It was hot in Germany, this summer. Forty degrees Celsius in the shade. Which is the equivalent of 104 Fahrenheit for the entire two days of the Young and Free Festival in Nuremberg, Germany.
We were on the festival grounds where Hitler held his Reich rallies prior to any and all invasion forces having been deployed by ’39. The bucolic beauty and the elegance of the Nuremberg landscape had been the backdrop where all of Leni Riefenstahl films where produced. The propaganda machine hammered out it’s iconic statements here in this field. No better place for the “Woodstock Wall of Peace” and The Artists for Peace and the Environment” art panels, I thought to myself as I first walked the grounds. There was nothing to hear but the resounding dead memories that rang in the air. No music, that was to come. More of a lack of sound. A pity they, the unheard sounds of the many, cluttered and vied with the earthy perfume of an ancient Bavarian beauty, that must have always prevailed here. Let intolerance slug it out with “Love, Peace and Rock and Roll”.
I had brought images of Jimi Hendrix. One painted by an unknown and the other by Tico Torres the consummate drummer for Bon Jovi. The backdrop was a most beautiful clear blue sky. Hail Hail Rock and Roll.
The beastly hot weather usually followed these “Woodstock” works. I gathered the wood art panels that Michael Lang had commissioned, and Mel Lawrence had overseen, for the ’99 Woodstock show, in Rome NY. The weather had been ninety-five the day I was in the warehouse collecting 27 images for shipping to DieterSchnieder this year. I was remembering the heat of the installation days at the Griffith’s Air Force Base in ’99. Always this scorching heat in the nineties. Few panels had survived the show and the search through the warehouse was particularly dusty, black and thick after six years of sitting. I reflected upon the day Mel Lawrence and I had met in Kingston NY to review the ’94 wood panels. Another hot day in a warehouse. My dogs, Fluffy and Pearl were with me then. That was the day we decided on the “Peace, Art and The Environment” theme. This year Pearl had been too old to take upstate. Fluffy’s been gone for a while.
Months of negotiation had culminated with the shipping of the works for display at the “Young and Free Festival.” I was to be a guest of the Schneider’s and the Bavarian Government representing Michael Lang and Woodstock. This was a vision Dieter had seen in ’99 at the outset. We had spoken of it back then when his “Get Back” photos by Lisa Law, Elliot Landy and Henry Dietz, were displayed in the tent Michael had erected for the “Environment” canvases. Dieter had held the vision.
Funny, I always viewed Michael’s concepts as stellar and amorphic, difficult to define or contain but far-reaching. Perfect fodder for art. First we had peace and love closing the thruway in New York State in ’69. Then we had the reliving of nostalgic peace and love in ’94 creating over half a mile of wooden art panels. This later developed into the “Not your Parents Woodstock” of 1999 with another set of art panels surrounding the outer parameters of the show grounds.
The festivals definitely had their own personas. The last was what I considered to be a precursor of a world about to change. Energy and movement are more easily conveyed in music and art than any other form.
Herr Freller The Bavarian MInister of Culture and Jamie Ellin Forbes
This is what I thought Michael had reflected. Woodstock events channeled the currents of change. Michael is a great editor of the generational exchange as Aristotel would have seen it. Simply a mirror image of the idea.
Michael offered a stage upon which ideas could find a meeting ground with people. Pretty impressive and open minded if you ask me. It was my hope this would be true in Nuremberg. So I had packed with the aid of my friend and partner Anatoli, thirty canvas panels in three cylinders, which I carried on the plane. The packing was a strategic accomplishment and Anatoli was great. They were now to be unpacked and displayed on these famous grounds.
Mr. Borhm, founder “People to People” after signing, additional art panels, painted by the children of Nuremberg for the continuing Peace Wall. Charitable donations were made online during the festival for “People to People”, matched by Siemens Computer.
My tent was very hot and my helpers young, hopefully free. All had come full circle in my world. We had less than two hours to hang and no hanging material. This was also the “karma” that haunted the canvas panels. My helper went in search of metal clips. There is a Staples in Nuremburg.
Two visitors to our exhibit from the German cast of Queen
Fiona Smyth’s mantra of tantric design seemed to speak to me on this July 27,2005 in the city of Nuremburg inside the hot tent of the coliseum. Her canvas picture appeared to have been painted with this setting in mind. I reflected if it was possible for Fiona to have had a meditative moment and seen the Documentation Center, Reichsparteigelande in Nuremberg, down the road. Her work a small microcosm with in the great Macro-cosmos. I decided yes.
Fiona Smyth’s Woodstock ’99 canvas, 8′ x 4′
Here two distinct ideological concepts, existed side by side, in direct opposition, housed and displayed on old cultural cross roads. Peace and love and the other. The same beautiful pool of reflection that is seen in Fiona’s painting is in the center of the city. A lake where at night, in the evening Nuremberg shadows, dancing with the moon, I could imagine some beautiful nymph emerging to help a hapless or hopeless fellow find true meaning or love. The lake and the history of the city had brought the Reich , to hold it’s rallies. Dieter Schneider had had brought the wall of peace to be a reminder of tolerance.
Kids were beginning to pass in front of our tent as we finished. Just like in ‘99 the young people came in and out to see the art. To witness the visual voice of creativity. I though in ‘99 and once again now . Michael Lang’s plans for several days of a “Musical Antiquarian Festival” had rocked a nation, a generation, and the world in 69’. Lets see what it would do here. I looked at the canvases as we finished and spent some time admiring Stan Natchez’s “ I Will Fight No More Forever” A homage to the slaughter of Sioux women and children by the US Calvary at “Wounded Knee”. Their transgression had been Ghost Dancing. Stan’s was a personal favorite of mine. This painting too seem to have a special meaning here. Not all peoples are tolerant at all times. To this I have been a witness.
Steve Zaluski’s tribute to a friend, Woodstock ’99, 48” x 48”
There was such a small voice I heard my inside person saying , “Not all canvases had come”. My mental rhetoric began to build. Then I remembered the about the ‘Light behind the Mind’ and my favorite poem “The thunder, Perfect Mind”.
In this poem the embodiment of the feminine divine as viewed by the Gnostic Christians of the 2nd century is given a voice of poetry. She bellows out a powerful directive, regarding the fate of those who stand in the path of love, light and knowledge.
This poem is not distinctly Jewish, Christian or Gnostic, but proclaims the voice of the transcendental , the incomprehensible the unfathomable greatness inherently surrounding us all at all times. I looked at the traditional Russian folk art painting done by Yuri Gorbachev, the “Cross of Flowers” by Kevin Kelly. My eyes traveled the room, I took in the great Pop work of Ron English. I saw that all of art looked as if the pieces could have been commissioned for this setting.
Almaz and Kharlhienz Borhm, with their presentation donation photo on behalf of Much-en de Much-en “People to People” ,Mr. Borhmʼs foundation which aids the children of Ethiopia in cooperation with UNICEF.
Each had a relevance to the events in a universal way reminiscent of the summer of Love, and the 1969 event, a reminder that Dieter Schneider wanted the school children to be exposed to. Sometimes the simplest statements are the most difficult to make. As John Lennon stated so clearly “All we are saying is give peace a chance.”
Steve Matrick of Better Music
They would be seen by the German cast of Queen, the Minister of Culture, Herr Freller, The Corporate sponsor of Seidmans Computers, my most gracious host of the tent. They would be the photographic back drop of the presentation thanking Michael Lang and Dieter Schneider for affording me the opportunityto share this art with you. This is “art in process” of a good many people and a great work effort over a long period of time. It has been with the assistance of Steve Matrick and Victor Forbes that I was able to pursue this path for this last six years. I seemed to be the only fool to be out in the noon day sun without a hat, watching the sky for signs of art life. Feeling the earth under my feet for acceptance. I always think I have found both. I am lucky to have friends who have supported and put up with my pursuits.
It is the hope and plan of Dieter to have this art forum continue and expand. We will bring this work, show and extrapolate, to development further with school children in Germany, the US and other additional panel and show sights. The “Wall of Peace” that the award winning documentary film maker Mel Lawrence started has wings and will soar to distant lands. There is a distinct possibility that the “Wall of Peace” will extend and reach around the world. All this takes is a vision, and a good mental plan. #fineartmagazine