In a moving video letter to curator John Hanhardt, LETTER TO JOHN FROM JONAS (1999), in which he stresses the need for Anthology Film Archives to resist the option of merging with the Guggenheim Museum, Jonas Mekas discusses the shift away from Anthology's role as the sole preservationist of experimental cinema, and, by example, the important work of Jon Gartenberg’s preservation of Warren Sonbert’s estate following Sonbert’s untimely death in 1995.Read More
GME Gem #12: The Fall Art Scene, But Where Did Our Love Go?
It’s that time of year again when the film and art scenes get serious. In 1966 a young Warren Sonbert captured it in his second film, WHERE DID OUR LOVE GO?Read More
A photograph of Raimondo Borea's has been used in the recently published book "Acting in the Academy: The History of Professional Actor Training in US Higher Education," by Peter Zazzali. The picture of Borea's depicts the first graduating class from the Juilliard School's acting program taught by John Houseman and was attended by Kevin Kline (below).
Summary of the Book:
"There are over 150 BFA and MFA acting programs in the US today, nearly all of which claim to prepare students for theatre careers. Peter Zazzali contends that the curricula of these courses represent an ethos that is as outdated as it is limited, given today’s shrinking job market for stage actors.
Acting in the Academy traces the history of actor training in universities to make the case for a move beyond standard courses in voice and speech, movement, or performance, to develop an entrepreneurial model that motivates and encourages students to create their own employment opportunities. This book answers questions such as:
- How has the League of Professional Theatre Training Programs shaped actor training in the US?
- How have training programmes and the acting profession developed in relation to one another
- What impact have these developments had on American acting as an art form?
Acting in the Academy calls for a reconceptualization of actor training the US, and looks to newly empower students of performance with a fresh, original perspective on their professional development."
The official unveiling of the Sarah Vaughan USPS Forever Stamp took place at Newark Symphony Hall on Tuesday, March 29th. Special guests and speakers at the event included performances by the New Mount Zion Baptist Church Choir, Melba Moore, Carrie Jackson and speeches by Diane Reeves and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. Below are pictures from the event.
The photo that the stamp is based on was taken by photographer Hugh Bell whose collection is represented by Gartenberg Media Enterprises.
In 2014, Gartenberg Media Enterprises was engaged on an exclusive basis by the Estate of Hugh Bell to manage the collection of Hugh Bell’s photographs and to further the artist’s legacy. We are therefore proud to announce the featuring of one of Hugh Bell's iconic photographs of Sarah Vaughan on a USPS Commemorative Forever Stamp. The United States Postal Service is hosting a First-Day-of-Issue Stamp Ceremony for the release of the Sarah Vaughan Commemorative Forever Stamp at the Sarah Vaughan Concert Hall at Newark Symphony Hall in Newark, New Jersey on March 29th, 11am.
"Sarah Vaughan was one of America’s greatest singers, successful in both jazz and pop, with a talent for improvisation and skillful phrasing and a voice that ranged over several octaves.
The stamp art is an oil painting of Vaughan in performance based on a 1955 photograph by Hugh Bell. A few lines of selvage text explain her importance as a Music Icon. The cover side of the pane features a larger version of the stamp art, a list of some of Vaughan’s popular songs, and the Music Icons logo. Bart Forbes was the artist and Ethel Kessler was the art director. The 11 a.m. First-Day-of-Issue dedication ceremony will take place March 29 in Newark, NJ, at the Sarah Vaughan Concert Hall."
Hugh Cecil Bell was born in 1927 in Harlem, New York City to parents from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. As a young man he first attended City College, and then graduated in 1952 with a degree in Journalism and Cinematic Art from NYU. After NYU, Bell put his Film Degree to use and found work as a cameraman for television commercials.
Early in his career, Bell was befriended by the cinema verité pioneer, Richard Leacock, who was interested in helping minorities find a professional footing. Bell assisted Leacock on the shooting of several documentaries, including “Jazz Dance” (1952). He also accompanied Leacock on several trips to Spain, where Bell met and photographed the world-famous Spanish bullfighter, Dominguin, as well as Lauren Bacall and Ernest Hemingway. Bell’s friendship with Leacock continued to deepen, and over the ensuing decades, he photographed the Leacock family in an extended series of candid portraits at their family home.
In 1952, Bell shot his first of many legendary photographs of jazz greats,“Hot Jazz”. In 1955, Edward Steichen selected “Hot Jazz” for the groundbreaking exhibition “The Family of Man” at The Museum of Modern Art. Over 2 million photos were submitted and only 503 were selected. The exhibit showcased work from 273 photographers including Dorothea Lange, Edward Weston and Irving Penn. This was the first instance of Hugh Bell’s photographic work being shown alongside these towering figures of modern photography.
During the 1950’s, Hugh Bell frequented all the top Jazz clubs in New York City such as the Village Gate, the Open Door Café and Circle in the Square. He encountered and photographed many legendary musicians, including Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Sarah Vaughan. Bell’s lifelong passion for taking Jazz photographs, often referred to as his “Jazz Giants” series, has been published in books and magazines. His jazz photographs have also graced the covers of innumerable vinyl jazz records.
In addition to jazz clubs, Bell went to and photographed local boxing matches, dance performances and legitimate plays, including Jean Genet’s “The Blacks,” a seminal theatrical production starring James Earl Jones, Roscoe Lee Brown, Cicely Tyson, Maya Angelou, and Godfrey Cambridge, that was mounted at the St. Mark’s Playhouse in 1961.
Bell opened his own studio in Manhattan in the 1960’s. Over the course of the ensuing decades, he worked as a commercial photographer. He produced photographs for print advertisements; many of which were targeted specifically to the Black community.
Interspersed with his commercial work, Bell also focused on portraiture. During this period, he is most known for his images of the female figure. In 1970, a series of these portraits were published in Avant Garde magazine in a feature entitled, “Bell’s Belles”. Throughout this period, he also traveled to the West Indies, focusing on the region of his geographical heritage. He photographed carnivals in Trinidad and Haiti, and daily life in Antigua. He also traveled to Brazil, where he took photographs of the local citizenry.
Hugh Bell passed away on October 31, 2012. He left behind an extensive and wide-ranging photographic legacy that is now ready for rediscovery.
For more information about the Hugh Bell archive and his photographs, please contact:
IN THE STREET (1952)
Photographed by James Agee, Helen Levitt & Janice Loeb.
Edited by Helen Levitt.
ARTE Televison France broadcast a rare presentation of IN THE STREET on May 28, 2012 as part of a series entitled “Black & White”, illuminating the diversity and aesthetics of classic films photographed in black-and-white.
GME was pleased to successfully negotiate this deal with Arte on behalf of the estate of the photographer Helen Levitt. GME was credited at the end of the film’s broadcast as follows:
"Film provided courtesy of the Estate of Helen Levitt, Cecile Starr, and Gartenberg Media Enterprises."
Photo © The Estate of Helen Levitt. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
In 2006, IN THE STREET was selected by the Library of Congress as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and added to the United States National Film Registry preservation program:
"This lyrical, slice-of-life documentary (by Helen Levitt, James Agee and Janice Loeb) about East Harlem is one of several outstanding children’s documentaries (“The Quiet One” and “Louisiana Story,” among others) produced immediately after World War II. The filmmakers captured the energy-filled streets as part theater, part battleground and part playground. In their everyday lives and actions, people project an image of human existence against the turmoil of the street." - www.loc.gov