Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

Goodnight Bush - No More Tricks

We were at Kepler's Bookstore this weekend and had a good laugh while reading Erich Origen and Gan Golan's politically inspired parody of the children's classic Goodnight Bush.

“Goodnight earth? Goodnight heir? Goodnight failures everywhere.”

In this month of graduation speeches and thoughts of the road ahead, one future date stands out: 1/20/09.
On his recent tour Bruce Springsteen has been playing the haunting title track off his new album Magic. The song is like a nightmare - the nightmare of the last eight years. Good news is at hand though, " the coming end of the worst presidency ever."

I got a coin in my palm
I can make it disappear
I got a card up my sleeve
Name it and I'll pull it out your ear
I got a rabbit in my hat
If you want to come and see
This is what will be, this is what will be

I got shackles on my wrist
Soon I'll slip 'em and be gone
Chain me in a box in the river
And I'll rise singin' this song
Trust none of what you hear
And less of what you see
This is what will be, this is what will be

I got a shiny saw blade
All I needs' a volunteer
I'll cut you in half
While you're smiling ear to ear
And the freedom that you sought's
Driftin' like a ghost amongst the trees
This is what will be, this is what will be

Now there's a fire down below
But it's comin' up here
So leave everything you know
And carry only what you fear
On the road the sun is sinkin' low
There's bodies hangin' in the trees
This is what will be, this is what will be

Copyright © 2007 Bruce Springsteen (ASCAP)

More at:
Goodnight Bush
New York Times on Goodnight Bush

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day: Remembering Dads and Tim Russert

Politics and art are in my blood. I went to High School in Northern Virginia where the human side of government is as much a part of daily existence as a morning coffee (espresso in my case). Meet the Press on Sunday mornings was a topic of discussion throughout the week. My dad did his best to stay out of the press while others embraced the glare. I stood on the sidelines watching and making images - much as I do now.

On television it seemed that Tim Russert was happiest when he was in the thick of it. And Tim was happiest when he honored his father and his fatherhood.
On this father's day my son Cassiel is here with me as I write. And my father is in the thick of it in Africa. We send our best to Bob Chadwick, my brother Kent Chadwick, my father in law Ralph Heilemann, my brothers in law Paul Heilemann and Tom Bavlnka as well as my artistic comrades in arms Alan Caudillo, Sergio Arau, Gerard Bourgeois, Phil Cousineau, RB Morris, Sheldon Greenberg, Mikkel Aaland, Grady Harp, Rob Lee, Jay Zabriskie, Steve Joseph, Mitch Friedman, and especially on this day to Tim Russert's family. Godspeed!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

“The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.”

- wall art by Banksy

“The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.”
- Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, United States Supreme Court

Foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba have constitutional rights to challenge their detention by seeking appeal in United States courts, the Supreme Court ruled today.

Guantánamo Bay
photo by Todd Heisler/The New York Times

The New York Times reports:

"Anthony Coley, a spokesman for Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, said: “When Congress passed the Military Commissions Act in 2006, Senator Kennedy called the act ‘fatally flawed’ and said ‘its evisceration of the writ of habeas corpus for all noncitizens is almost surely unconstitutional.’ Today, the Supreme Court agreed, and rejected the Bush administration’s blatant attempt to create a legal black hole beyond the reach of the rule of law.”

Complete text of the Supreme Court decision on Guantánamo at:



Montford Point Marines: Make Us Proud

a documentary by Kevin R. Wright USMC

"Approximately 20,000 African American recruits received training at Montford Point Camp (less than 10% of the Marine Corps end strength) during World War II. The initial intent of the Marine Corps hierarchy was to discharge these African American Marines after the War, returning them to civilian life - leaving the Marine Corps an all-white organization. Attitudes changed and reality took hold as the war progressed. Once given the chance to prove themselves, it became impossible to deny the fact that this new breed of Marine was just as capable as all other Marines regardless of race, color, creed or National origin."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

一番 あたらしい画集 PASSPORTS FROM THE REALM を プレゼントしてくださいました

Nice words from Japan:

"We hope that his exhibition would be held here in Japan someday, really."

Me too...

Thanks minestronek at lolalways.exblog.jp

Roy Lichtenstein exhibit at the Gagosian Gallery

Roy Lichtenstein
Photo: Estate of Roy Lichtenstein, courtesy of Gagosian Gallery

In the New York Times, Roberta Smith has a nice piece on the Roy Lichtenstein exhibit at the Gagosian Gallery in New York:

"This show makes especially clear how Lichtenstein’s work functions as a kind of primer in looking at and understanding the grand fiction of painting: the thought it requires, its mechanics, its final simplicity and strangeness. These great paintings convey all this in a flash of pleasure, compounded by the thrill of understanding."

Roy Lichtenstein
Girl at Piano
Photo: Estate of Roy Lichtenstein, courtesy of Gagosian Gallery

Coming Up: Opening at Gagosian in Beverly Hills on June 14, 2008 is Denise de la Rue's photo exhibition - Matador.

More at:
New York Times on Lichtenstein: Girls
Lichtenstein at Gagosian

Sunday, June 08, 2008

"Not Everything was John Wayne, Baby": Black Marines on Iwo Jima

by Gregg Chadwick

Update: Montford Point Marines: Make Us Proud

Black Marines pose with one of the Army DUKW amphibious trucks used to bring cargo ashore and carry away the wounded for medical treatment to ships offshore. National Archives Photo 127-GW-334-114329

Spike Lee and Clint Eastwood got into a verbal dust-up at Cannes. Spike criticized Clint for not featuring any black troops in his recent World War II pictures:
Flags Of Our Fathers, which weaves together the stories of the marines who raised the flag over Iwo Jima in Joe Rosenthal's iconic photograph, and Letters From Iwo Jima, which focuses on the Japanese soldiers who fought to the death on the bitter island.

Though black Marines were not on Mount Suribachi when the flags were raised, they were caught in the thick of the battle as the official Marine Corps accounts of the assault on Iwo Jima make clear. Passages below are quoted from the USMC history of African-American marines during World War II written by Bernard C. Nalty:

"Black combat support units also took part in the assault on Iwo Jima, where, as at Peleliu, their presence confounded the policy of segregation. Because of the random intermingling of white and black units, an African-American Marine, carrying a box of supplies, dived into a shell hole occupied by white Marines, one of whom gave him a cigarette before he scrambled out with his load and ran forward. Here, too, black stewards and members of the depot and ammunition companies came to the aid of the wounded. A white Marine, Robert F. Graf, who lay in a tent awaiting evacuation for further medical treatment, remembered that: "Two black Marines . . . ever so gently . . . placed me on a stretcher and carried me outside to a waiting DUKW."
Alex Horton in the Los Angeles Times writes that "the Army’s 476th Amphibian Truck Company, an African American unit, powered through the water to land DUKWs on the volcanic sand beach of Iwo Jima in February 1945. They were tasked with bringing artillery pieces ashore. The beach was littered with bodies and destroyed vehicles as the 476th inched through enemy terrain to deliver their guns to Marine Corps artillerymen. The guns began firing by the evening, according to an Army history. More than half of the 48 vehicles were sunk or destroyed."

"PFCs Willie J. Kanady, Eugene F. Hill, and Joe Alexander of the 34th Depot Company relax during a lull in the action on Iwo Jima, where danger persisted even after the island was declared secure. Before they left Iwo, the company would become engaged when the Japanese mounted a banzai charge against Marines and soldiers." Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 113835

"At Iwo Jima, the 8th Marine Ammunition Company and the 33d, 34th, and 36th Marine Depot Companies served as part of the shore party of the V Amphibious Corps. Elements of the ammunition company and the 36th Depot Company landed on D-Day, 19 February 1945, and within three days all the units were ashore, braving Japanese fire as they struggled in the volcanic sand to unload and stockpile ammunition and other supplies, and move the cargo inland. Eleven black enlisted Marines and one of the white officers were wounded, two of the enlisted men fatally."

The first flagraising atop Mount Suribachi, February 23, 1945. photo by Staff Sergeant Louis R. Lowery

"On the early morning of 26 March, 10 days after Iwo Jima was declared secure, the Japanese made a final attack that penetrated to the rear area units near Iwo Jima's western beaches, including the 8th Ammunition and 36th Marine Depot Companies. The black Marines helped stop the enemy in a confused struggle during darkness and mop up the survivors at daybreak. Two members of the 36th Company — Privates James M. Whitlock and James Davis — earned the Bronze Star for "heroic achievement." One Marine from the depot company and another from the ammunition company were fatally wounded, but four others, two from each unit, survived their wounds. The African-American companies that fought at Iwo Jima shared in the Navy Unit Citation awarded the support units of V Amphibious Corps."

The second flagraising atop Mount Suribachi, February 23, 1945.
16 mm color film, by Marine Sgt. Bill Genaust.

Obviously, a film is the vision of the director. In the case of Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima, Clint Eastwood begins by focusing on the group of Marines who were immortalized in Rosenthal's photo of the second flagraising on Suribachi. But in the second film, Eastwood pulls the camera back for a wide shot to include the Japanese viewpoint. By broadening his range, but not including other elements of the USMC experience, Eastwood leaves himself open to fair criticism. Artists all make choices, but those choices are then open to discussion - Why this story and not that story? Why this character and not that one?

Spike Lee feels that Clint left out an important part of the story that continues to resonate in our current American existence. "Clint Eastwood is a great film maker and I respect his work, and he did two films about Iwo Jima back to back, and there was not one black soldier in both of those films," Lee said.

Spike is making a point here about emphasis when he fails to credit Clint for the inclusion of black characters on board ship before the invasion. Once the fighting starts the black faces disappear from the film.

Lee continues, "Add the running times of both films, that's about four hours. ... Many veterans, African-Americans who survived that war are upset at Clint Eastwood for not even having one, but Clint Eastwood is a great director and that was his vision. His vision of Iwo Jima: Negro soldiers did not exist. Simple as that you know. I have a different version."

"There were African-Americans on Iwo Jima", Eastwood admitted in an interview with the Guardian, "but they didn't raise the flag. The story is 'Flags of Our Fathers,' the famous flag-raising picture, and they didn't do that. If I go ahead and put an African-American actor in there, people'd go, 'This guy's lost his mind.' I mean, it's not accurate. ... I'm not in that game. I'm playing it the way I read it historically, and that's the way it is. When I do a picture and it's 90 percent black, like 'Bird,' I use 90 percent black people."

Spike Lee's response, "If Clint wishes, I could assemble African-American men who fought at Iwo Jima, and I'd like him to tell these guys that what they did was insignificant and they did not exist," he said.

Eastwood's final comment was out of character:"A guy like him should shut his face," Eastwood told the Guardian. "Has he ever studied the history?"

Spike Lee in an interview with ABC News retorted, "I'm not making this up. I know history. I'm a student of history. And I know the history of Hollywood and its omission of the one million African-American men and women who contributed to World War II. Not everything was John Wayne, baby."

"Clint Eastwood is a great director. He makes his films, I make my films. The thing about it though, I didn't personally attack him. And a comment like, 'A guy like that should shut his face' -- come on Clint, come on. He sounds like an angry old man right there. Even though he's trying to have a Dirty Harry flashback, I'm going to take the Obama high road and end it right here. Peace and love."

Upon the release of Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Father's, Dan Glaister, the Guardian's Los Angeles correspondent, wrote an article critiquing Clint's omission of black Marines in the film. Glaister writes:
"The people carrying the ammunition were 90% black, so that's an opportunity to show black soldiers. These are our films and very often they become our history, historical documents." Yvonne Latty, a New York University professor and author of We Were There: Voices of African-American Veterans (2004), wrote to Eastwood and the film's producers pleading with them to include the experience of black soldiers. HarperCollins, the book's publishers, sent the director a copy, but never heard back."

"It would take only a couple of extras and everyone would be happy," Yvonne Latty said. "No one's asking for them to be the stars of the movies, but at least show that they were there. This is the way a new generation will think about Iwo Jima. Once again it will be that African-American people did not serve, that we were absent. It's a lie."

Glaister ends his article with telling words, "The first chapter to James Bradley's book Flags of Our Fathers, which forms the basis of the movie, opens with a quotation from president Harry Truman. "The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know." It would provide a fitting endnote to Eastwood's film."

The history we don't yet know will create films and novels for the future. Let me start with an image: Black Marines struggling with ammo boxes under intense Japanese fire, diving into foxholes, sharing a brief cigarette with their white comrades in the Corps, and then moving up the line with bullets and grenades. Only to be ignored as Invisible Men by the war correspondents and the press corps as the battle is recounted.

Spike Lee in Los Angeles
photo by Gregg Chadwick

Spike Lee will tell a bit more about the African-American experience in World War II with his upcoming film, Miracle at St. Anna , which focuses on four black US soldiers who get trapped in an Italian village.

Clint Eastwood's next film will be The Human Factor, starring Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela in a tale about how Mandela used a campaign to have South Africa host the 1995 Rugby World Cup as a chance to unite his country.

More at:
Black Marines in WWII
Absent from history: the black Marines at Iwo Jima
Spike Lee Interview with ABC News
Clint Eastwood in the Guardian
One Version of History
We Were There: Voices of African-American Veterans

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Band James Visits My Studio

The members of the UK band James laugh as lead singer Tim Booth answers a question.

The band was set up for an interview in my studio complex just outside my studio door in Santa Monica.

It was an interesting day of painting with Tim Booth's quiet, lilting voice filtering into my workspace. Tim Booth expressed that James has unfinished business in the US and are hoping to tour here in the near future.

James had just finished a session with Nic Harcourt at KCRW before they stopped by. The complete KCRW session below:

website: wearejames.com

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Final Salute

The New York Times has a powerful mix of words and images in Janet Maslin's article on Jim Sheeler's new book Final Salute. Jim Sheeler's book is based on a 2006 Pulitzer Prize winning series of articles that he wrote for The Rocky Mountain News. I have posted a brief selection of quotes and photos below:

"When 2nd Lt. James Cathey's body arrived at the Reno Airport, Marines climbed into the cargo hold of the plane and draped the flag over his casket as passengers watched the family gather on the tarmac. During the arrival of another Marine's casket at Denver International Airport, Major Steve Beck described the scene as one of the most powerful in the process: "See the people in the windows? They'll sit right there in the plane, watching those Marines. You gotta wonder what's going through their minds, knowing that they're on the plane that brought him home," he said. "They're going to remember being on that plane for the rest of their lives. They're going to remember bringing that Marine home. And they should."
Photo: Todd Heisler/Rocky Mountain News

"Before the burial of James Cathey's body, his casket was covered with the white gloves of the Marines who carried him, along with sand they brought from the beaches of Iwo Jima, and a single red rose."
Photo: Todd Heisler/Rocky Mountain News

"Major Steve Beck and another Marine approach the family home of 2nd Lt. James Cathey, preparing to escort the Catheys to the airport to receive their son's body. Five days earlier, the shadows of Casualty Assistance Call Officers followed the same path, carrying the news no military family ever wants to hear. The gold star flag in the window signifies the death of a loved one overseas."
Photo: Todd Heisler/Rocky Mountain News

The complete story is at:
Books of the Times:
Bearing Witness to the Fallen and the Grieving

Final Salute