Friday, March 1, 2013


The first time I ever saw this quote it was on the cover of a little red and black book given to me in Havana by El Prof. in 2003. It detailed Fidel Castro's self- defense speech before the court in Santiago de Cuba on October 16, 1953, after his arrest for leading the attack on the Moncada barracks on July 26, 1953- the opening volley of the Cuban Revolution. The young lawyer blasts his accusers, laying the ground work for what would become the 26th of July Revolutionary movement and eventual armed take over of the Batista government and set up of modern day "Communist" Cuba. Did history absolve Fidel? I think the jury's still out.
   The next time I spotted the quote I was hundreds of pages deep in William L. Shirer's 1500 page history of Nazi Germany- THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH. A quote from Hitler's MEIN KAMPF (My Struggle) AH, in all his meglomania leaves it to history. Again taken from a court trial, Hitler quotes himself as telling his accusers this, after his arrest in the BEER HALL PUTSCH. The thousand year reich lasted 12 years and four months in all its horror. I think the jury is in on this one. No absolution forthcoming.

I mention both of these examples because of my recent obsession in the seemingly false history of who exactly "discovered" the North Pole. A chance meeting with a man from whom I purchased a group of paintings put me on this trail. I've always been an artist who revels in chance and coincidence in my work. It can come from an angle. All you have to be is open to it. Duchamp validated this approach for all of us by not repairing his LARGE GLASS, after it cracked. "It's now complete." he supposedly declared, leaving it be. Damn. That's a relief.
   So once I learned the name of Dr. Frederick A. Cook I set about digging into his story. Before I knew it I was traveling every other day to The Sullivan Co. Historical Society and buying books online. I just finished Bruce Henderson's TRUE NORTH. Anyone who comes away from reading this book, not screaming at the heavens for Cook's absolution by history is just not paying attention. A series of bizarre events upon Cook's return from the pole, along with a character assassination, smear campaign by his former friend and co-polar explorer Robert Perry leaves the reader gasping for his frozen breath. If you remember anything from elementary school you remember the name Admiral Perry in connection with the North Pole. Cook is a footnote- if that. Well, I'm here to tell you this is about to change....if I have anything to say about it. Funny thing about's still going on.    


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