The Barbizon [Hotel for Women]

A hotel dedicated entirely to the well-being and protection of women? I knew there was something special about the building just by looking up to its tree-lined roof matching the colours of the street below. Perfection!… I thought.

Even more so, after reading about its role as a sanctuary for women moving to New York for work in the ’20s. Smart girls who knew how to stay out of trouble – or so their parents hoped – came to live in its rooms, minuscule to accommodate as many as possible. The hotel also offered a swimming pool (still in use today), a library, recital rooms, a sundeck, a solarium, squash and badminton courts, and a formal dining room.

Then came the ’60s and smart girls sought different kinds of adventures; the kind that didn’t include chaperoning and living in a sanctuary where no men were allowed beyond the first floor. The Barbizon changed hands many times until 2002, when it was renovated and became The Melrose Hotel; only to be purchased by developers three years later and converted into a luxury condominium building.

Interestingly, a few women, long-term tenants from the old Barbizon era still live in the building, protected by the rental laws of New York. wp20160924_134903 wp20160924_135008 wp20160924_135030

You can read more about it here & here.

Barbizon 63
140 E 63rd St.

September 24th, 2016

Porky Pies and other Lies

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The Police
1983
Pen, brush mouth atomiser and ink on paper

On 14 January 1983, 26-year old film editor Stephen Waldorf was mistakenly shot five times in the head and body by the Metropolitan Police in Earls Court, West London. The police thought he was an escaped prisoner, David Martin. In 1983 two officers were put on trial for attempted murder; they were both acquitted.wp20160924_143010

Margaret Thatcher. The Last Supposition, 1985
Leonardo da Vinci after Ralph Steadman has had a go at it..
New Statesman, 11 October 1985
Pen and ink on paperwp20160924_142932
Reagan’s Latest Close-Up
New Statesman, 7 March 1980
Pen and Indian ink on paper

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”The Peacekeepers Are Coming!
The Peacekeepers Are Coming!”
1983
Pen, mouth atomiser and ink on paper

In October 1983 thousands of US troops and helicopter gunships invaded the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada after a left-wing coup. Reagan’s incursion into Grenada, a Commonwealth country, was the only occasion on which Margaret Thatcher and the US president had a serious fallout.

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Donald Trump – Porky Pie!!!
New Statesman, 17 December 2015
Pen, brush, mouth atomiser, acrylic and gesso on paper

This porcine portrait of the real estate billionaire, reality TV game-show host and presidential hopeful [and, by now, President] Donald J. Trump accompanied an article by Laurie Penny, ”There is nothing funny about a Donald Trump rally”. ”By lying through his teeth”, she writes, ”he has managed to persuade thousands of people that he is the one truth-teller in American politics… Trump is selling fascism with a cartoon face”.

In November 2015, the mayor of Jersey City accused Trump of ”shameful politicizing” after the Republican made unsubstantiated claims that in 2001 the watched on TV ”thousands and thousands” of Arab Americans in New Jersey cheering the attacks on the World Trade Center.

”Porkie pie”, or ”porky”, is Cockney rhyming slang for ”lie”.

From A Retrospective: Ralph Steadman exhibition, held at The Society of Illustrators between September-October 2016.

September 24th, 2016