Commentaries - December 2007
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This is Andy Warhol's picture of stamped shoes, 1959. In '60 he began to do some very different things, but even when Leo Castelli came visiting in early '61 Warhol still had to endure doubts — for one thing, that what he was doing (e.g. his large canvases of Coke bottles) was too much like Roy Lichtenstein. For more about Andy in '60, go here.
Maurice Diamont survived the holocaust and, after liberation from the camps, came to the U.S.
When Diamont was ten he was frightened by a Nazi parade. He had grown up in Frankfurt, Germany, in a completely Jewish world. His family fled to Italy where he was safe until the Germans came in 1943. After that, it was a nightmare. But he survived the camps, as I say, and made his way to New York.
Here are his recollections about arriving in New York:
New York . . . looked to us like a madhouse. On the one hand we were exhilarated by the freedom of going around without carrying papers, without worrying about being stopped and asked for working permits. On the other hand there were things that frightened and disappointed me. I was an avid reader of newspapers and went through the New York Times on my way to work. I quickly found out about McCarthy and was really horrified because I saw overtones of the things I thought I had left behind. I remember one morning noticing that the man sitting next to me had hidden his Daily Worker [the communist daily] in[side] the pages of a New York Times. Coming from Italy, where everything was out in the open and there was freedom to discuss every philosophy and political possibility, I was not prepared to see people in free America scared of believing in some things.