Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Anna Pierrepont Series profiled on Belle Ombre

Belle Ombre is one of the most beautiful art and literature websites I have ever encountered and I am utterly floored by how beautifully the editors presented various recent paintings and drawings (mostly paintings) from the Anna Pierrepont Series. I am truly grateful for the editors' hard work and for providing the project such a fantastic platform.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

My testimony at a public hearing of the NYC Monuments Commission held in Lower Manhattan on 11-22-17

Over one hundred individuals testified for over four hours about the fate of public monuments that, at the behest of the mayor of the City of New York, Bill De Blasio, are being reviewed by a commission established by the mayor, may be relocated or augmented with clarifying contextualization due the offensive nature of the individual being commemorated. The audience urged the removal from Central Park of a statue of J. Marion Sims who operated without anesthesia on slaves in order to find a surgical treatment for fistulas, in addition to an Equestrian statue of Theodore Roosevelt from the Museum of Natural History's Central Park West entrance.

It is remarkable that in four hours of testimony on the subject of iconoclasm, only the moderator the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, Tom Finkelpearl at the beginning and I at the end referenced actual removals in New York City. Finkelpearl mentioned Civic Virtue

and I discussed Tilted Arc [this is the empty plaza across from where I testified that was once the home to Tilted Arc.

My name is Howard Skrill, I am an artist/educator and my work consists of plein air drawings and paintings of public statuary throughout New York City for my art project, the Anna Pierrepont Series. The images are then combined with words into pictorial essays that explore the erasure of public and private memory including historical and contemporary iconoclasm as with the removals of bronze portrait busts of Robert E. Lee created by George T. Brewster and Thomas Stonewall Jackson created by Bryant Baker overnight from the Hall of Fame for Great Americans on the campus of Bronx Community College in response to the murderous violence of Charlottesville and the equivocation of politicians on the federal level.

I want to transport you back to March 7th, 1985 to an ornate hearing room in a building that can be seen from the windows of this building. I remember myself as an undergraduate art student at a suburban public college, leaning over a banister and observing over a hundred and twenty people testifying in support of the artist Richard Serra and his massive Cor-ten steel sculpture Tilted Arc that was targeted for removal from a public plaza in front of the International Trade Court across from Foley Square just across the street from here.

I and my fellow students were transported by our faculty in order to show support for Serra who many in our community believed was being persecuted by the federal government that insisted, ultimately successfully, for the work's relocation which turned out to be its destruction.

Many rushed to the barricades that day to stand in Serra’s defense. Over one hundred people, representing the elite of the New York art world spoke against the removal with some arguing that artists and artworks needed protection against political forces from the other side of the barricade that would target artists to achieve political aims.

It is fair to ask this committee whether Tilted Arc’s defenders are fulfilling the perhaps dangerous precedent established in the Tilted Arc trial by manning the opposite side of the barricade that its detractors once occupied.

I only ask this to illuminate that battles over public monuments coincide with the rise and fall of political factions. Many of us believed that the treatment of Serra violated his rights as an artist. It is fair therefore to ask if the very act of monument removal impinges the very rights we championed for Serra. If we set aside the principle we fought so strenuously to preserve when we were in the opposition, we may wish, if the political winds shift again, that we had held more tightly them now that we are the arbiters of the fates of these monuments instead of sacrificing them to expediency.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Works from the Anna Pierrepont Series in a group exhibition entitled 'Monu-Moment' at Park Slope's Chocolateria

I am thrilled and deeply honored to be showing with Bob Hagan, Rich Garr, Cynthia Ruse and Sherry Davis at Chocolateria

228 7th Ave/Brooklyn, NY 11215/b/t 4th St & 3rd St/Park Slope

for the Park Slope Windsor Terrace Artist Group's Open Studios on Saturday, 11-18 and Sunday, 11-19 from 12-6.

with the works remaining on display after the conclusion of the Open Studios.

The proprietor of Chocolateria, working with Rich Garr who spearheaded our exhibition, has graciously offered her wonderful coffee bar for our exhibition and reception.

The Open Studios were featured in an article of things to do for the weekend of Nov. 18-19 in the New York Times authored by Jonathan Wolfe!®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

A celebration of the exhibition at Chocolateria and the other sites of the Open Studios will be held from 8-10 at Chocolateria on Friday, 11-17.

Many of the artists of the Park Slope Windsor Terrace Group, particularly Joy Makon, Nancy Doniger (our President), Rich Garr, Bob Hagan and others have volunteered tirelessly to make the Open Studios a success. I owe a debt of gratitude to the extraordinary artists that are also my friends and colleagues.

Given the topical nature of the exhibition and my choice to include contested statuary in it after exhibiting works specifically targeted for iconoclastic attacks 'Heads have Rolled' at the Boathouse Show for the Gowanus Open Studios in October 2017, I reorganized my pictorial essay on public statuary and liminal that appeared in the Columbia Journal for Monu-Moment

I attach a link in Google Drive of the reformatted version of the essay

Monday, October 23, 2017

HMS Jersey published in the Fall 2017 issue of War, Literature and the Arts

My pictorial essay 'HMS Jersey: Absences and Memory from the Battlefields of Brooklyn' with the initial image by my wife Mary Cuddihee Skrill has been published in the fall 2017 issue of War, Literature and the Arts. In honor of its publication, I include Mary's drawing from the Williamsburg Bridge in 2015 of where the HMS Jersey was docked in Wallabout Bay in Brooklyn for seven long years of the Revolutionary War when Great Britain occupied NYC and my 2017 painting of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn where some of the Prison Ship Martyrs who perished on the Jersey were interred.

Heads have rolled!

I would like to thank all of those who organized the Gowanus Open Studios for hosting a wonderful weekend of art on a weekend of glorious weather!

particularly Gowanus' Abby Subak and Amy Williams who worked tirelessly on organizing the event

Julie Mashack who interviewed me for the Gowanus Facebook page

the folks at 313 Butler street who hosted the silent auction

Owen of the Gowanus Dredgers who lent us his space on the Gowanus Canal for our exhibition

the artists who showed along with me from the Park Slope Winsor Terrace Artist Group, particularly Alise Loebelsohn who spearheaded our exhibition and Nancy Doniger, the president of our artist group.

And of course all of the visitors who listened to my tales of the 'Heads that have Rolled' and offered kind words and support for my own and my colleagues' work.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

'Heads Have Rolled'! on display in the Arts Gowanus Boathouse Show (on 2nd street on the West side of the Gowanus AND for two weekends-Oct. 14-15/Oct. 21-22 from 12-6)

'Heads Have Rolled'! Damning Memory in the Ages of Thutmose III, Claudius the Great, Robespierre, Obama and the Pied Piper of American Decline is on display at Gowanus Open Studios.

I am thrilled to be showing with my colleagues from the Park Slope Windsor Terrace Artist Group at the Dredgers Boathouse on the Gowanus.

I will be exhibiting my drawings of portrait busts that have been the target of damnatio memoriae (the damning of memory) during the previous 3500 years from the depths of antiquity to the summer of 2017.

Each work is a drawing of the likeness of the damned figure

Our exhibition will run for two weekends, 10-14-15/10-21-22 from 12-6.

Please visit the Boathouse and the wonderful artists whose work will also be on display at the Gowanus Open Studio, a celebration of the art made in our community

The Anna Pierrepont Series and Teetering's publication in Charlottesville's Streetlight featured in Gowanus Open Studio Facebook page

Thanks to Julie Mashack and Chris from the Arts Gowanus team for featuring the latest iteration of the Anna Pierrepont Series on the Arts Gowanus facebook page

Additional thanks to Amy Williams, Abby Subak and the entire Arts Gowanus team for their tireless arts advocacy!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

My drawing of the Appellate Division published in Riggwelter

Thank you to Amy Kinsman of Riggwelter for publishing my picture of the Appellate Division in the second issue of the magazine in October 2017

The drawing from 2015 was placed with a poem about real estate agents and garden apartments by Gill McAvoy..ponds, swings, apple trees. but this is NYC...sigh

Monday, August 28, 2017

Teetering published on the Blog of Charlottesville's Streetlight

Bust of Robert E. Lee installed in the Hall of Fame for Great Americans on the campus of Bronx Community College in 1900, removed in August 2017 as a reaction to the violence in Charlottesville.

The last bust added to the Hall was Franklin Roosevelt in 1973.

Great Americans from

Jackie Robinson to
John F. Kennedy to
Albert Eistein to
Judy Garland (who played Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz and was promised a bust in the Hall of Fame for killing the Wicked Witch)

are not represented with likenesses in the Hall. The last substantative change was the removal of Lee's bust and that of Stonewall Jackson.

In Spring 2017, I submitted ‘Teetering’ to Streetlight, a wonderful arts and literary publication in Charlottesville, Virginia. I included images from the Anna Pierrepont Series [] of figures standing precariously on tall columns and cupolas.

Teetering asked viewers to imagine the figures way up high teetering as a consequence of political upheaval.

Teetering is now live on Streetlight’s blog

Elizabeth Howard, the Arts Editor of Streetlight, suggested that ‘Teetering’ should directly address the pending removal of an equestrian statue of Robert E. Lee that sits in Emancipation Park in Charlottesville.

Then a mob gathered in Charlottesville in ‘defense’ of the monument. Three people died as a consequence including the murder of an innocent person.

Shortly thereafter, teetering statues of Lee and many others nationwide began to topple.

Despite their community reeling from the violence, Elizabeth and her fellow editors of Streetlight worked with me to have Teetering provide a context for the events besieging their community and it is to that community that Teetering’ is dedicated.

For more information on the works included in Teetering, I have created a collection


on Saatchi Art

Thank you

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Headless Firmin added to Saatchi Arts

This 2017 drawing of a medieval statue of St. Firmin is now available.

St. Firmin is wooden statue of a decapitated medieval catholic martryr that is on display at the Met.

As stated in the Met's description

'Saint Firmin was a fourth-century missionary who became the first bishop of Amiens and the patron saint of that city.'

and that as a consequence of popular violence during the French Revolution

[the statue comes into the Met's collection] from 'the destroyed bishop’s palace at Amiens'

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Works from the Anna Pierrepont Series on sale on Saatchi Art

Works that are incorporated in the lectures, pictorial essays and exhibitions associated with the Anna Pierrepont Series are now on sale at Saatchi Art. Please consider supporting the project by purchasing a drawing or painting from Saatchi Arts featured in the Blog and other publications.

The works will be delivered ready to display...they are visually striking, created on site so each is completely unique and are images of public statues are often central to remarkable narratives about the fate of artworks placed in public places.

Saatchi Arts also enables purchase of print versions of the artworks at a lower price point than originals.

I thank you for your continued interest in the Anna Pierrepont Series and also acknowledge the nearly five thousand visits to the blog since it was launched.

This is the link to the Anna Pierrepont Series on Saatchi Art


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Speaking through the City: The Eviction(s) of the Triumph of Civic Virtue over Unrighteousness presented to the Society of Old Brooklynites, Boro Hall, Brooklyn on June 6th, 2017

On Tuesday, June 6th, 2017 in a posh conference room at Brooklyn Boro Hall, I told the tale of the double evictions (in drawings, paintings and words) of Frederick William MacMoines' notorious statue 'the Triumph of Civic Virtue over Unrighteousness' that was installed and then evicted from City Hall Park in Manhattan and packed off to far off Kew Gardens, Queens before being evicted a second time to Green-Wood cemetery near my home in December 2012.

I used the evictions(s) to illuminate current contests embroiling the installation of 'Fearless Girl' in the Battery in Manhattan and removal of confederate monuments in New Orleans during the early days of the reign of the Pied Piper of American Decline.

The presentation was given to the Society of Old Brooklynites and I thank them for this platform and for their engaged response to my talk. I attach a link to the pdf of the remarks and images that also frame the eviction(s) in the scholarship of Public Art Historian Rosalind Deutsche

Friday, April 7, 2017

Five of my drawings from Green-Wood Cemetery are published in the April 2017 issue of the Grief Diaries

Please visit the online publication 'The Grief Diaries: A Magazine of Art & Writing about Loss'. The folks at the Grief Diaries have dedicated their magazine to art and writing that meditate on grief and loss. I submitted my drawings from the cemetery of monuments that affirm life: Lawson, Wood, Frankie, Our Drummer Boy from the Civil War, but also of a heartbreaking image of an infant laying upon a cold tomb in a forested glen.

My drawing of Edward Snowdon was published in the March issue of UK's Average Art

My drawing of Edward Snowdon has been published in the March 2017 issue of UK's Average Art [ - available only as hardcopy]. In honor of the publication, I have uploaded an excerpt of my first chapter on the Snowdon bust saga from my monograph [pending publication] of Damnatio Memoriae, enjoy!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Hall of Fame for Great Americans [Restoration Edition] exhibited in Brookline, Ma, April thru June 2017 [and in commemoration of Yom HaShoah 4-23 - 4/24, 2017]

The Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis is exhibiting my picture of Daniel Webster from the Hall of Fame for Great Americans until June, 2017. The work was featured in an exhibition, curated by Wendy Forrester, entitled 'Picturing Social Justice and Human Rights'. The exhibition was organized to celebrate the school opening a new program incorporating Social Justice into their portfolio.

I thank Wendy and the staff of the school for enabling me to realize the project and commend them on a beautifully organized exhibition of over seventy works translating the idea of 'Social Justice and Human Rights' in visual form, thus shining the light of resistance into this increasingly troubled age. Those of us who create and exhibit art are morally bound to use our practices to ensure that the darkness that is encroaching upon our nation and world is vanquished and does not consume us as it did our world [and the lives of my ancestors] during the darkest days of the Twentieth century.

At the reception that took place on March 31st, 2017 I requested that those attending paste silhouettes of individuals who I have read in newspapers have been made afraid, deported, detained, denied visas as a consequence of the actions of the new regime directly upon my image of Webster from the hall.

The attendees added the names with reverential care and permitted Mary and I to document them doing so.

This is how the drawing of the head from the Hall of Fame for Great Americans [11" x 14", pastel on paper from 2013] looked before dozens of people had added images to the surface.

On Saturday, when we returned to the exhibition, this is how the picture of the Great American Webster looked, nearly buried under the human cost of this new era of intolerance.

This is the statement included along with the picture.

In 1894, the Hall of Fame for Great Americans was erected on what is now the campus of Bronx Community College in Bronx, New York. The Hall, one of the first in the world, occupies a high bluff looming over the Harlem River in the neighborhood of University Heights.

In the Wizard of Oz, after Dorothy Gale’s Kansas home fell upon and crushed to death the Wicked Witch of the East, the Munchkins sang that Dorothy Gale would ‘be a bust, be a bust, be a bust in the Hall of Fame!’.

The Hall consists of bronze likenesses of ‘Great Americans’ organized into statesmen, scientists etc.
The Pied Piper of American decline sells baseball caps emblazoned with a declaration that American greatness is currently absent. The Hall can act as a bellwether of the Piper’s declaration. The last bust of a ‘Great American’ installed in the Hall was in 1992, after a twenty year effort. The busts of four inductees from the 1970s remain unrealized.

As this exhibition runs its course, authorities are demanding entry into homes nationwide in order to drag undocumented individuals, some perhaps hidden in attics, to detention centers or for immediate deportation. The Piper is also restricting émigrés, refugees and visitors from majority Muslim nations. His regime argues that the presence of the targeted individuals in America is the cause of America’s current lack of greatness and that the restoration of its greatness requires their removal.

I taught on the campus of Bronx Community College, the poorest county in America, for a decade. Many of those attending classes on campus and in the shadow of the Hall lacked official papers as did some individuals enshrined in the Hall. The Munchkins did not demand that Dorothy, a foreigner from over the rainbow, show her papers in order to gain entry to Oz. If they had detained Dorothy or deported her upon arrival, the Wicked Witch of the West, the sister of the Wicked Witch of the East, would have continued wreaking vengeance on Oz for the death of her sister.

Perhaps a current detainee or deportee is a modern day Dorothy Gale, thwarted in his or her capacity to restore American greatness and in doing so, reinvigorating the purpose of the Hall of Fame for Great Americans. That person’s bust would join Dorothy Gale and that of the four inductees from the 1970s as remaining unrealized. Despite being a foreigner from Kansas, the Munchkins and the Glenda, the Good Witch of the South, provided Dorothy with ruby slippers to protect her as she journeyed upon the Yellow Brick Road towards the Emerald City. She repaid her benefactors by securing their freedom from tyranny.

There are a number of empty spaces in the Hall set aside for future inductions of Great Americans, including the four busts unrealized from the 1970s. The oppressions of today may result in these empty spaces remaining empty and greatness’ absence being perpetuated and not reversed.

I include in this exhibition an actual portrait bust from the Hall that I drew as a part of my art project, the Anna Pierrepont Series []. The bust is a pastel drawing of Daniel Webster rendered in deep shadows of the dim natural light of a random early afternoon.

I asked attendees to imagine and affix unto this piece, a virtual Hall of Fame for Future [unrealized] Great Americans, the name of an individual now languishing in detention or denied entry as a consequence of the Muslim ban whose likeness, like that of Dorothy Gale, will never be added to the empty spaces of the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, an acknowledgement of that which the Piper and his minions are forcing into shadows and the voids opened as a consequence.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Hall of Fame for Great Americans - Restoration Edition

The pied piper of American decline should point his cavalcade of black Escalades with tinted windows from his 5th avenue redoubt in direction of the West Bronx campus of Bronx Community College and the Hall of Fame for Great Americans that sits at the rear of the campus.

The Hall of American greatness has not had a new induction of a great American since 1976 and has not had a bust installed since 1992.

The lack of new inductions in over forty years may have been a bellwether of American greatness' absence that the piper has successfully decried.

Standing at that dais, he could demand new busts immediately be added to the Hall as a sign of American greatness' restoration under his watch.

Artists should also create a Hall of Fame for those Americans who have been erased in the original march towards American greatness.

They should also maintain listing of busts of new inductees who are currently pending erasure as the piper initiates his grand restoration.

I will begin the later process by including in the Hall, a photoshop image that I have made of Dorothy Gale who was promised a bust by the Munchkins, a promise that has, as of now, remained unfulfilled.