Ball point pen on today's newsprint
Parson School of Design, now Parsons the The New School for Design, has long been affiliated with the New School for Social Research. When I was a student there, I took all of my academic credits at the New School. I particularly liked studying philosophy with Dr. Paul Edwards, but there was one class I took to fulfill a humanities requirement that stands out even though it was somewhat disappointing. It was "The Human Connection." A study of relationships and the web of human connections that make up our lives. Aside from reading Emile Zola, the course was a loose structure of informal discussions which seemed a lot like group therapy for middle aged women who's kids didn't come to see them anymore.
Yet, despite that, I say only 'somewhat disappointing' because there was one thing I really loved about the class. It met in a third floor room in the New School building on fifth Ave between 13th and 14th streets. The room had no windows as the whole building was a polished stone cube, but the walls were adorned with Thomas Hart Benton murals that Benton painted in the early 30's. The beautiful panels titled "America Today" depicted everything from farm workers, to factories, boxers, to straphangers, painted in Bentons robust representational style.
Recently I was in the neighborhood to see an exhibition at the Salmugundi Club. When I turned the corner on 14th and 5th expecting to see the large cube building, I was shocked that it was gone. The whole building had been leveled. The first thing I thought was where had those Benton murals gone?
Now I know.
Link from today's NYT