the 64th annual A.W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts.

The series, titled Restoration as Event and Idea: Art in Europe, 1814‒1820, will be held in the West Building Lecture Hall at the National Gallery of Art on March 15, 22, and 29 and April 12, 19, and 26, 2015. This year, with the East Building under renovation, the Gallery plans to broadcast the lectures in real time to audiences all over the world via a live-streaming video feed.

Professor Crow will consider the period 1814‒1815, following the fall of Napoleon. During this time, artists throughout Europe were left uncertain and adrift, with old certainties and boundaries dissolved. How did they then set new courses for themselves? Professor Crow's lectures will answer that question by offering both the wide view of art centers across the continent—Rome, Paris, London, Madrid, Brussels—and a close-up focus on individual actors— Francisco Goya (1746‒1828), Jacques-Louis David (1748‒1825), Antonio Canova (1757‒1822), Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769‒1830), Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780‒1867), and Théodore Géricault (1791‒1824). Whether directly or indirectly, these artists were linked in a new international network with changed artistic priorities and new creative possibilities emerging from the wreckage of the old.

About the A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts:

Since 1949, the A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts have presented the best in contemporary thought and scholarship on the subject of the fine arts to the people of the United States. The program itself is named for Andrew W. Mellon, founder of the National Gallery of Art, who gave the nation his art collection and funds to build the West Building, which opened to the public in 1941.

Past speakers have included Sir Kenneth Clark, E. H. Gombrich, Michael Fried, Helen Vendler, and T. J. Clark. For a full list, please visit: http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/research/casva/meetings/mellon-lectures-in-the-fine-arts.html.

About Thomas Crow:

Thomas Crow is known for his interest in the political and social dynamics of the production of art and in the role of art in modern society, as well as for his close reading of a wide range of individual works, often in conversation with each other.

His newest book, The Long March of Pop: Art, Design, and Music, 1930‒1995, will be published by Yale University Press in 2015. Among his extensive list of published books and articles are Emulation: Making Artists for Revolutionary France (1995; revised edition, 2006); The Rise of the Sixties: American and European Art in the Era of Dissent (1996, 2005); The Intelligence of Art (1999); Modern Art in the Common Culture (1996); Painters and Public Life in Eighteenth-Century Paris (1985); "The Practice of Art History in America," Daedalus 135 (spring 2006); and "Marx to Sharks: The Art-Historical ’80s," Artforum 41 (2003), among others. He is a contributing editor of Artforum.

Professor Crow is also the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship; the Charles Rufus Morey Prize of the College Art Association; and the Eric Mitchell Prize for the best first book in the history of art, among other accolades. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Currently the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship, Crow will spend the fall as a fellow at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, working on the subject of the lectures.

Before his appointment at the Institute of Fine Arts, he was director of the Getty Research Institute, professor of art history at the University of Southern California, the Robert Lehman Professor of the History of Art at Yale University, and professor and chair in the history of art at the University of Sussex.

General Information:

The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden are at all times free to the public. They are located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW, and are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Gallery is closed on December 25 and January 1. With the exception of the atrium and library, the galleries in the East Building will remain closed for approximately three years for Master Facilities Plan and renovations. For specific updates on gallery closings, visit http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/Collection/modern-art-during-renovation.html.

For information call (202) 737-4215 or the Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) at (202) 842-6176, or visit the Gallery's Web site at www.nga.gov. Follow the Gallery on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NationalGalleryofArt and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ngadc.

Visitors will be asked to present all carried items for inspection upon entering. Checkrooms are free of charge and located at each entrance. Luggage and other oversized bags must be presented at the 4th Street entrances to the East or West Building to permit x-ray screening and must be deposited in the checkrooms at those entrances. For the safety of visitors and the works of art, nothing may be carried into the Gallery on a visitor's back. Any bag or other items that cannot be carried reasonably and safely in some other manner must be left in the checkrooms. Items larger than 17 by 26 inches cannot be accepted by the Gallery or its checkrooms.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Thomas Crow, 64th A.W. Mellon Lecturer in the Fine Arts at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, spring 2015. Image courtesy of National Gallery of Art
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 September 2014 15:36
 

Maria Shriver buffed from Schwarzenegger portrait

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Written by JUDY LIN, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 16 September 2014 08:44
Arnold Schwarznegger at the 2012 Comic-Con in San Diego. Image by Gage Skidmore. This file is licensed under the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – An endearing gesture by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to include an image of his wife Maria Shriver in his official portrait has been covered with a splotch of blue paint.

Former Schwarzenegger aide Clay Russell said Friday that the official portrait of the two-term governor once featured a lapel button showing Shriver's face.

However, the painting unveiled Monday in the state Capitol has a noticeable patch over the lapel of his blue jacket.

“It was actually a cute gesture when he had it done,” Russell told the Los Angeles Times about the image of Shriver in the painting.

He added, “It's too bad they couldn't remove it without creating a smudge that got a lot of attention.”

The realist-style painting by Austrian Gottfried Helnwein was finished during Schwarzenegger's first term in office then sat on an easel in Schwarzenegger's Oak Productions office in Santa Monica. He paid for the portrait himself at an undisclosed cost.

After Schwarzenegger left office, embarrassing revelations emerged about an affair he had with his maid that produced a son. Schwarzenegger and Shriver later separated.

Schwarzenegger spokesman Adam Mendelsohn did not immediately respond to an email sent Friday seeking comment.

True to his outsized life, Schwarzenegger's portrait is larger than those of other modern-day governors. It measures roughly 4.5 feet wide and 6.3 feet tall and will eventually hang on the third floor of the state Capitol.

It features an image of a youthful Schwarzenegger – a onetime bodybuilder – standing in front of the official California seal.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-09-12-14 2106GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Arnold Schwarznegger at the 2012 Comic-Con in San Diego. Image by Gage Skidmore. This file is licensed under the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 08:52
 

Director David Lynch returns to Philly for exhibition debut

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Written by STEVEN REA, The Philadelphia Inquirer   
Monday, 15 September 2014 15:02
American film director David Lynch. Image by Sasha Kargaltsev. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. PHILA., Pa. (AP) – Never mind the world outside David Lynch's studio window: the sun beaming on the Hollywood Hills, the sprinklered lawns ringed by dry chaparral, the open-top tourist vans prowling for homes of stars.

Stationed at his long desk, chain-smoking American Spirits, tossing the butts on the concrete floor, the celebrated filmmaker and artist is time-traveling to 1960s Philadelphia, recalling his 5 1/2 years in a city that seeped into his soul. The patina of grime-blackened buildings. Kitchen ovens filled with expired cockroaches. A murdered boy just beyond his stoop. “Smiling bags of death” at the morgue.

“Philadelphia is my greatest influence,” says Lynch, 68, in a buttoned-to-the-neck white shirt and khakis, his eyes crinkled and clear, his silver hair in a Gumby whoosh.

“I loved the place – as well as hated the place. … There was a kind of anything-can-happen feeling. But the things that could happen weren't going to be good.”

But they were good. On Saturday, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts – his alma mater, the polestar that drew him to Philadelphia in 1965 – opens “David Lynch: The Unified Field,” an expansive survey of not just the work he did there, but also the paintings, drawings, constructions and multimedia installations he has created in all the years since. Art quaking with memories and dreams of Philadelphia, just like his films (Oscar-nominated four times) and television work – the cult breakthrough Eraserhead (1977), the hallucinogenic Americana of Blue Velvet (1986), the coffee-and-cherry-pie procedural of the TV series Twin Peaks (1990-91).

The show is big, more than 80 works (with a sidebar collection by Lynch's friends, teachers and contemporaries) occupying better than half of the second-floor exhibition space. Lithographs, watercolors, mixed media on wood and canvas, small pieces, giant pieces, pieces with titles that reflect his obsessions, but also his splendidly askew humor: Arm of Sores, My Head Is Disconnected, I Not Know Gun Was Loaded Sorry, I Find It Very Difficult to Understand What Is Going On These Days.

“He's been so successful in film that sometimes I think it's kept people from taking his painting seriously,” says Jack Fisk, the Academy Award-nominated art director who has known Lynch since high school in Alexandria, Va., and who persuaded him to come to the academy, where Fisk had enrolled.

Robert Cozzolino, curator of “The Unified Field,” has been working with Lynch and his staff, and his L.A. gallery, Kayne Griffin Corcoran, for several years to frame a show that, he says, would not “fall back on the film narrative” or “make the films the index everything is compared to …

“Somebody was finally taking his work as a painter, as a maker of drawings and prints, seriously.”

For the creatives, 1960s Philadelphia and 1920s Paris were not so very different, says Fisk. Both had “the right convergence of artists, writers, musicians. People were doing completely different things, and everybody was pushed to do more … all searching for identity.”

At the academy, he and Lynch joined a circle of artists experimenting with new forms, new ideas. Among them were Murray Dessner, Tom Palmore, Ben Kamihira, Eo Omwake. James Havard, older, established, was an unofficial mentor. “We were rebelling against everything Thomas Eakins had built,” Fisk says. “Nothing against him, but we were trying to find out what art was.”

Lynch has told the story of his epiphany before, but it bears retelling.

He was slabbing paint on a landscape one night in one of the capacious studios. “It's a painting, mostly black, but it's a garden, and so there's some green that's coming out of the black. It's a garden at night,” he explains.

“I'm sitting back and I'm probably taking a smoke. In those days, you could smoke everywhere. This is like the most beautiful thing in the world to me,” he says, holding the object of his digression aloft. “It's a nightmare world now. But anyway” – he laughs, moving back on point – “I'm taking a smoke … and I'm looking at this painting, and from it I hear a wind. I hear a wind. And from it I see the green start to move. And I'm not taking drugs. It's really happening, but I'm not on drugs. The green is moving and I hear a wind. And the next thought is, Oh, a moving painting. And that's what started it: It's sound and picture. …

“So the first thing I did was Six Men Getting Sick and I had the sound of a siren.”

Six Men Getting Sick (Six Times) was his first film, a stop-motion animated short in which crudely drawn figures do just as the title says. Colored liquid gushes from their guts, everything catches fire. Shown on a jerry-rigged 16mm projector in continuous loop, the 1967 film won the academy's student competition for experimental work.

Visitors to “The Unified Field” will find the one-minute film behind the academy's central lobby, installed in a black-box room and projected, as it was originally, onto a three-dimensional sculpted screen, featuring plaster casts of Lynch's head.

The day after his “moving painting” moment, Lynch was off and running from the dilapidated row house he shared with Fisk at 13th and Wood, down to the Fotorama store on 16th Street to get a movie camera.

“The cheapest one, a little Bell & Howell windup,” he recalls. “It held 100 feet of 16mm film. … it had a little turret of three lenses. I loved that camera.''

More ambitious work and a better camera – a $400-plus Bolex – followed. The Alphabet (1968) combined animation and live action, a four-minute recitation decidedly un-Sesame Street in nature. A woman (fellow artist Peggy Reavey) lies in bed, with a soundtrack of whistling wind and a baby's wail. At the climax, she vomits blood.

The Grandmother (1970) came next: A 33-minute flambé of animation and live action – also with an eerie soundscape – about a boy who plants a seed and grows a grandmother. It won the attention of the American Film Institute.

The next year, he moved to L.A.

Lynch's time in Philadelphia divides into three chapters, defined by his addresses: 13th and Wood; the 2400 block of Aspen; the 2400 block of Poplar.

At the first, in a precinct of warehouses and light industry, Lynch established his graveyard-shift routine. He'd wake by 4 p.m. to have breakfast next door at Pop's Diner before it closed for the day. He'd return to the studio in the rowhouse he and Fisk rented (no heat, but two working fireplaces), or go to the academy or to Peale House, the old Belgravia Hotel that the academy had bought and rechristened. Around 2 a.m., he would break for another meal, usually at the White Tower hamburger joint at Broad and Race. He'd go to bed as most people were getting up.

Catty-corner to his house was the city morgue. One night, a guard let him in.

“He said, ‘Ring the bell at midnight,’” Lynch says, recalling “a little entrance room, linoleum tile floor, cigarette machine, candy machine, little entrance desk, and a corridor going back and a big iron door.”

In the cold room, Lynch saw about 20 bodies “kind of in bunk beds.”

“I just sat with them,” he says. “It wasn't like a thrill or any kind of weird thing. It was a life experience. It makes you think about many, many things.”

He never again visited the morgue. But he often passed its loading docks, and observed workers hosing down the zippered rubber body bags, which had handles on either end.

“They bring the bodies back to the morgue, take the body out,” Lynch recounts, “and they hang the bags with the zipper open, and the handles would go on these pegs and then they'd hose them out. … They looked like they were smiling. Sometimes they had water dripping out of their mouth.''

Lynch deployed that image – like so many Philadelphia impressions – for the Season 2 opener of Twin Peaks. Yes, the smiling bags of death.

Fisk recalls Lynch's telling him about one morgue room filled with “pieces of people. It was etched in his mind.”

And re-etched in Blue Velvet, when Kyle MacLachlan's character finds a human ear in a field.

In 1967, Lynch and Peggy Reavey were married. In April 1968, they had a daughter, Jennifer (who grew up to be a filmmaker and TV director). They moved into a brick trinity on Aspen Street.

Lynch had left the academy. “The realization came that being a father and being married, I needed to get a job,” he says. “I remember the day before I went to work, I was sawing wood, and I was almost crying – I loved sawing wood. I was sawing a 1-by-3 pine, and I was thinking my freedom was gone, and tomorrow I go into lockup.”

But lockup wasn't so bad.

Lynch got a job with his friend, the gallerist Rodger LaPelle, making prints of drawings by LaPelle's wife, Christine McGinnis, in the couple's carriage house in Germantown.

“They supported themselves on Christine's animal prints,” Lynch says. “I'd print alongside Dorothy McGinnis, Christine's mother – we called her Flash – and Flash turned me on to The Edge of Night and Another World. ... We'd watch TV and print.”

Thus, another piece of his Philadelphia experience was socked away for later use: the loping cadences of soap opera, reworked in Twin Peaks.

The Lynches' last Philly house was also their biggest, 2416 Poplar – a number that Eraserhead fans know as Mary X's address. “Twelve rooms, full earthen basement, oil heat, three stories,” Lynch remembers. The real estate agency asked $3,500 – $600 down.

“I think I bought it that day.”

Lynch has called Eraserhead, the film he spent five years making once relocating to L.A., “my Philadelphia Story.”

The stark, cracked factories. The haunting thrum. A protagonist who works at the LaPelle printing plant and is suddenly confronted with the prospect of fatherhood – though the child's species is up for discussion. (A 1972 ink on paper in “The Unified Field” is an eerie rendering of the Eraserhead baby.)

Family is a theme that runs through Lynch's art and films. He has been married four times (his second wife was Mary Fisk, his best friend's sister). In addition to daughter Jennifer, he has two sons, and a 2-year-old daughter with his wife, Emily Stofle, an actress who appeared in his most recent feature, Inland Empire (2006).

He also had a relationship with his Blue Velvet star, Isabella Rossellini.

“He loves family,” says Jack Fisk. “When he first married Peggy, he'd go every weekend to play horseshoes with her family.”

But in Lynch's work, the family unit is almost always frayed, and freaky.

“I don't understand all of it,” Fisk says, “but I think that he was so normal growing up” –son of an Agriculture Department scientist and an English tutor – “that it embarrassed him. …

“He was conflicted, because there was a craziness in him.”

In his studio, Lynch is making a small box. There is a painting in progress. He is constructing a lamp. He takes his art seriously – but not himself.

He practices Transcendental Meditation 20 minutes each morning and evening, and oversees a foundation to spread the word. He has his own brand of coffee. He composes music. He is a photographer. From 1983 to 1992, he drew a comic strip, The Angriest Dog in the World, syndicated in alternative papers. And he shows up on TV. In last season's Louie, he was an entertainment industry veteran who coaches Louis C.K. when he's auditioning to replace Letterman.

“David has more of a sense of humor than about any artist I know,” says Fisk, who remembers how Lynch used to wear two ties at once when he lived in Philadelphia.

Lynch plans to be in the city for the week of the academy opening. He's set to appear at a members-only preview there on Friday, at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute Saturday (sold out), at the Prince Music Theater for the Philadelphia Film Society on Wednesday (sold out), and at the Free Library on Thursday (sold out). He also has agreed to meet with the folks who rechristened his old stomping ground around 13th and Wood the Eraserhood.

But Pop's Diner is gone. So, too, Buck's Hardware, where Lynch found everything he needed for his constructions. White Tower was bulldozed. The city morgue is an annex for Roman Catholic High. The ghost factories are loft apartments with rooftop pools and nearby businesses selling artisanal pizza and craft beer. There's talk of making the old Reading Viaduct a park.

Lynch considers this news.

“You see,” he says, shaking his head ruefully, “that's the end of the world.”

___

Online:

http://bit.ly/1oizGLe

___

Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, http://www.inquirer.com

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-09-13-14 1700GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
American film director David Lynch. Image by Sasha Kargaltsev. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 11:15
 

Reclusive artist Robert Indiana doesn't show at HOPE Day

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Written by Associated Press   
Monday, 15 September 2014 14:04
LOVE Park in Philadelphia's JFK Plaza features a Robert Indiana sculpture. Image by Smallbones, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. VINALHAVEN, Maine (AP) – Reclusive artist Robert Indiana was expected to make an appearance outside his island residence Saturday to take part in a celebration of his art around the world on his 86th birthday, but he didn't emerge from his home, disappointing dozens of fans.

The event was called International HOPE Day and took place in cities across the world. Indiana was expected to make a public appearance outside his home and studio on Vinalhaven Island, where dozens of fans had hoped to get his autograph on commemorative prints that they purchased from event organizers outside his home.

Kathleen Rogers, Indiana's publicist, said he is in poor health and isn't used to being around large groups of people.

“We'd envisioned a much smaller event” when Indiana initially agreed to appear, she said. “I think he was just overwhelmed with all the people.”

The artist is best known for his “LOVE” sculpture, in which the L and a leaning O sit atop the V and the E. His “HOPE” piece was done in the same arrangement.

Indiana is known for being reclusive. He once stood up President Barack Obama at the White House. Another time he made a crew from NBC's Today show wait three days on the island before he would let them interview him.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-09-14-14 0132GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
LOVE Park in Philadelphia's JFK Plaza features a Robert Indiana sculpture. Image by Smallbones, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Last Updated on Monday, 15 September 2014 14:14
 

Erika Holmquist-Wall assumes art post at Speed Museum

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Written by Museum PR   
Thursday, 11 September 2014 10:44

Erika Holmquist-Wall. Image courtesy of The Speed Art Museum

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Speed Art Museum has announced that Erika Holmquist-Wall has been hired as the Mary and Barry Bingham, Sr., Curator of European and American Painting and Sculpture for the museum. Holmquist-Wall will begin her new role at the Speed on October 6, 2014.

"I am thrilled and honored to join the Speed's team at such an historic and exciting time. It's a terrific chance to work with a marvelous art collection that possesses tremendous potential for growth. It's also an extraordinary opportunity to develop a vibrant exhibition program for our audiences,” said Holmquist-Wall. “Louisville is such a dynamic city, and the Speed reflects that energy, especially as it repositions itself into a museum for the 21st-century. It's all about collaboration, engagement, and community outreach. In short, I'm here to get everyone excited about art," she added.

Erika Holmquist-Wall joined the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 2000 as a Curatorial Assistant in the Department of Paintings and Modern Sculpture. In 2007, she was promoted to Assistant Curator of Paintings. In addition, she served as the museum's Provenance Specialist, where she oversaw all research related to the ownership and acquisition of the museum's collections. During her tenure, Holmquist-Wall curated a number of exhibitions for the MIA, includingThe Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy in 2011,Alexander Roslin and the Comtesse Pignatelli in 2008,A Mirror of Nature: Nordic Landscape Painting, 1840-1910,and most recently, a suite of four dossier exhibitions on Henri Matisse that supplemented her most recent curatorial venture,Matisse: Masterworks from the Baltimore Museum of Art. She is a strong advocate for collections preservation, creating two popular exhibitions centered around the public restoration of major paintings by Guercino in 2004 and Max Beckmann in 2013.

Holmquist-Wall is a specialist in 19th and 20th-century Nordic art and design. In addition, she has established an international reputation as one of a handful of advanced specialists in the field of provenance research, with an emphasis on World War II-era spoliation issues.

A native of Iowa, Erika received her BA in the History of Art and Classics from the College of Saint Catherine and her MA in Art History from the University of St. Thomas.

“I am excited to have Erika join our curatorial team at the Speed. She brings with her expertise in a number of areas, including German Expressionism, the work of Edvard Munch, provenance research of the World War II era, and new approaches to collections interpretation,” said Scott Erbes, Chief Curator and Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the Speed Art Museum.

Ghislain d’Humières, Director of the Speed Art Museum, said, “Erika fills one of the vital curatorial positions needed to re-open the Museum in the spring of 2016 and will play an integral role in our vision of becoming a 21st-century museum that offers dynamic and immersive experiences to its visitors. We are pleased to welcome her to the Louisville community and the Museum.”

About the Speed Art Museum:

The Speed Art Museum is Kentucky’s largest art museum with a collection that spans 6,000 years of human creativity. An independent museum located on the campus of the University of Louisville, the Speed continues to play an important role in outreach initiatives, workshops, tours and art-related school programs. The Museum is situated at a crossroads between the city and the University of Louisville, adjacent to the busiest pedestrian thoroughfare on the University’s campus. The Speed is currently closed and undergoing a multi-phase expansion and renovation that includes a new North and South Building, 150 seat theater, Art Park and a public Piazza.

Although the Museum is closed for the renovation and expansion until the spring of 2016, “Local Speed” – the Museum’s temporary home–was established in downtown Louisville’s trendy Nulu district at 822 East Market Street. The Nulu space has 6,000 sq. ft. of special exhibit and programming areas as well as administrative offices for museum staff. Local Speed is free and open to the public Friday 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

For more information on upcoming programs and events, and to view a virtual tour of the museum's expansion, visit www.speedmuseum.org, friend us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter: @speedartmuseum.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Erika Holmquist-Wall. Image courtesy of The Speed Art Museum

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 September 2014 15:57
 

Brooklyn Museum director Arnold Lehman retiring in 2015

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Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 11 September 2014 08:53

Arnold L. Lehman, Director of the Brooklyn Museum. Photo by Adam Husted, April 2009. Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum

NEW YORK (AP) - The director of the Brooklyn Museum is retiring next year.

Arnold Lehman informed the board of trustees at a meeting Tuesday that he'll retire in mid-2015.

He took over the museum in 1997.

Under his leadership, the number of visitors doubled and the museum drew a younger and more diverse audience. Its endowment more than doubled.

He's probably most recognized for a 1999 exhibition that included a work depicting the Virgin Mary adorned with elephant dung. That prompted then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani to threaten to cut off the city's funding to the museum.

Among other notable exhibitions during Lehman's tenure were "Monet and the Mediterranean,'' shows on graffiti artists, the Japanese pop artist Takashi Murakami and John Singer Sargent watercolors.

He was also was committed to showcasing feminist art.

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Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Arnold L. Lehman, Director of the Brooklyn Museum. Photo by Adam Husted, April 2009. Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 September 2014 09:12
 

Jeff Koons to create works to benefit UN foundation

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Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 15:48
Portrait of Jeff Koons by Chris Fanning. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons NEW YORK (AP) - A new philanthropy created to raise money for humanitarian causes has enlisted Jeff Koons to create new works to raise money for the United Nations Foundation.

Project Perpetual says Koons' works will be auctioned at a Four Seasons restaurant event in New York on Nov. 9.

They'll include a large plaster sculpture that will incorporate luxury handbags provided by notable people including Marc Jacobs and Sofia Coppola.

The artwork will support the foundation's Shot(at)Life campaign, which provides life-saving vaccines to children worldwide.

The philanthropy will partner with a different contemporary artist each year.

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Online: www.projectperpetual.org

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 September 2014 16:01
 

Schwarzenegger on hand to unveil official governor's portrait

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Written by JUDY LIN, Associated Press   
Monday, 08 September 2014 10:17
Arnold Schwarzenegger, 38th Governor of California (2003-2011). Image courtesy of California Department of General Services SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The Governator is back.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is returning to the state capital today for two high-profile public events to discuss California's fight against climate change and unveil his official portrait at the Capitol. Both events are expected to highlight more positive aspects of his two terms as California governor.

Schwarzenegger, who has returned to acting since leaving the governor's office in 2011, has made few political appearances with the exception of advocating for renewable energy.

While in office, the former governor frequently promoted California's landmark 2006 global-warming law, called AB32, which paved the way for the state's cap-and-trade system for controlling greenhouse-gas emissions by the worst polluters.

The Republican will share the stage with the current governor, Democrat Jerry Brown, at a symposium highlighting California's position at the forefront in developing policies to address climate change. Organizers are using the state's public policies to counter naysayers ahead of United Nations climate-change conferences in Lima, Peru and Paris.

Monday's gathering at a 250-seat auditorium at the California Environmental Protection Agency's headquarters will feature research experts, businesses executives from Apple Inc. and UPS Inc., as well as actor Ed Begley Jr. The panels will highlight the costs of failing to move away from fossil fuels, citing noticeable changes such as the expansion of California's wildfire season.

"Arnold always likes to say, 'When the people elected me, they don't see it as Republican air and Democrat air. They just want clean air,' " said Bonnie Reiss, a former administration adviser who now directs the Schwarzenegger Institute at the University of Southern California, which is co-hosting the event.

Schwarzenegger will then head to the Capitol rotunda for a ceremony to unveil his governor's portrait. The painting, by an artist who has yet to be named, eventually will be hung on the third floor of the building next to his recalled predecessor, Gray Davis.

Schwarzenegger had promised to bring fiscal accountability, but he left office with a mixed record, as the state was facing a huge budget deficit. Brown has been credited with passing a tax increase, cutting additional services and bringing the budget back in balance.

In one of his final acts in office, Schwarzenegger commuted the involuntary-manslaughter sentence of the son of a former political ally.

Schwarzenegger said at the time that he cut Esteban Nunez's sentence from 16 years to seven because he thought the sentence was excessive, a decision that caught San Diego prosecutors and the victim's family by surprise. But he also acknowledged he was helping a friend, former state Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez.

Months after he left office, embarrassing revelations broke about an affair he had with his maid that resulted in a son born out of wedlock, destroying his marriage to Maria Shriver.

Since then, Schwarzenegger has largely committed to a Hollywood comeback. He appeared in this summer's "The Expendables 3,'' and he returned to his cyborg assassin character in a new "Terminator'' film due out next year.

While promoting his action movie "Sabotage'' earlier this year, Schwarzenegger told The Associated Press that he has no plans to run for elected office again.

"No. I have no interest in running for anything. I've done that,'' he said. "I never wanted to be a career politician.''

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Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Last Updated on Monday, 08 September 2014 10:24
 

In Memoriam: Brazilian designer Sergio Rodrigues, 86

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Written by JENNY BARCHFIELD, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 03 September 2014 08:16

Sergio Rodriguez's 'Sheriff' chair is based on one of his earlier designs the 'Mole' chair. It was produced beginning in 1962  by ISA/Ponte San Pietro Bergamo Italy. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Art + Object.

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Celebrated Brazilian designer Sergio Rodrigues, whose “Mole” armchair is among the most iconic pieces of Brazilian mid-century design, has died. He was 86 years old.

Rodrigues' secretary, Carla Claro, says Rodrigues died of liver failure Monday at his home in Rio de Janeiro.

A Rio native, Rodrigues studied architecture before turning to furniture design. According to his official biography, he designed more than 1,200 different pieces of furniture, though none would prove as enduring a hit as his “Mole” armchair, the name of which means “soft” in Portuguese. Created in 1957, the award-winning chair has a squat wooden frame topped by interlocking leather pillows fitted with thick straps.

The design garnered the top prize in the Cantu international furniture competition in Italy in 1961. In 1974, New York's Museum of Modern Art acquired a “Mole” armchair for its collection, the biography said.

Maria Cecilia Loschiavo dos Santos, a historian specializing in Brazilian design, said the “Mole” represented a “great revolution.”

“The imperious desire to conceive of a piece of furniture that would express national identity led Sergio Rodrigues to a design that defied the existing styles,” the biography cites Santos as saying.

Like many of his other designs, the chair initially was made from jacaranda, a prized Brazilian hardwood that was harvested into near-oblivion. The factory licensed to produce his designs then switched to woods like eucalyptus, “pau marfim,” or ivorywood.

Furniture designed by Rodrigues will continue to be produced, Claro said. Vintage “Mole” armchairs retail in Rio antique stores for around $7,500.

Other top designs include the so-called “Kilin” armchair, from 1973, and the “Diz,” from 2003. The striking “Chifruda,” or “horned” chair, from 1962, is known for the sweeping wooden slat at the top of the backrest that resembles a pair of antlers.

Rodrigues, who also famously decorated the Brazilian embassy in Rome in 1959, was to be honored at the upcoming IDA design fair, which opens next week as part of Rio's celebrated ArtRio international art fair, organizers have said.

Rodrigues is survived by his wife, Vera Beatriz, and three children. The funeral will take place in Rio on Wednesday, Claro said.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-09-02-14 0409GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Sergio Rodriguez's 'Sheriff' chair is based on one of his earlier designs the 'Mole' chair. It was produced beginning in 1962  by ISA/Ponte San Pietro Bergamo Italy. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Art + Object. 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 08:43
 

'LOVE' artist Robert Indiana at center of exhibit

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Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 29 August 2014 09:44
LOVE Park in Philadelphia's JFK Plaza features a Robert Indiana sculpture. Image by Smallbones, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. VINALHAVEN, Maine (AP) – Maine-based pop artist Robert Indiana plans to participate in a celebration of his art in countries across the world called International HOPE Day.

The artist is best known for his “LOVE” image, in which the L and a leaning O sit atop the V and the E. His “HOPE” image follows a similar theme. It will be a part of installations and events in Munich, Caracas, Miami, New York City and Vinalhaven, Maine, on Sept. 13, his 86th birthday.

Indiana will make a public appearance outside his residence and studio on Vinalhaven Island on that day. There will be a large “HOPE” sculpture installed for the event.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-08-27-14 2140GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
LOVE Park in Philadelphia's JFK Plaza features a Robert Indiana sculpture. Image by Smallbones, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Last Updated on Friday, 29 August 2014 09:54
 

'Edsel King' clearing 2,300 cars from his North Dakota lot

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Written by LAUREN DONOVAN, Bismarck Tribune   
Thursday, 28 August 2014 08:33
'58 Ford Edsel Citation convertible. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and RM Auctions. BEULAH, N.D. (AP) – After the crushers move out, LeRoy Walker, the “Edsel King,” will be car poorer and cash richer.

For decades, the rural Beulah man has operated a salvage yard tucked out of sight on hills tiered to the level in an old lignite mine north of Beulah.

Today, he has 2,600 vehicles lined up in rows out there in the hills, a neat and orderly operation, as far as salvage yards go.

Just over a week ago, he signed a deal with BF Salvage, of Minot, to crush and remove 2,300 of those vehicles for an amount he says is not the $1 million he's been offered before, but comes pretty close.

“I'll invest it and live off the interest,” he figures.

It's not a bad ending for a man who, since 1957, has made a living buying junked or wrecked vehicles and “parting them out,” as it's said in the salvage trade, along with repairs.

He loved drag racing, enduro races and demolition derbies, and competed and traveled all over the region and country, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

“It's been a great life. I've seen a lot of places and got to do what I liked,” Walker said. And, he said, the income was good enough. “My stomach didn't growl much,” he said.

He and the buyer, Tom Boe, went through the yard recently and counted the inventory. A bright orange “S” spray painted on the windshield marks the cars Walker wants left behind.

Those are interesting old collectibles, ones still intact enough to have value, or ones he hopes to still restore himself someday.

And it goes without saying that his collection of 200 Edsels – the largest collection anywhere, he says – isn't going anywhere.

He's obsessed with the Edsel, a car only briefly manufactured by Ford Motor Co.

One, a 1958 Edsel Citation convertible, painted its original buttery yellow with chrome and black accents, is beautifully restored and in storage out at his place.

Walker, 73, who's got a bad hip and other health issues, said a guy called him last week and offered him $50,000 for it. No deal, Walker said. He's not ready to sell. Not yet. He's got more miles to go.

He bought his first Edsel in 1962 and his last one just last summer, a '59 station wagon from a guy in South Dakota. He loves their big steady motors and smooth wide ride.

“A few are still hiding around, but they're getting pretty scarce,” he said.

Word's out that Walker's yard will be cleaned out soon, and he said a lot of people have come through in the past few weeks looking for a certain part or piece, or maybe a whole rig they ought to buy and pull on home before it's crushed and gone forever.

It's always been a pretty busy place, between salvage and repair work in his shop. “A lot of people heard about me just word-of-mouth,” he said.

Steve Gowin of Hazen, a customer and friend, said local car club members depend on Walker as quick source for a needed part.

“He's unique. He's not only a student of the Ford, but of every car and he's memorized universally used parts. When you need something, he grabs a 5/8-inch wrench and drives out there and gets it with one wrench. I'd need a whole toolbox and a hammer. I've never seen anything like it. He'll leave a large void there,” Gowin said.

Walker said it will be hard to see some of those cool old Jeeps, Studebakers and Internationals get flattened like a metal pancake and tossed onto a semi.

“But if I sell it to someone to restore, or he takes it and scraps it, what's the difference? I still get paid,” he said.

He favors old American-made cars himself, the ones still fully metal that weigh 3,700 pounds, compared to late model Chevy Impala that tips the scales at 2,000 pounds.

Boe, the buyer, said the crushed cars will be shipped all over to places like Tennessee and Denver, where they'll be shredded and shipped to mills to become metal beams and other products.

Boe said it won't take him long to crush the vehicles – two weeks maybe. “I've got a place to haul 'em. I just need the trucks.” He said he'll use some oil field back hauls to get the metal moved out.

He said scrap metal is still valuable, but not like it was a few years back when China was so heavy into the buy market, and labor and fuel costs eat into his bottom line. “It's big dollars. I take in a lot of money, but a lot goes out,” he said.

Boe said he'll leave the salvage yard looking good when he's done, and Walker says he'll finally get all of his Edsels in one area, instead of some here and some there on his 37 acres.

Walker doesn't get around as well as he used to, but he can still work hard and he plans to keep going on his own projects.

“I get up at 7 a.m. and work until 10 p.m. I can still do it, but I run out of gas,” he said.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-08-26-14 2001GMT

 

 

 

Last Updated on Friday, 29 August 2014 10:38
 

In Memorian: 'Dogtown' skateboarding legend Jay Adams, 53

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Written by JOHN ROGERS, Associated Press   
Monday, 18 August 2014 09:44
Pioneering American skateboarder and original member of the Z-Boys skateboarding team Jay Adams (1961-2014), photo taken circa 1976 in an empty swimming pool in Los Angeles, California. Creative Commons by ShareAlike 2.5, 2.0, 1.0, GFDL.

LOS ANGELES - Jay Adams, the colorful rebel who helped transform skateboarding from a simple street pastime into one of the world's most spectacular sports with hair-raising stunts and an outsized personality to match, has died at age 53.

Adams died of a heart attack Thursday during a surfing vacation in Mexico with his wife and friends, his manager, Susan Ferris, said Friday.

With his flowing, sun-bleached hair, explosive skating style and ebullient personality, Adams became one of the sport's most iconic figures during the years it moved from empty backyard swimming pools to international competition.

''He was like the original viral spore that created skateboarding,'' fellow skateboarder and documentary filmmaker Stacy Peralta told The Associated Press on Friday. ''He was it.''

But at the height of his fame in the early 1980s, Adams was convicted of felony assault, launching a string of prison stints over the next 24 years.

The member of the Skateboarding Hall of Fame, who had proudly been clean and sober for the past several years, blamed his troubles in part on the sport's early years, when seemingly any outrageous behavior was tolerated.

''We were wild and acting crazy and not being very positive role models,'' he told The New York Times shortly after being released from prison for the last time in 2008.

He had rocketed to fame while still a teenager as a founding member of the Zephyr Skate Team, a group of surfers turned skateboarders who came together in a rundown, dicey neighborhood known as Dogtown that straddles Los Angeles' Venice Beach and the city of Santa Monica.

Peralta, another member, would memorialize the group in his 2001 documentary ''Dogtown and Z-Boys.''

''Watching him when he was 14, 15, 16 was pure entertainment,'' the filmmaker recalled Friday. ''It was like watching energy itself evolve. You never knew what he was going to do, and no matter how great he was at something, he never repeated it.''

Although he wasn't technically the best skater out there, Peralta said, Adams' influence on the sport was as great as that of X Games gold medalist Tony Hawk.

Adams never became quite the household name Hawk is, perhaps in part because of his repeated brushes with the law.

When ''Dogtown and Z Boys'' premiered in 2001, he was in jail again, this time doing time on a drug charge.

About the time the 2005 feature film ''Lords of Dogtown'' would hit theaters, Adams, who was played by actor Emile Hirsch, was being busted for drugs again.

Upon his release, he vowed to stay out of trouble -- and he did.

Peralta said he last saw Adams at a dinner gathering about six weeks ago.

''He was the first person to show up at the dinner table, which was remarkable, and he was drinking hot tea, which was even more remarkable,'' he said. ''He had really turned a corner.''

Adams is survived by his wife, Tracy, and two children.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Pioneering American skateboarder and original member of the Z-Boys skateboarding team Jay Adams (1961-2014), photo taken circa 1976 in an empty swimming pool in Los Angeles, California. Creative Commons by ShareAlike 2.5, 2.0, 1.0, GFDL.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 16:43
 

MAD to showcase founder's impact on American craft culture

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Written by Museum PR   
Friday, 15 August 2014 16:14
Aileen Osborn Webb, founder of the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, now the Museum of Arts and Design. MAD image. NEW YORK – Featuring a range of objects created over the past 60 years, the exhibition “What Would Mrs. Webb Do? A Founder’s Vision” celebrates Aileen Osborn Webb, who established the Museum of Arts and Design, then the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, in 1956. On view from Sept. 23 through Feb. 8, 2015, the exhibition explores how Webb, through her advocacy work at MAD and other leading institutions across the country and internationally, championed the skilled maker as integral to America’s future.

"Aileen Osborn Webb was one of the great visionaries of the 20th century," said Glenn Adamson, MAD’s director. "Her progressive conception of how the world around us can be made more humanely, more responsibly, has never been more relevant. With this project, we want to remind people of this amazing woman’s many achievements, and show how the Museum today is carrying her mission forward."

With over 100 works encompassing glass, ceramics, wood, metalwork, and fiber, nearly all from the museum’s permanent collection, the exhibition pays tribute to Webb, while also illustrating the ongoing impact of her advocacy. Represented makers – all of whom directly benefitted from the support of Webb and others who shared her ideals – include Sam Maloof and Joris Laarman (furniture); Jack Lenor Larsen and Lia Cook (textiles); Peter Voulkos and Jun Kaneko (ceramics); Harvey Littleton and Judith Schaechter (glass); and John Prip and Myra Mimlitsch-Gray (metal). What Would Mrs. Webb Do? also explores the contributions of Nanette L. Laitman and the Windgate Foundation, two key proponents for skilled makers today.

“Modern makers owe a debt to Mrs. Webb, who created the first professional framework for craftspeople to meet, exchange ideas, and show their work,” says exhibition curator Jeannine Falino. “We are sharing some of the best pieces made during her tenure along with examples by artists today who continue to benefit from her progressive ideas.”

“What Would Mrs. Webb Do?” showcases the strength of the museum’s permanent collection. From groundbreaking works by early masters Wharton Esherick, Anni Albers, and John Paul Miller, to recent creations by Judith Schaechter, Hiroshi Suzuki, and Joris Laarman, visitors are presented with a breadth of achievements that Mrs. Webb first set in motion. The Museum of Arts and Design continues to uphold Webb’s commitment to creative, skilled entrepreneurs with projects like “NYC Makers: The MAD Biennial” (on view through Oct. 12).




ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Aileen Osborn Webb, founder of the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, now the Museum of Arts and Design. MAD image.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 August 2014 09:26
 
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