12-08-16 Out Of Phase

I have not written in quite some time. I could say that I have been very busy with work, which is true. I could say that we have been going through a lot of difficult family issues, which is also true.

But that is not the reason. The reason is that I have been basically knocked speechless. I do not recognize the world I am living in. I do not recognize my country. Apparently everything I was ever told that made the USA a great and exceptional country is a lie.

Forgetting everything else:  a president- elect who lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes; a President-elect who lies every hour on the hour and whose apologists say we can all have our own special facts, that “we live in a post-fact world,”; a North Carolina Republican Party that brags in a press release about disenfranchising African- American voters; citizens who say that Hillary Clinton collecting fees for speaking to Goldman-Sachs disqualify her to be President but Trump appointing people who have worked at Goldman-Sachs is cool; forgetting all of that…the images coming out of Standing Rock leading up to Thanksgiving were horrifying.

I don’t really care here about the “law”, about legal interpretations of treaties or any of that. Isn’t it time to let Native Americans have what little we left to them? Isn’t it time to admit to the genocide of the original North American population performed over the past four centuries, apologize, and at the least, not take anything else from the Native American population?

I was taught that we were all created equal, that this was an ideal we had never lived up to but each passing decade and generation brought us closer to that dream. That was clearly bullshit. Seemingly close to 48% of the population who can bother to vote do not believe or accept that and have organized things in such a way that the minority rules.

My world is out of phase.

RIP John Lennon 10/9/40 – 12/8/80



Join me and my talented colleagues this Friday, December 12, for our first book signing event. The event at the International Center of Photography will feature limited edition signed and numbered copies published by ICP.EDU Books. Editions range from 20-50 as the artist desired. (I personally went with 33). The event takes place at the ICP Museum Bookstore, 1133 6th Avenue, between 6p-7:30p.

Thank you for all the wonderful notes of support and encouragement around the book release.


I have spent the last 4 months going through my Hudson River archives to pick the 43 images for this release. I can truly say that this edition is a synthesis of the past 4 years of my work but the major emphasis is on images from 2011. Setting that boundary on myself meant that a number of my favorite images are not included.  But it allowed me the freedom to go back and look at 2011 somewhat dispassionately and without the personal drama of that year. A number of “new” images populate the book, images I, inexplicably to me, passed over the first, second, third, and fourth time I approached this work. Other images, once favorites but since discarded, came back to the front and insisted on being included. Others have been on top from the beginning and stayed there.

Today’s image taken on 12/9/11 didn’t come close to making the final cut but I like it nonetheless because it is reminder that the Hudson is a working river.

RSJohnson_Hudson_ 111209-92

12-9-13 We’ll Hang Ourselves Tomorrow

    Given the existence as uttered forth in the public works of Puncher and Wattmann of a personal God quaquaquaqua with white beard quaquaquaqua outside time without extension who from the heights of divine apathia divine athambia divine aphasia loves us dearly with some exceptions for reasons unknown but time will tell and suffers like the divine Miranda with those who for reasons unknown but time will tell are plunged in torment plunged in fire whose fire flames if that continues and who can doubt it will fire the firmament that is to say blast hell to heaven so blue still and calm so calm with a calm which even though intermittent is better than nothing…
    The first 155 words of Lucky’s monologue, Act 1 Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett

Sunday, Katherine and I went to the Cloisters to see/hear Janet Cardiff‘s “The Forty Part Motet” in the Fuentidueña Chapel (sadly closed – if it comes to your town, do go).

12-9-13 Blog0013

40 Part Motet

Then we were off to The Cort Theater to see Waiting for Godot with Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Billy Crudup and Shuler  Hensley.  You may recall I talked about our seeing No Man’s Land by Pinter with the same cast on my birthday last month.  Godot, to my mind is probably the most important (and best written) play of the 20th century and this is an excellent production as directed by Sean Mathias.  The play is undoubtedly suffused with slapstick but I did think the company played that up at the expense of some of the textual meaning and depth. Many people think it depressing but I find it an oddly hopeful play. I strongly, highly, and completely recommend you go if you are in the NYC area. If the two British Sirs are not enough, I think Mr Crudup delivers the best Lucky monologue I have ever seen.

Of course, Sunday was also the anniversary of John Lennon‘s assassination. As it happens, about 10 days ago I was in Central Park and went through Strawberry Fields. I was very impressed with this homeless musician. He was damn good. I always kick a dollar to street musicians when I shoot them but he was good enough that I gave him $5.  Was he really homeless? I don’t know but he wouldn’t give me his name.

12-9-13 Blog1311220067I was also “impressed” with all these people at Strawberry Fields, celebrating John Lennon’s life while ignoring the only musician there and one who seemed to be in need at that.

12-9-13 Blog1311220068

    “Given the existence … of a personal God … with white beard … outside time without extension who from the heights … loves us dearly with some exceptions for reasons unknown but time will tell and suffers like the divine Miranda with those who for reasons unknown … are plunged in torment … whose fire flames … will fire the firmament … blast hell to heaven so blue still and calm so calm with a calm which even though intermittent is better than nothing…”

5-6-12 Another Pleasant Valley Sunday? Nah…

Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream
It is not dying, it is not dying

Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void
It is shining, it is shining

Yet you may see the meaning of within
It is being, it is being

Love is all and love is everyone
It is knowing, it is knowing

And ignorance and hate mourn the dead
It is believing, it is believing

But listen to the colour of your dreams
It is not leaving, it is not leaving

So play the game “Existence” to the end
Of the beginning, of the beginning
Of the beginning, of the beginning
Of the beginning, of the beginning
Of the beginning, of the beginning

(with apologies to Lennon/McCartney…

especially Lennon)

2-13-12 Small Town Boy Makes Good

“I’d asked around 10 or 15 people for suggestions. Finally one lady friend asked the right question, ‘Well, what do you love most?’ That’s how I started painting money.”
New Yorkers love to adopt people (especially, but not exclusively, non-native NYers) as representative of the city, or part of the city or a subset of the city.  John Lennon, Tito Puente, Duke Ellington, Truman Capote, even Jenny from the mythical block (last time she went “home” – unknown). Currently the most fetishized is clearly…
Not usually a fan of sun streaks and light flares but I think it works with Andy…
I wanted to alert you to a project a fellow NYer will be doing in May. Nothing too exciting or strenuous really, just an 8 day run from the source of The Hudson River at Lake Tear of The Clouds to The Battery in New York City.
Trail Todd – read all about it here.


“I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want to own.”
Quotes – Andy Warhol

12-22-11 Solstice Sunrise 7:17 AM

Of course, the Hudson is on the west side of the island so it does not get the spectacular sunrise that the East River gets. None the less, at 7:17, there I was looking down on the river from Riverside Park.  I still think it  a pretty sight.  The usual crowd was in the park and by the river. Runners, bikers, walkers and dog walkers.  As I took this next shot (at 7:28 – 11 minutes after official sunrise) a woman’s voice behind me said: “That is a pretty view. You could almost forget it’s New Jersey.” (Ah we are incorrigible here in the city).

Happy Solstice!

Happy Chanukah!

While looking for video of what was going to be today’s Holiday song, this popped up. I am embarrassed to admit that I, supposed collector of off beat Holiday tunes, had never seen or heard this before.  Teach me not to listen to opera…

12-08-11 Strawberry Fields Forever

“Nothing to do to save his life call his wife in
Nothing to say but what a day, how’s your boy been
Nothing to do it’s up to you,
I’ve got nothing to say but it’s OK
Good morning, good morning


9-29-11 – Ritual

Rituals are important. Nowadays it’s hip not to be married. I’m not interested in being hip.

John Lennon

Rituals – we all have them. Some are ordained by religion or government, some we develop naturally within our lives.  The human mind seems to insist on ritual to help frame our existence, to sooth us with their repetitive nature, an anchor in our lives.

Why else do a million or so people freeze their rear ends off for hours: penned like sheep in little areas proscribed by police; with not a bathroom available; in Times Square to watch a ball slide down a pole as they chant, 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, then blow a horn or kiss for the New Year?  Why else do millions of other people in different time zones celebrate their own ritual and watch them on TV?

I saw a different kind of New Year’s ritual yesterday.


Tashlikh is part of the Rosh Hashanah observance.