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Eschewing Obfuscation ZEV

 
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ESCHEWING OBFUSCATION: ZEV

I recently tried to correct a spurious internet biography of a close cousin of mine, the listed artist Zev (Daniel Harris, b.1914 - d.1987), whose work I carry.  The erroneous information was proliferating through the internet, causing no small amount of trouble. My effort has become worth mentioning however, because it's proved impossible; the associated dealer has an 'agenda'. 

The Background

A California dealer is selling, on 1stDibs, a number of Zev's pieces, accompanied by a biography replete with erroneous information. He presents Zev with an altered name, history and ethnicity; he alters many facts. I'll start by quoting this brief correspondence between us. Below is  my email to him on 1stDibs, and his reply to it, both verbatim, in their entirety.

(quote)
Hello, Please, your facts are wrong.  Zev was my father's first cousin and a very dear friend of mine. I spent every Christmas of my life with him in Rome up until the time he died. I've tons of pix and letters.  He was most certainly not Hungarian, would blanch at your using his middle name, and would be turning over in his grave, and probably jumping on yours, if he knew what you've printed about him. I've a few of his pieces posted on my own site, and suggest you get your bio from there.  I realize info procured over the internet is handy, but it's often spurious. Clients look to
1stDibs as an authority and it is vital that all dealers, whether on !stDibs or not, accurately represent their pieces. I'm a first hand source. Please, correct your listings. Kind regards, Debra Spencer (end quote)


(reply, quote)
 Well thank you for setting me straight. Not sure why he would be mad about using his middle name but ok. I didn't realize we listed him as Hungarian... easy to fix. A a Polish decent not sure why that is such a slight? I'm sure he loved his time there. Spurious is the wrong word BTW. Before I unearthed his work there was little known about his works and most dealers had some and didn't know who he was and I set them straight and now his name is known in many collections. You can correct the record on AskArt  by contacting them with an updated biography anytime. 
(end quote)


What's Really Going On Here? 

The "facts" buck is passed to AskArt, where he states (quote) "You can correct the record on AskArt by contacting them with an updated biography anytime." (end quote). AskArt does not display full bio information to non-subscribers; you have to be a member or wait until Fridays when part of the site is accessible to non-subscribers. I've emailed them, and am still awaiting their reply.

Walter Matuschanskayasky had good reason to change his last name to Matthau.  Likewise, Muzyad Yakhoob became Danny Thomas. Julius, Milton, Adolph and Herbert became Groucho, Gummo, Harpo, and Zeppo. Sylvester Gardenzio became Sylvester Stallone, and didn't change his name back when he started painting.  Moral: it's common for artists to assume 'stage names' and when they do, they stick with them because reputations are hard-earned commodities.

The point is that, with apologies to Shakespeare, a rose by another name is NOT the same rose;  it becomes something else entirely due to your altered perception of it.  Frances Gumm is not the same as Judy Garland, nor is Norma Jean Baker the same as Marilyn Monroe. And intentional or not, this California dealer has assumed the role of Hollywood Publicist, reverse-engineering Zev and his history, and using the results to promote his own agenda. If you want to know what Publicists do, and a little about how and why they do it, read wikipedia's article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Movie_star

His email insinuates he's not only "discovered" the artist, but is also the elite, if not exclusive, carrier of an apparently neglected artist's work. Now, I've had Zev's pieces listed on the internet for decades, since the 1970's, with a correct bio, and he and his pieces are easy to find.  

He states (quote) "Not sure why he would be mad about using his middle name"(end quote).  An art dealer feigns innocence about the proper use of an artist's name??!! That's like promoting exclusive, undiscovered works of the legendary David Robert Jones, who, before being discovered by the promoter, was oh by the way, also known as David Bowie. 

Of course, you can argue that dead artists don't care about being reinvented for another's profit. After all, there's no Statute of limitations that applies to deceased artist's histories, and
if you succeed at rewriting them and nobody catches you, nobody will ever know. Why be honest, or ethical? Is censorship working?

This artist's name is ZEV, ZEV is a word of Hebrew origin, not Hungarian, he eschewed the use of his natural name and middle name, and was an American. This means he was not Polish, nor Hungarian. Since 1953, his permanent residence was in Rome, where he died in 1987, not 1986. He was well-traveled, studied at the Masters Institute of the Roerich Museum in New York City, the National Academy of Design, and the New York University of Art where he also taught. He was invited in 1944 by Grace Morley to exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Art in California. Other exhibits include The Furstenberg Gallery, Paris, The Arthur Jeffress Gallery, London, The Crocker Art Museum. He also designed parts of the interior and the logo for Nepenthe, a well-known location on Northern California's coastal route 1. He is listed in San Francisco And The Second Wave. He has been listed in Akoun and Piron for decades as ZEV, Daniel H. 1924 - 1987. He's in permanent museum and private collections around the world, and has already been "discovered".

ZEV should be thus represented. And besides, I loved my cousin; he taught me patiently, with great humor, and I'm very lucky to have known him. 

I sign these newsletters "See Into The Invisible". Thanks for reading.

Best Wishes, 
Debra Spencer

 

 

170123 Suit Yourself™ International Newsletter Eschewing Obfuscation ZEV 

ISSN 2474-820X. All rights reserved.

 

"Mind like parachute - only function when open."  Charlie Chan at the Circus



All Content is © Debra Spencer, Suit Yourself™ International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. ISSN 2474-820X. Do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.

 

 
 

 

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All Content is ©2019 Debra Spencer, Appanage™at www.suityourself.international Suit Yourself ™ International, 120 Pendleton Point, Islesboro Island, Maine, 04848, USA 44n31 68w91 Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.

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All Content is ©2019 Debra Spencer, Appanage™at www.suityourself.international Suit Yourself ™ International, 120 Pendleton Point, Islesboro Island, Maine, 04848, USA 44n31 68w91 Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.
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