The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2022

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FEB 2022 Issue
The Miraculous The Miraculous: New York

88. A Hotel (now demolished) at Fifth Avenue and Eighth Street

A husband and wife, both artists, both Mexican, are living in an apartment at the Hotel Brevoort in Greenwich Village. Following the politically motivated censorship of a mural commission the husband has been working on at 30 Rockefeller Center, he is frustrated to learn that two other major U.S. commissions have been cancelled. One evening as two of his assistants are visiting, the couple gets into a heated argument about whether to remain in New York (which the husband prefers) or return to Mexico (which the wife would like). As one of their guests later recounts, the husband picks up one of his oil paintings (a desertscape of cacti that look like grasping hands) and shouts, “I don’t want to go back to that!” to which his wife, who has had enough of what she calls “Gringolandia,” replies, “I do want to go back to that!” Her husband grabs a kitchen knife and begins slashing at his painting. When one of the guests moves to stop him, the wife holds her back. “Don’t,” she whispers, “he’ll kill you.”

(Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Lucienne Bloch, Stephen Dimitroff)

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