Gem in the Desert, Museum of Islamic Art ~ Doha, Qatar

by Kim Steele

Night skyline view with Museum in foreground, photograph by Kim Steele

Night skyline view with Museum in foreground, photograph by Kim Steele

Approaching the cubistic building along a path of luscious palm trees, I knew there was something special inside this Museum. In my travels across the Mid-East, there was an alarming dearth of cultural artifacts. The National Museum in Kuwait City was appalling, and impossible to find, as well. The excuses for cultural artifacts were dark dioramas of ‘life’ in these countries from the nineteenth century – mannequins leaning over fires making jewelry or molding tools, somehow providing some insight into their history; sadly this was the case as well in Dubai. I pondered why a culture of many thousands of years was so poorly represented. Was it the Bedouin lifestyle or the tribal aesthetic or possibly the harsh environment that created this vacuum? Possibly all three. The relatively youth of these ‘re-drawn’ nations may contribute to this lack of historical reference.

Occasionally, as in The Citadel in Amman, the modest but fascinating museum atop the Roman hillside, contained metal works, pottery and artifacts of life over several thousands of years was engaging.

Exterior of Museum on approach ramp, photograph by Kim Steele

Exterior of Museum on approach ramp, photograph by Kim Steele

But in Doha, The Museum of Islamic Art was a show-stopper! As soon as one entered the airy interior courtyard of the Museum, (opened in 2008) one knew a master architect created this, and indeed it was, I. M. Pei. (I had to ask the reception desk immediately!)

Interior Overview from above, photograph by Kim Steele

Interior overview from above, photograph by Kim Steele









At once awe-inspiring, influenced by ancient Islamic architecture, and welcoming, it draws one to the water beyond its massive five-story window, overlooking the impressive skyline of Doha, located on the Corniche –posing on the Arabian Gulf on a man made peninsula. A very dramatic setting indeed.

Persian Gulf view from crossing balconies, photograph by Kim Steele

Persian Gulf view from crossing balconies, photograph by Kim Steele

The interiors were designed by another firm, aside from the major features, general lighting, staircases and crossing balconies, Jean Michele Wilmonde, of Paris.  I confess to being a museum freak, and always seek them out around the world; I feel it is a bellwether of a city.

Concrete Walls delineating niches, photograph by Kim Steele

Concrete Walls delineating niches, photograph by Kim Steele

Displays of metalwork in cases, photograph courtesy of Museum

Displays of metalwork in cases, photograph courtesy Museum Of Islamic Art



















Sumptuous interiors of a corrugated-styled (ridges pulled apparently by hand) concrete walls, bordered by wenge (native of central Africa) wood panels, delineate the niches displaying often a single artifact with dramatic lighting, was a breath-taking artistic experience. Each Section on the sides open up to a refreshing light filled atrium of the center court, a respite created by the gifted Pei.  The collection was only recently acquired in the last twenty years, and ranged from Early Islamic art of the 7 – 12th Centuries to a contemporary exhibition of women’s influence in Qajar Women: Images of Women in the 19th century Iran, shown in photographs.

Gold metal work, photograph by Kim Steele

Gold metal work, photograph by Kim Steele

The collection is very strong in ceramics, glass and metal works. The work is both religious and secular in nature, which provides a rich insight into the culture from which it came. The sources are vast, from China (textiles and ceramics), Central Asia, India, even Spain under the Moorish occupation, as well as many places in the Middle East, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey.

Interior staircase and lighting, photograph by Kim Steele

Interior staircase and lighting, photograph by Kim Steele

Both the collection, and the museum itself, are remarkable. One supports the other in this dialogue so infrequently found in contemporary museums. The fashion, dating from the nineties, of architecture first, then collection was found in many cities, from the Centre George Pompidou in Paris, to the Seattle and San Francisco’s museums paraded rising atriums at the expense of wall space and ‘invitability.’ Hopefully the soon to open extension of the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco will correct this dilemma. But this gem by Pei, does in fact sport a souring atrium, but not at the expense of wall space and ease of viewing. There is enough room here for both dimensions, and such a wonderful viewing experience, I was lost there for hours.

Doha skyline beyond the cafe, photograph by Kim Steele

Doha skyline beyond the cafe, photograph by Kim Steele


Saved by Ivana…

by The Boulevardiers


Trump for TimeMagazine84 1

Donald Trump, photograph by Kim Steele, for Time magazine, 1984

From our Boulevardier & Publisher, Kim Steele:

I shot a portrait once a week for Time magazine, Business section, in the 1980’s, and hit all the major players, including The Don.

Trump was the most difficult, made me wait for hours, hurried me, until Ivana came in and said, “The reason you don’t like your photos is that you give the photographers a very hard time.” I think he was ‘influenced’ by the Bolivian Army.

My photograph ran full page bleed in Time magazine!”

Charles L. Knoedler (1863–1944), the youngest son of Michael Knoedler, at the gallery's fourth location, a rented brownstone at 170 Fifth Avenue and 22nd in New York, Getty Images photograph

Charles L. Knoedler (1863–1944), the youngest son of Michael Knoedler, at the gallery’s fourth location, a rented brownstone at 170 Fifth Avenue and 22nd, in New York, Getty Images photograph


Forgery is not an offense under the law of Scotland, but here in the U.S. it has caused quite a stir. The distinguished Knoedler Gallery in Manhattan has shuttered it doors after one hundred and fifty years. Knoedler dates its origin to 1846, when French dealers Goupil & Cie opened a branch in New York, as a dealer in Old Master paintings. Michel Knoedler purchased the New York branch in 1857. Armand Hammer purchased the gallery for $2.5 million in 1971 and held onto it until this scandal closed the doors in 2011. It has peeled back the often opaque veil that hides the dynamics of multi-million dollar art sales shifting hands in the auction houses, Christies and Sothebys. Knoedler was New York’s oldest gallery.

The forgery scandal netted Knoedler $37 million; and Knoedler president Ann Freedman, $10 million.


Ann Freedman, former Knoedler Gallery President

Ann Freedman, former Knoedler Gallery President






Ann Freedman, resigned in 2009 after numerous allegations that Knoedler paintings were fakes. The most recent court settlement involved the Long Island art dealer Glafira Rosales, regarding an untitled Rothko painting dated 1956, determined to be a forgery, which was purchased for $8.6 million.


Mark Rothko forgery, by Pei-Shen Qian


Allegations arose claiming they had passed off more than thirty fakes of major artists including de Kooning and Pollack. The source of the impostors was Rosales, consigning to the gallery works that were allegedly from a mysterious collector based in Mexico City.

When in fact, they were all painted by a Chinese immigrant in Queens, NY, Pei-Shen Qian. Other dealers involved in the swindle – brothers Jose Carlos (Rosales’ boyfriend) and Jesus Angel Bergantinos Diaz, were awaiting likely extradition proceedings after being arrested and bailed in Spain. They were the conduits for Qian’s work to Rosales to Freedman. Qian was discovered by Rosales and the Bergantinos Diaz brothers selling artwork on the streets of New York; he began his bogus career by forging Keith Haring and Jean Michel Basquait’s work, which the brothers sold to galleries. Qian was paid a few hundred dollars early on, and up to ten thousand by the end, for his work. Over a period of 15 years, court papers claim, the painter, working out of his home studio and garage, churned out at least 63 drawings and paintings that carried the signatures of artistic giants like Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell and Richard Diebenkorn.


Jackson Pollock forgery, by Pei-Shen Qian


Little is known of this missing forger. He exhibited in several shows in China, displaying a daring experimental penchant. Abstract Art was considered ‘decadent’ back in the 1980’s.

In 1981, Qian moved to New York, where he and his friend Zhang Hongtu took art classes together at the Art Students League, on West 57th Street. “He told me how to make a living over here,” Zhang said. Zhang has been charged by Federal authorities with fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.

The Bergantinos Diaz brothers and Rosales are accused of faking detailed backstories of the paintings, and falsely claiming to represent clients in Europe. Rosales pleaded guilty to nine criminal charges in September 2015, and faces up to 99 years in prison when she is sentenced later this year. She was also ordered to forfeit $33.2 million in property and wealth and may face further penalties. An official from the Spanish interior ministry told the New York Times last week that, after he was arrested at a hotel in Seville, Jose Carlos suffered an anxiety attack and was hospitalized.

The brothers are charged with conspiring to commit wire fraud and money-laundering. Jose Carlos, who lived in New York, is also accused of defrauding the IRS and filing false tax returns to hide more than $7 million in income from the scheme.


The garage in Queens where Pei-Shen Qian created his forgeries

The garage in Queens where Pei-Shen Qian created his forgeries



However, prosecutors could only say that Qian, who previously lived in Queens with his wife, was “believed to have been re-located in China,” which has no extradition treaty with the U.S. There is very little chance that China will turn over a citizen.


Pei-Shen Qian at work in his studio, in Queens, NY

Pei-Shen Qian at work in his studio, in Queens, NY


Interviewed in 2013, in Shanghai by Bloomberg News in December last year, Qian said that he was the innocent victim of a “very big misunderstanding” and had never intended to pass off his paintings as the genuine works of modern masters. “I made a knife to cut fruit,” he said. “But if others use it to kill, blaming me is unfair.” He claims to have profited very little from the forgeries, in fact he offered to show is meager bank account as proof.

Ms. Rosales has already pleaded guilty, but buyers, the De Soles family, are pursuing Freedman for $25 million claiming she knowingly sold forgeries, ignoring obvious signs of fraud for her personal gain. Freedman claims they should have seen the red flag, the judge has ruled that she, “acted with fraudulent intent.” In fact, one Pollack had a misspelled signature on the painting, “Pollok.” Freedman asserts she was also swindled for three expensive paintings herself, and that reputable authorities verified their authenticity. A number of very prestigious experts were called into the case, including JAMES CODDINGTON, CHIEF CONSERVATOR OF MOMA, and Laili Nasr, curator at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. who confused the authenticity of the paintings.

Early on, there were warnings on in-authenticity. Freedman was forced to repay $2 million to a collector in 2003, when caught as chronicled in a foundation’s report.   Five cases were settled out of court and four more are ongoing. February 10, a settlement was reached with the De Soles, for an undisclosed amount, though their attorney said they were “satisfied.” The case turned on Freedman’s usage of expert testimony from people who were not authorized, like that from Christopher Rothko. The provenances were misrepresented. The prices were unrealistically low as well. There seemed to be greed exercised by all parties. Smaller government indeed!

Ms. Freedman has since opened up a new gallery, Freedman Art, showing Frank Stella at this time.  Surprisingly, she has not yet been criminally prosecuted – yet.

Update: Jose Carlos Bergantinos Diaz has been extradited to the U.S.


Robert Motherwell forgery, by Pei-Shen Qian

Robert Motherwell forgery, by Pei-Shen Qian


Coralie Bickford-Smith — A Love Story

by Sally Steele

Designs by Coralie

Designs by Coralie





The Boulevardiers have a new friend, Coralie Bickford-Smith ~ the book designer.  When you read about Coralie and her magnificent work, if you don’t know Coralie yet, you will be envious of our friendship. Don’t despair, it’s ok to fall in love, read on…!


Coralie, photograph by Tom Lehman

Coralie, photograph by Tom Lehman


In Coralie’s words from her website: “I am Coralie Bickford-Smith and here is a bit about myself. I graduated from Reading University after studying Typography and Graphic Communication. I currently work  at Penguin Books. Amazingly my book covers have been recognised by the AIGA (NY) and D&AD (UK) and have featured in a numerous international magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Vogue and The Guardian. The work I did with Penguin Classics on the clothbound series has attracted worldwide attention and harkens back to the world of Victorian bindings and a golden age of book binding.”


The Fox and The Star, by Coralie Bickford-Smith

The Fox and The Star, by Coralie Bickford-Smith


Cover by Coralie

Cover design, by Coralie





“I have just written and illustrated my own book The Fox and The Star, published by Penguin in August 2015.

I have been commissioned by a wide range of clients including The New York Times, Marks and Spencer, Waterstones and Diageo.”





The Fox and the Star

The Fox and the Star


Waterstones Book of the Year is Coralie Bickford-Smith’s debut The Fox and the Star. “Inspired by the poetry of Blake, Bickford-Smith’s picture-book fable about grief is awarded top prize for its ‘great physical beauty and timeless quality.’ “

Once there was a Fox who lived in a deep, dense forest. For as long as Fox could remember, his only friend has been Star, who lit the forest paths each night, But then one night Star was not there, and Fox had to face the forest all alone.

A story about love, loss and learning to accept change. The Fox and the Star is Coralie’s first work as an author/illustrator.


Design by Coralie

Cover design, by Coralie


Tell me about Coralie the young girl, and the young artist?

I remember painting my own copy of Andy Warhol’s banana at the age of 6. I blue-tacked it above my bed. I remember it being very important to me for the reason I loved bananas a lot and Andy Warhol had made such a great job of painting my favourite fruit. I wish it had been because I was a Velvet Underground fan at the age of 6. I painted the banana on grey sugar paper and the yellow paint was beautifully bold against it. I was always making things, drawing and painting. I painted what I loved. I remember cans of fizzy drinks eventually making their arrival into our home and I drew and drew these cans obsessively.


When did your love of books emerge, and was there one memorable childhood read?

I was surrounded by books as a child, my mother had an enormous respect for them. When we visited our grandparents we all went to our favourite second-hand book shop and got to choose any books we wanted for our holiday reading. It was a big deal and extremely exciting. My sister was really into The Famous Five and I was totally into The Secret Seven books. It all sounded so cosy and the home made lemonade sounded divine.


Did you know where you were heading when you got to University, and if not, when was your direction clear?

Yes, by the time I was going to university I had found my direction. University gave me the confidence to follow my chosen direction, it gave me the possibility to dream for the first time, that I might actually become a designer. There were tough times but I had people who were supporting me who made sure I never dropped off the radar. I belonged to a group of people for the first time who shared my passions and I had never thought it was possible that I would fit in anywhere.


What was the first big break in your career?

Everything that I experienced was a small step towards a career that I now love. There was never a pivotal moment where I felt like I had a big break, which early on in my career was frustrating. But everything I learned fed into the next thing and so on. I appreciate all the experiences I have had and am yet to have as I am constantly evolving and growing.


Which project established you firmly in the industry?

Design by Coralie

Penguin Classics covers, by Coralie

I think the Penguin Cloth Classics were the series that seemed to resonate with people the most. I love the material we use, the cloth with the matt pigment foil stamped into the covers. This is the work I get the most emails about from collectors eager to learn what new titles I am working on.


Which project has most stretched your creativity?

Pastry box, by Coralie

Pastry box, by Coralie

Every project has stretched me creatively in its time. I am never happy or satisfied, always picking holes in my own work. Always striving. So the last project that stretched me was The Fox and The Star. Now it is the idea for a new book. I am already having great waves of anxiety about my abilities. I think this is normal as if I was content with my work I might lose some of the magic that people see in it. I always want to be stretched creatively, it means I’m alive.


What inspires your eye?

All sorts of things, I have anthropomorphic tendencies that trigger something in me creatively. I find myself examining objects lying out of context in the street. How does it feel? What is its back story? When I approach book covers I like to think about the whole object not just the design. I like things to come alive and tell their stories.


Are you having fun with The Fox and the Star attention?

The attention is beyond my wildest dreams, but its about letting the book go and moving on to the next project. I love the process of creating. I think that the attention that Fox is getting means he now has his own life, and in a way I am no longer part of him. I have to let go like he did. I want the book to be what it needs to be for the people that relate to it. A message of hope and positivity that is now separate from me.


The Fox and the Star

The Fox and the Star

…Thank you to magical Maeve Mullally for her friendship and for always finding & sharing the best of everything…HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

DAVID IRELAND – San Francisco’s Most Famous Art Home

January 17, 2016

David Ireland with Broom Collection (1978)

  The first time I had the honor to walk into the home at 500 Capp Street of the renowned artist in 2001, about whom I knew very little, I realized it was a special place. I was introduced by the Director of Crown Point Press, Valerie Wade, a friend of Ireland. Ireland was elderly […]

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Albertopoulis…the V&A…and an “extremely capacious handbag”

December 25, 2015


  Happy & Beautiful Holidays to all our Boulevardiers & Readers…thank you for another inspiring year!   The Boulevardiers recently did London, from top to bottom, Shakespeare to the Houses of Parliament, to Bond Street & Saville Row, to museums, many, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, which is really one of the wonders of […]

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MICHAEL HEIZER: The man who moves mountains

October 27, 2015

Michael Heizer on his desert ranch  with Potato Chip
Credit:  Isaac Breeken, New York Times

  THE MOST PROMINENT EARTH SCULPTOR IN THE WORLD, Michael Heizer has experienced a resurgence in his work, as evidenced by his recent exhibition at Gagosian Gallery in New York this summer, which The Boulevardiers had the pleasure of viewing. As a neophyte in art reviewing, just awarded my NEA grant as an ‘emerging critic,’ […]

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When in Milan … Expo 2015

September 19, 2015


The Boulevardiers have been to EXPO 2015. We were impressed, surprised, entertained, humbled, underwhelmed, treated to a world-class press tour of the Switzerland pavillion, in awe of the Korea pavilion, left with big thoughts, and big questions. Sustainability, the ifs ands and buts are resoundingly evident at EXPO 2015, more here. Does this drive all […]

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Flaming June, and other Pre-Raphaelites

July 19, 2015

Sir Frederic Leighton’s 1895 painting Flaming June. Photograph: Museo de Arte de Ponce

“PAINT the leaves as they grow! If you can paint one leaf, you can paint the world.” John Ruskin The Guardian, Friday, May 1, 2015: A remarkable study for Flaming June, one of the best known of all Pre-Raphaelite paintings, has been discovered hanging discreetly behind a bedroom door in an English country mansion. I […]

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John Heartfield…Abandoned in a field by his parents as a child…

May 29, 2015

Nascido Helmut Herzfeld

  “I lost my parents in 1899 and thereafter lived as an orphan with different families.”   John Heartfield managed to rise to a distinguished career as a graphic designer after a very challenging childhood, founding a publishing house, Malik-Verlag in 1917, with the renowned artist George Grosz, one of this publisher’s favorite artists.  Both […]

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Emancipation & Esteem

May 27, 2015

Juneteenth Flyer Musician

65th Annual SF Juneteenth Celebration Commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation “The Journey Continues” Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day, Freedom Day, or Emancipation Day, is a holiday in the United States that commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. state of Texas in June 1865, and more […]

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Save the date: May 9th, 2015 ~ Fondazione Prada

May 8, 2015


On May 9th Fondazione Prada, Largo Isarco 3, Milano, will be open to the public from 10 am to 9pm.     Once a former distillery, in the industrial south section of Milan–8,900 square meters, it is now the home of the biggest, and arguably, this city’s most exciting contemporary art space. The new location […]

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In the Studio: Photographs

April 11, 2015

Photograph by Constantin Brancusi, 
View of the studio: Plato, Mademoiselle Pogany II, and Golden Bird, c. 1920; © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris

  An ambitious exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue, curated by Peter Galassi, rustles up many issues. As Roberta Smith quoted in the New York Times: “…trophy-curators. Clout is definitely on display here, contributing to that heady combination of overt excellence and subtle vulgarity that may be something of a Gagosian specialty.” The […]

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“I would rather sleep in a bathroom than in another hotel.” Billy Wilder

March 8, 2015


    Just In Case The Raphael is Booked                                                      …by Jerry Bowles                                                                         There is nothing quite as deliciously self-indulgent or decadent as a great hotel. Hemingway wasn’t whistling Dixie when he said “Whenever I dream of afterlife in Heaven, the action always takes place at the Paris Ritz.” Papa loved the […]

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William Randolph Hearst ~ Boulevardier of the Year

January 18, 2015


~~~~~~     WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, your readers might like it. ~WRH   One of the most telling descriptions, for better or worse, is the fact that his Senator father, George Hearst, willed his entire fortune upon his death in 1895 to his wife, Phoebe, stating that his […]

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How to be Successful in the Arts 101… Shear Madness

December 31, 2014


    “I’ll never forget my first words in the theatre. Peanuts. Popcorn.” Henny Youngman     What happens when 2 actors from upstate New York decide to pursue their dreams, buy the rights to a murder-mystery written in German, by Swiss playwright Paul Portner for $50,000, turn it into a comedy, and spend another […]

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Boulevardiering — the verb

December 12, 2014


  The Boulevardiers are proud of and bemused by the mileage and velocity we are encouraging via our use of the term Boulevardiering (our Twitter name). We are Boulevardiers, indeed Chesterfieldian, flâneurs, fops, walking-stick nuts, so are most of our friends, and garnering that curiosity and energy is the reason we started this publication over […]

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Arnold Newman – Master Class in Portraiture

November 25, 2014

Arnold Newman, Sir Cecil Beaton, photographer and designer, Broadchalke, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, 1978.

Photography of Photographers   Portraiture is about revelations.  Either for the subject or the artist.  So often in painting, El Greco, or Singer Sargent – exemplified by his most famous portrait, Madam X, the subject is somewhat incidental, especially out of the cultural context of the era.  But in photography, the subject is paramount.  Some […]

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The Era of AREA ~ New York’s most revered club

October 31, 2014

AREA partygoers, from Photos from Area--1983-1987, by Eric Goode and Jennifer Goode, Abrams Books, photograph by

In 1983 a nightclub opened in Manhattan unlike any before it. Minimally named “AREA,” the club would set a new precedent not only in the nightlife world, but also in the art world. More precisely, during its relatively short reign from 1983-1987, AREA represented a heady commingling of these two worlds. While its chronological precedent […]

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“Nothing should be noticed.”

October 12, 2014

Marella Agnelli, Truman Capote, and Bunny Mellon, with unidentified man, lunching at Lafayette the day after Capote's Black and White ball

“I don’t know what I’ve done that has made people so interested in me, more than anyone else.” Imagine being Bunny Mellon. From Listerine heiress, to Paul Mellon’s wife, to designer of the White House Rose Garden, to age 103 and upon her death 1000+ items from her collection donated to the National Gallery of […]

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Elwood Smith – Today’s Dagwood

September 28, 2014


    Elwood H. Smith is an illustrator who speaks a language that appeals to various strata of readers.  I can remember my father laughing out loud at the comics. I have read The New York Times for thirty-five years, and they deign to include the ‘comics’ for it’s low brow aesthetic.  That is fine […]

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Italy: Non abbastanza monete nella fontana…

September 11, 2014

La Dolce Vita, and the Trevi Fountain

  Non abbastanza monete nella fontana…not enough coins in the fountain! Italy has the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, currently 75. In a country which bleeds culture, history is an irreplaceable natural resource. We have seen first-hand that Italy is crumbling. To the rescue come some legendary names in fashion […]

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Portrait of a Photographer as a Young Man

August 26, 2014

Self-Portrait, Monument Valley, Utah
1958, Photograph by Ansel Adams, Collection Center for Creative Photography, © The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

  ANSEL ADAMS FORMATIVE YEARS     Born at the turn of the century, Adams grew up in the hinterlands of dunes and beaches of the City of San Francisco.  Descending from Maine stock, originally from Northern Ireland, the Adams Family created a niche in the physical and social scene of San Francisco.  Ansel could […]

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Comic CONsciousness

August 10, 2014


“The great thing about the comics industry is that it’s driven by passion …it isn’t driven by money.” Royden Lepp, graphic novelist, The New York Times, 7/28/14 The New York Times: Armed Animals Don’t Invent Themselves ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Character Creators Fight for Cash and Credit “Like millions of moviegoers over the weekend, Bill […]

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Good Days and Bad Hair Days

July 29, 2014


  I never knew that April 30th is National Hairstyle Appreciation Day … but that’s another day and a different story. I’ve been thinking about hair, and styles, and reminiscing. The options are numerous, and hysterical, and just plain ridiculous. Some are so bad, they’ve morphed to good, great or even legendary (in their own […]

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CASANOVA: (Catalan or Latin, casa ‘house’ + nova ‘new’) Lover; a man who is a promiscuous and unscrupulous lover

July 12, 2014

Giacomo Girolamo Casanova, painting by 
Alessandro Longhi

    Giacomo Girolamo Casanova: Synonymous with lovemaking charm and persuasion, even since Casanova’s death in 1798, his name evokes and defines the same person to this day. In today’s vernacular, “Womanizing.” Despite his impoverished condition and position at his death in Bohemia, Giacomo Girolamo Casanova’s memoir fetched a stunning figure in 2010 by the Bibliotheque […]

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Fair Cecily, and other fair-weather friends

June 29, 2014

Rex Whistler; Cecil Beaton; Georgia Sitwell; Sir William Turner Walton; Stephen Tennant; Zita Jungman; Teresa Jungman, photograph by Cecil Beaton

  All I want is the best of everything and there’s very little of that left. Never in the history of fashion has so little material been raised so high to reveal so much that needs to be covered so badly. What is elegance? Soap and water! …quotes by Cecil Beaton   I have an […]

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An Ephemeral Awareness — Death and the Coming of War

June 21, 2014

BA ephemeral

When we arrived in Lagos, Nigeria, in January, 1966, one of the most unusual thing that we saw were tanks in the streets and soldiers behind sand bags around government buildings.  In the following days we learned that some government officials, senior military leaders and the Sultan of Sokoto had been killed during a coup […]

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Machu Picchu — “The First Tourist”

June 9, 2014

Machu Picchu, prior to excavation

      “The Explorer” by Rudyard Kipling, “Something lost behind the Ranges.  Lost and waiting for you. Go!” The Boulevardiers have been to the mountain, and climbed it. Machu Picchu, the Old Peak…and Huayna Picchu, the New Peak, to be exact. Sources noted below have reviewed its “discovery”. There is no clear and definitive […]

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Black Mountain College ~ America’s Most Creative Art School

May 10, 2014

blind_accordion_player (1)

The New York Times has titled Black Mountain College as one of “six nodes of progressive culture in America.”  Founded in 1933 by John Andrew Rice,  there were innumerable renowned artists that pasted through these hallowed halls for such a  limited period of existence, including Robert Rauschenberg, Ben Shahn, and Joseph Albers — who brought the […]

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Whitney Biennial ~ a meaningful surfeit

April 14, 2014

There was a time when the Whitney Biennial was the much-anticipated barometer of the state of American art…   Whether praised or reviled, everyone could be counted on to have an opinion. This year, as has been the case for some time, the Biennial is just another blur in the bombardment of art as excess […]

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Ironing One’s Shoelaces

April 1, 2014

Coco Chanel gown, 1938

  Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends…. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.  ~Henry David Thoreau Vintage has always been at the top of my list, the visual, touch, feel, quality. I would rather spend hours, weeks, months, years amidst the old wood cases of museum costume […]

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Laces of The Boot — Campania, Italy

February 25, 2014

View from Centola, Campania, Italy, photograph by Kim Steele

    The Cape of Palinuro is a delicious slice of timeless travel, it is a sight to behold along the Cilento coast…we hesitate a bit in saying this, as it is sort of a secret…   According to Virgil´s ancient legend, Aeneas´ unfortunate helmsman Palinuro fell overboard close to the coast, giving his name […]

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Да мы будет смотреть за — Sochi Olympics 2014, Yes we will be watching!

February 7, 2014


    “Жаркие. Зимние. Твои,” Translation: “Hot. Cool. Yours.”   OK, Boulevardiers & curmudgeons unite. Enough griping about the Sochi Olympics (scary sad story here from the Atlantic). Of course we are red, white & blue, through & through, and starting tonight, we will be watching with pride. Olympic events give us an opportunity to […]

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Gian Lorenzo BERNINI ~ The Great Sculptor

January 26, 2014

Rendering of The Louvre, by Gianlorenzo Bernini

~ Gian Lorenzo BERNINI ~   “He is so adept at imitating, without affectation, what was most perfect in nature that anyone who studied his works was left in doubt as to which was greater, his artistry or his mastery in hiding it.” Domenico An artist of such renown, that Gian Lorenzo Bernini is synonymous […]

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David Foster Wallace — Being A Ghost

January 6, 2014

David Foster Wallace, photograph by Giovanni Giovannetti, Effigie

For the writer, David Foster Wallace, “every love story is a ghost story”, because for David Foster Wallace, being a person was like being a ghost.     David Foster Wallace suffered extreme self-consciousness, day in and day out.  He obsessed about sweating, brushed his teeth and gargled for 45 minutes at a time, mixed […]

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December 1, 2013

C.E.R.N Atlas

~ From ~ The New York Times, Sunday Review, EXPOSURES, December 1, 2013 “MACHINE AGE” by The Boulevardiers Founder & Publisher ~ Photographer KIM STEELE ~ Form and function has always fascinated me.  Turning structure into form has been my goal for almost forty years.  Fascinated by architecture, as well as industry, I am ever drawn to capture […]

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Bell Labs — Our Scientific Heritage

November 11, 2013


In 1880, the French government awarded Alexander Graham Bell the Volta Prize of 50,000 francs (approximately US$10,000 at that time), about $250,000 in current dollars. His telephone was the invention that won the award, which he used to found the Volta Laboratory, along with Sumner Tainter and Bell’s cousin Chichester Bell.         The Volta Laboratory and the Volta Bureau […]

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