Life Lessons, with a Pinch of Salt
On an upturn during the downturn and in the fast lane during the slow down, Santa Fe-based Radius Books is putting out impressive volumes with more regularity than other publishing projects are silencing the presses and shuttering the doors.
Among its latest offerings is Beaumont’s Kitchen: Lessons on Food, Life, and Photography with Beaumont Newhall, which contains essays and photographs by a generous swath of the famed curator, photographer and historian’s peers and associates. It’s a thoughtful and eye-popping volume, populated with rich narrative, both written and visual. It’s a quirky, lovable book.
Radius publications are stored in a glass-fronted case in my house, kept safe from dust and casual fingers, but Beaumont’s Kitchen is more likely to be found near my own kitchen, where I can raid his notes on making home fries or muse on MaLin Wilson-Powell’s recollection of how Newhall learned to make a perfect omelet from George Eastman. Don’t think wrong of me if I stain a Henri Cartier-Bresson plate with tomato sauce or an Ansel Adams with almond oil—I’m simply using the book as feels proper.
The book is segregated into meal courses and contains recipes and numerous excerpts from Newhall’s little-remembered food column, “Epicure Corner.”
Notably, the introductory essay is by David Scheinbaum, the Santa Fe-based photographer who worked with Newhall during the last 15 years of Newhall’s life. It’s a revealing portrait of Newhall and a kind of coming of age story for Scheinbaum. Under Newhall’s wing, Scheinbaum develops as an artist, a scholar and an appreciator of life. Several excellent photographs by Janet Russek, Scheinbaum’s partner in both business and life, punctuate the book as well. One doesn’t always think of portraits of vegetables and fruits as haunting and timeless, but these fit the bill.
Son of Garage Scene
Whatever Scheinbaum and Russek learned in a long association with Newhall, they surely must have tried to pass on to their son, Zac Scheinbaum.
Like his parents and Newhall, the younger Scheinbaum is unsatisfied by making his own artwork in isolation and is intrigued by curating and arranging works. With his associate, Meghan Tomeo, Scheinbaum recently launched Pennbrick Gallery, a project that consumes two old garages for one night events/exhibitions.
The inaugural event, Shitty Drawings and Boring Videos, mostly transcended its deadpan, derisive title. One space was dedicated to drawings and the other to videos. In the first room, some fine line work by James Burke was the most captivating, a visual strain between comic books and icon painting. The rest of the work ranged from eyebrow-raising to “really?—is this what the kids are calling ‘irony’ these days?”
The video room, although contained museum-style with sit-down benches and a single projection, radiated a more ambitious agenda. Szymon Gdowicz and Nina Yuen exhibited very different, but equally compelling, works alongside Tomeo.
The exhibition, in balance, was greater than the sum of its parts, drawing parallels between traditional mark making and mark making through a lens or upon the surface of a captured, projected image.
Pennbrick’s next exhibition, scheduled for June 26, is A Different Kind of Something: Untold Legends, New Mythologies.