Thursday, October 22, 2015

Anna Pierrepont Series works from Green-Wood Cemetery featured on the blog of Green-Wood's Historian in Residence, Jeff Richman

Jeff Richman, the Historian of Green-Wood Cemetery has arranged a collection of drawings from the Anna Pierrepont Series in a blogpost entitled "Another Artist Inspired by Green-Wood', "

Followers of this blog will recognize the central role that Green-Wood plays in my process of picture making and in the creation of pictorial essays. The entire series is named for one of Green-Wood's permanent residents, Anna Marie Pierrepont.

In addition to the pictures, Jeff has also published excerpts from an essay that I authored that concerns my relationship with Green-Wood.

I am deeply honored by Green-Wood's acknowledgement of my practice. I also deeply appreciate Jeff's and by extension's Green-Wood's willingness to provide a platform for the Anna Pierrepont Series, this blog and also my most recent essay, 'Civic Virtue', that is currently published in Assisi, the Literary Journal of St. Francis College [provided by a link in Jeff's blog].

Sunday, October 4, 2015

KYSO Flash features 'Radio Towers' [from Northern New Jersey] and other of my acrylic paintings on canvas from the 1990

Thanks to the advocacy of Clare MacQueen, the force behind KYSO Flash and other publications, urban landscapes that I created in the 1990s have been given a platform.

Clare also provided access to a hundred of additional works by poets, essayists and other artists.

Please explore 'KYSO Flash',to discover images and/or texts that will 'Knock Your Socks Off!':

If you would like to view my works featured by Clare, click on this specific link:

These works and other from the series have been faithfully hosted by Electric Gallery for quite a while. You can view more of them at:

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Drawing of Brooklyn War Memorial featured as the cover for the Fall 2015 'Art Issue' of Red Savina Review

My work: Brooklyn War Memorial 5 from 2014 was featured as the cover image for Red Savina Review's Fall 2015 'Art Issue'. Although the work was featured so prominently, the Editor, Royce Grubic, commented about Brooklyn War Memorial 5, "nothing says art like a photo of a drawing of a sculpture—except maybe a mobile made from shrinky dinks, pot shards, used paint brushes, and pieces of quilts"

In honor of Royce's comments, I created a rectified readymade in his honor, modifying Marcel Duchamp's LHOOQ [she has a hot ass, elle a chaud au cul] with Royce's 'quip'

Saturday, August 22, 2015

My remarks at the 107th commemoration of the Battle of Brooklyn at Fort Greene Park's Prison Ship Martyrs Memorial, Brooklyn, August 22nd, 2015

Holly Fuchs, the Secretary of the Society of Old Brooklynites graciously invited me to lend some remarks to 107th annual ceremony commemorating the Prison Ship Martyrs Memorial and the Battle of Brooklyn. Over ten thousand Americans perished on British Prison ships moored in Wallabout Bay on the Brooklyn side of the East River. American prisoners languished in horrendous conditions for seven years in the fetid hulls of these prison ships. I include the text of my comments:

"I would like to thank Holly Fuchs of the Society of Old Brooklynites for inviting me to speak at the Prisoners' memorial commemoration for 2015's battle week. Holly spoke in March at the reception for my exhibition 'HMS Jersey' at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights, where I teach art. At St. Francis, I exhibited drawings of local public statuary in an exhibition entitled 'HMS Jersey', including one of this monument. The theme of the show and an accompanying pictorial essay, accessible from my blog, is the lack or neglect of monuments on the battlefields of Brooklyn, particularly to those who perished on the revolutionary war hell ship 'HMS Jersey'.

The Society of Old Brooklynites advocates for a change in this pattern. I am an artist not an advocate and as an artist, working on the Anna Pierrepont Series for five years, I have become increasingly interested in how art functions in the public square and its use as a vehicle for civic remembrance. Also coincidentally, how other things are buried, forgotten or ignored in this process and what these choices reveal about collective values.

The public square is the site upon which we declare who we are and what we consider important enough for permanent memory, in this case, the historical record contains this exhortation quoted in 'HMS Jersey':

“there ought to be raised a Colossal Column whose base sinking to Hell, should let the murderers [the British] read their infamy inscribed upon it; and whose capital of Corinthian laurel ascending to Heaven, should show the sainted Patriots that they have triumphed”

These words resulted in this column

Considering the remarks that I would make at this memorial, I remembered a line from my pictorial essay 'Erasure' that was published in the literary magazine 'Newfound: Art and Place in 2014. In the essay, I described my drawing of the Prison Ship Martyrs Memorial in the late fall of 2014. A link to 'Erasure' is also available at

I wrote that I made a drawing of this monument while "Skateboarders alternated between practicing tricks and hanging out at the base of the monument".

In 'HMS Jersey', I mention the odd coincidence that two skating rinks had been constructed over two major battlefields from the Battle of Brooklyn.

The young skateboarders practiced tricks on the stairs of the monument on that blustery day. I remember them careening down the stairs, attempting to maintain balance, but more often than not, falling to the ground to the amusement of their friends. They would spring up from their falls and like determined athletes grab their skateboards and try over and over again to successfully ride the steps to the bottom.

Today I form a mental image of entering the crypt below the skateboarders and plucking a random bone fragment from a pile of remains and using the techniques of modern forensics to confirm that it was from a youth of a similar age to that of the skateboarders.

This young man witnessed his youth disappear as he passed the hours of his short life within the dank, dark and squalid hulls of hellships like the HMS Jersey, before ultimately giving, what Lincoln so eloquently described as, 'the last full measure of devotion'. The skateboarders in 2014 experienced joys and freedoms denied this earlier youth and yet his suffering is the foundation of the skateboarders happiness. The latter's untroubled abandon would not have transpired without the suffering and sacrifice of the former. The earlier youth's sacrifice contributed to the establishment of the American nation that the skateboarders reap the benefits of.

As I watched these youths frolic and play, I was fairly certain that they did so with only a dim awareness of the remains beneath the wheels of their skateboards and do not see their lives as intersecting with those of an anonymous youngster who traded the pleasures of youth for self sacrifice. The skateboarders' ability to partake of life's bounty was a direct consequence of the young patriot's choice to forgo these pleasures and take upon himself unspeakable suffering before being cast from life's mortal coil.

This is the way of the world, we stroll, dance, romance, eat, sing and yes skateboard if we are fortunate enough to live in a world where the call to sacrifice is a dim echo. This commemoration is an attempt to attach, ever briefly, the bounty of the skateboarders to the sacrifice of the young patriot. What if, upon the day I made this drawing, the patriot youth had been floating above the monument, the skateboarders and I, he would probably have said to himself, thinking of his sacrifice, 'well done'.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Civic Virtue is published in Assisi: the Online Journal of Arts and Letters of St. Francis College edited by Dr. Wendy Galgan

For all of 2015, I have been writing and drawing for a major pictorial essay 'Civic Virtue' slated for publication along with other provocative essays, artworks and poetry in St. Francis College's literary journal, Assisi: the Online Journal of Arts and Letters edited by Dr. Wendy Galgan, Chair of St. Francis' English department. I teach Studio Arts and Arts Lecture at St. Francis.

Thanks to Dr. Galgan's efforts, Assisi is now available!

'Civic Virtue' primarily describes the amazing fate of 'The Triumph of Civic Virtue over Unrighteousness', a nearly one hundred year old sculpture by Frederick William MacMonnies that has, as a consequence of changing social mores, been subject to a version of 'Hot Potatoes' . 'Civic Virtue' can be accessed in a variety of ways, as a virtual magazine:

can be downloaded from Assisi's website:

and also from:


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Plein Air Appropriation - Revised artist statement

I have updated my artist statement:

Howard Skrill’s drawings of figurative public statuary in NYC and sometimes their absences, the Anna Pierrepont Series, explores the inconstancy of memory.

Howard rolls Whole Foods cart jammed with art supplies, a folding chair and a Bristol pad throughout NYC to document extant public monuments.

In 2014, the drawings were augmented with text that extends the project beyond the drawings themselves. Howard’s latest work, a pictorial monograph, Damnatio Memoriae, (the Damning of Memory), is a survey of the destruction or relocation of public monuments for political purposes that left their debris in the cemeteries, public plazas and museums of NYC.

The Anna Pierrepont Series, my drawings of public statuary in NYC, is plein air appropriation. Plein air drawings come into being through visual encounters with the constant changes of light and color in things ideally encountered out of doors. I roll a blue whole foods cart behind me jammed with a folding chair, pencils, oil and chalk pastels, oil sticks and a pad of paper through NYC. When I encounter a statue I wish to draw, I pull my chair out of the cart, unfold it, lay out my materials on the ground around me and struggle to represent the object emerging from the light and shadows of its surroundings onto a sheet of paper.

The drawings are appropriation because the subjects I invariably select are public monuments created by other artists. In 2014, I began to augment the drawings with pictorial essays that enable me extend the Anna Pierrepont Series beyond the plein air limitations of sight. The essays explore how the monuments come into being, their connection with their surroundings and their fate after installation. Links to some of these essays can be found on my blog

I have named the entire project after Anna Marie Pierrepont, a grand dame of 19th century Brooklyn interred in one of the most magnificent tombs in Greenwood Cemetery. I named the series after Anna, because I recognized in her strident efforts to maintain her memory, something of the hapless Ozymandias and his trunkless legs of stone in the vast desert of Shelley’s poem.

Catalyzed by the 2015 placement by renegade artists of a bust of Edward Snowdon in a park near my home and its subsequent removal by authorities and by the Charlie Hebdo murders, I started a book length pictorial monograph, Damnatio Memoriae (the Damning of Memory). Damnatio Memoriae is a survey of the deliberate destruction of public monuments for political reasons that has left its debris in the cemeteries, public plazas and museums of NYC.

I have also entered my work in the following slide registries, I commend these sites for their support of artists unfiltered by the demands of the market. They provide a great community service. As you look at my work in the registries, please explore the efforts of thousands of my colleagues []

Nutureart []

Bric []

White Columns []

I teach art lecture and studio practice at St, Francis College in Brooklyn Heights and Essex County College in Newark, NJ and live with my wife and one of my two adult sons.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Howard Skrill's essay HMS Jersey recited by Revolutionary War reenactor Mike Grillo on Youtube

Thanks to Richard Relkin and his crew at Media Relations at St. Francis College, Mike Grillo's recitation of my essay 'HMS Jersey' was videotaped at the reception for my show, 'HMS Jersey' in St. Francis College's Callahan center on April 6th, 2015. The video has been posted on Youtube. In addition to the my introduction of Mike's presentation, Holly Fuchs from the Society of Old Brooklynites and Professor Emeritus of St. Francis College, Alfred Kohler, discussed the fate of the Jersey and assisted in introducing Mike to the eighty people who attended the event. To view the youtube video, please click on the following link:

Friday, February 27, 2015

Exhibition of Howard Skrill's 'HMS Jersey' at St. Francis College's Callahan Center, March, 2015, Brooklyn Heights, NY

Please join us at an exhibition of my drawings from the Anna Pierrepont Series, on display at St. Francis College's Callahan Center, March 2015, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY.

Mike Grillo, who performs Revolutionary War Reenactments, will recite my essay 'HMS Jersey' at 6pm on Friday, March 6th, 2015.

Plying its deadly trade in Brooklyn Navy Yard's Wallabout Bay, the Jersey was a British Revolutionary War prison ship where American POWs were interred in miserable and deadly conditions during the extent of the Revolutionary War's seven years. Its pestilence ridden hulk, burned and gutted, remained in view for decades after the war's conclusion. Please pass the word around. The Jersey's tale should be told and Mike will tell it, as my drawings will survey its memory or lack thereof, in the public monuments that followed.

To read the companion essay, please cut and paste the following link in your browser:

I attach the ecard.