The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2022

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FEB 2022 Issue
The Miraculous The Miraculous: New York

87. East Village, SoHo, Midtown

On November 5, 1969, a Saturday, an artist living at 340 East 13th Street, gets out of bed at 17 minutes after noon. Using rubber stamps, he notes this fact on a postcard that he mails to an art critic living at 138 Prince Street. Printed on the front of the commercially produced postcard is a photograph taken from the observation deck of what was then known as the RCA Building (a.k.a. 30 Rockefeller Center), a skyscraper from which, 11 years earlier, a poet had gazed upon, as he wrote in a poem, “my buildings, streets I’ve done feats in,/ lofts, beds, coldwater flats/. . . Panorama of the bridges, sunrise over Brooklyn machine,/ . . . my later loves on 15th Street,/ my greater loves of Lower East Side,/ my once fabulous amours in the Bronx.” He dedicated the poem, which bears the title “My Sad Self,” to a poet/art critic friend who, he later said, taught him “to really see New York for the first time, by making the giant style of Midtown his intimate cocktail environment.” Similar postcards arrive at 138 Prince almost daily for the next four months.

(On Kawara, Lucy Lippard, Allen Ginsberg, Frank O’Hara)

Contributor

Raphael Rubinstein

Raphael Rubinstein is the author of The Miraculous (Paper Monument, 2014) and A Geniza (Granary Books, 2015). He is currently writing a book about the Jewish-Egyptian writer Edmond Jabès. A Professor of Critical Studies at the University of Houston School of Art, he divides his time between Houston and New York.

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The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2022

All Issues