The last time I saw Bill Cunningham was at the Sesame Street Gala where instead of taking a selfie I took a picture of Bill Cunningham. Mr. Cunningham was a fashion photography who took to the streets of New York to make them as iconic as the runways and fashion magazines. One month after seeing this iconic legend I learned he passed on Saturday at 87. He had been hospitalized recently after having a stroke.
A designated a living landmark, the New York Landmarks Conservancy that made him a living landmark in 2009, Cunningham rode his bicycle through Midtown, he was normally dressed in a uniform of sorts, his blue French worker’s jacket, khaki pants, black sneakers and his 35-millimeter camera slung around his neck, ever at the ready for the next fashion statement to come around the corner. For almost 40 years he 40 worked for The New York Times. He was a creature of habits a man still living in another time.
In 2008, Mr. Cunningham went to Paris, where the French government bestowed him with the Legion of Honor. In New York, he was celebrated at Bergdorf Goodman, where a life-size mannequin of him was installed in the window.
In 2010, filmmaker Richard Press and Philip Gefter of The Times produced Bill Cunningham New York, a documentary about Cunningham. The film was released on March 16, 2011. It shows Cunningham traveling through Manhattan by bicycle and living in a tiny apartment in the Carnegie Hall building. The apartment has no closet, kitchen,TV or private bathroom,just filing cabinets and boxes of his photographs. The documentary also details his philosophy on fashion, art and photography, as well as observes his interactions with his subjects while taking photos. He ate breakfast at the Stage Star Deli on West 55th Street, where a cup of coffee and a sausage, egg and cheese cost under $3. He slept on a single-size cot and when he was asked why he spent years ripping up checks from magazines like Details, which he helped Annie Flanders launch he said: “Money’s the cheapest thing. Liberty and freedom is the most expensive.”
The Disney Revolt: The Great Labor War of Animation’s Golden Age
In the summer of 1941, Walt Disney’s top animator led hundreds of Disney artists out on strike, nearly breaking the studio. This is the true story of those two creative geniuses, plus a corrupt advisor and a mafia gangster, who collided to cause the greatest battle in Hollywood history.
An essential piece of Disney history has been unreported for eighty years.
Soon after the birth of Mickey Mouse, one animator raised the Disney Studio far beyond Walt’s expectations. That animator also led a union war that almost destroyed it. Art Babbitt animated for the Disney studio throughout the 1930s and through 1941, years in which he and Walt were jointly driven to elevate animation as an art form, up through Snow White, Pinocchio, and Fantasia.
But as America prepared for World War II, labor unions spread across Hollywood. Disney fought the unions while Babbitt embraced them. Soon, angry Disney cartoon characters graced picket signs as hundreds of animation artists went out on strike. Adding fuel to the fire was Willie Bioff, one of Al Capone’s wise guys who was seizing control of Hollywood workers and vied for the animators’ union.
Using never-before-seen research from previously lost records, including conversation transcriptions from within the studio walls, author and historian Jake S. Friedman reveals the details behind the labor dispute that changed animation and Hollywood forever.
Join a book talk with the author Jake S. Friedman on March 21 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm, at The Lambs, 3 West 51st, 5th floor. RSVP@The-Lambs.org. The book will be available to be purchased and signed by the author.
Jake S. Friedman is a New York–based writer, teacher, and artist. He is a longtime contributor to Animation Magazine, and has also written for American History Magazine, The Huffington Post, Animation World Network, Animation Mentor, and The Philadelphia Daily News. For ten years he was an animation artist for films and television as seen on Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, and Saturday Night Live. He currently teaches History of Animation at the Fashion Institute of Technology and at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. The rest of his time he specializes in mental health for the creative psyche.
April’s Midnight Moment A New Nature
Integrating gaming and surveillance aesthetics with both animations and footage of the Rocky Mountain region, Dorf collapses the barriers of what’s real in a way that echoes our digital consumption of the world. A mass of living tree roots is scanned and imposed over a simulated ocean; a mountain range is represented as a topographical blueprint. Even the filmed footage, captured at the field research station of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, is manipulated with compositing techniques and color treatment. As Dorf explains, “The more we create simulations of landscapes or nature, the more we expect nature to be and perform as the simulation that we’ve already made.”
This unique edit of the work was crafted specifically to mirror the brisk pacing of the plazas and billboards in Times Square. As the video progresses, the pace increases, emphasizing the influence of our technological lives on the way “Nature” is understood and perceived.
“The presentation of A New Nature in Times Square is an extension of the concepts in the work itself. Nestled within the endless motion and electrical currents flowing through the glowing canyons of Times Square, the moving images harmonize with their surroundings and enact their post-natural position.”
— Mark Dorf
April’s Midnight Moment is presented in partnership with Public Works Administration in conjunction with Dorf’s solo exhibition there from April 1–30, 2023, which includes the full length version of A New Nature.
Dorf would like to thank the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, and Dr. Paul CaraDonna and Dr. Amy Iler for their continued support in bringing together the arts and sciences.
Mark Dorf is a New York based artist whose practice utilizes photography, video, digital media, and sculpture. Often working directly with ecologists and technologists in the production of his works, Dorf is influenced by human’s perceptions of and interactions with what we call “Nature”, urbanism, design, and virtual environments. As opposed to seeing these subjects as categorically separate, Dorf reveals their entanglement and integration with one another as an inclusive and lively planetary ecology. Being both self-aware and critical of their own means of production, Dorf’s works craft a vision of an ecological future that navigates away from environmental collapse in the Anthropocene and imagine a “New Nature.”
Public Works Administration (“PWA”) is a digital art project space located in the 50th Street subway in Times Square. They spotlight underground artists who use digital tools to drive culture forward.
Death Is Not the End Opens March 17 At The Rubin Museum
Join on Friday, March 17, from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM to celebrate the opening of The Rubim Museum newest exhibition, Death Is Not the End. The cross-cultural exhibition explores ideas of death and afterlife in the art of Tibetan Buddhism and Christianity with artworks spanning 12 centuries from the Rubin Museum collection alongside artworks on loan from private collections and major institutions. Enjoy free admission, tours, music from DJ Roshni Samlal, drinks and dancing in the K2 lounge, temporary tattoos, and the launch of the 2023 Spiral issue, which explores moments of change that propel us into the unknown. Members will also receive two free drink tickets and access to the exclusive member section. Come explore what #LifeAfter means to you and toast the new exhibition! Reserve your free tickets today.
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