Monday, November 4, 2013


History is a funny thing. Growing up in the post-war 50's, my youth was spent battling imaginary enemies in the fields and woodlots of upstate NY. Invading hordes of Indians, Japs and Nazis were kept at bay with cap guns, sling shots and dirt clods. Before you knew it, time had passed and you were carrying a real .22, stalking woodchucks and visualizing what it would be like to be trudging through the jungles of Vietnam, fighting our newest enemy- Charlie. Thankfully, by the time I was of draft age I'd left these childhood killer fantasies behind and got my II-S deferment, avoiding military service by staying in college until the draft ended in the early 70's. I haven't killed any Nazis in years. The War is over....if you want it to be.

    Over time I've met, and worked with, plenty of our past enemies- Japanese, Vietnamese, Germans, Koreans, Afghans, Indians and Iraqis. I like them all, but I have to say, I like the Germans the best. How was it possible that this society wrecked such havoc on humanity so recently in history? They all seem so civilized. Every time I meet a new German I'm surprised how much I like them. A case in point is the other night when, out of the blue, Mystery Girl called to say she was coming upstate with her boyfriend Horst's brother Jolly and his girlfriend Bessie. So happens Jolly is a famous movie director who was in NYC to premier his new movie on Princess Di. We all gathered at Shewho's for a great evening of eating and drinking. Like Horst, Jolly is smart, engaging and as charming a man as you'd ever want to meet. He now joins Hans, Stefan, TYZ, Udo, Bruno, Mooner and Horst, as a German friend.

This morning the news featured a story on the son of a Munich art dealer who had, in his filthy apartment, a stash of WWII era stolen "degenerate" art. Canvases by Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Ensor and many others, worth over a billion euros, were "discovered" in the hoarder's pad. Most, if not all, of this art was stolen from Jewish collectors and  even though this all was known by authorities months, if not years ago, it only now has come to light in the media. Why have these not been returned to the rightful owners of the works? Answer: The Art Nazis.
   The art world (museums, dealers, collectors) are as secretive and nefarious a bunch as any golf outing of Gestapo high command. Suitcases of cash and Swiss wire transfers are the norm in this world. Canvases lifted off the wall of Jewish apartments, as the inhabitants were trucked off to the gas chambers, remain as witness. To even engage in a debate over what should be done with this art is disgusting. Many have firm provenance showing when, where and by whom these pieces were purloined. As a kid, I can remember the tattooed numbers on the arm of the woman serving me a hamburger in the local deli. This is what influenced my blood print work. Very soon there will be no more of those tattoos. Why do I like the Germans? I don't really know. Maybe the war isn't quite over. Wait.....who is that coming across the field? I hear the word "Art" and I reach for my gun.                


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