FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 172 Nat Hentoff, historian,atheist, pro-life advocate, novelist, jazz and country music critic, and syndicated columnist (Featured artist is Carmen Herrera )

Nat Hentoff on Free Speech, Jazz, and FIRE

“An early admirer of Bob Dylan, Hentoff wrote the liner notes for Dylan’s second album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.

Image result for nat hentoff bob dylan

Nat Hentoff like and Milton Friedman and John Hospers was a hero to Libertarians. Over the years I had the opportunity to correspond with some prominent Libertarians such as Friedman and Hospers. Friedman was very gracious, but Hospers was not. I sent a cassette tape of Adrian Rogers on Evolution to John Hospers in May of 1994 which was the 10th anniversary of Francis Schaeffer’s passing and I promptly received a typed two page response from Dr. John Hospers. Dr. Hospers had both read my letter and all the inserts plus listened to the whole sermon and had some very angry responses. If you would like to hear the sermon from Adrian Rogers and read the transcript then refer to my earlier post at this link.  Earlier I posted the comments made by Hospers in his letter to me and you can access those posts by clicking on the links in the first few sentences of this post or you can just google “JOHN HOSPERS FRANCIS SCHAEFFER” or “JOHN HOSPERS ADRIAN ROGERS.”

Image result for john hospers francis schaeffer



Image result for nat hentoff milton friedman

Likewise I read a lot of material from Nat Hentoff and I wrote him several letters. In the post I will include one of those letters.

Nat Hentoff on abortion

Published on Nov 5, 2016


Nat Hentoff

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nat Hentoff
Hentoff bio.jpg
Born Nathan Irving Hentoff
June 10, 1925
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died January 7, 2017 (aged 91)
New York, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Columnist, historian, novelist, music critic
Spouse(s) Miriam Sargent (m. 1950; divorced)
Trudi Bernstein (1954–1959; divorced; 2 children)
Margot Goodman (1959–2017 his death; 2 children)

Nathan IrvingNatHentoff (June 10, 1925 – January 7, 2017) was an American historian, novelist, jazz and country music critic, and syndicated columnist for United Media. Hentoff was the jazz critic for The Village Voice from 1958 to 2009.[1] Following his departure from The Village Voice, Hentoff moved his music column to The Wall Street Journal, which published his work until his death. He often wrote on First Amendment issues, vigorously defending the freedom of the press.

Hentoff was formerly a columnist for Down Beat, JazzTimes, Legal Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Progressive, Editor & Publisher and Free Inquiry. He was a staff writer for The New Yorker, and his writing was also published in The New York Times, Jewish World Review, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Commonweal and in the Italian Enciclopedia dello Spettacolo.

Early life[edit]

Hentoff was born in Boston, Massachusetts on June 10, 1925,[2][3] the son of Lena (née Katzenberg) and Simon Hentoff.[2] As a teen, he attended Boston Latin School[2][3] and worked for Frances Sweeney on the Boston City Reporter, investigating antisemitic hate groups. Sweeney was a major influence on Hentoff; his memoir, Boston Boy, is dedicated to her.[4][5] He was awarded his B.A. with the high honors from Northeastern University[2][6][7] and did graduate work at Harvard University.[6][7] In 1950, he was a Fulbright fellow at the Sorbonne in Paris.[6][7]


Hentoff began his career in broadcast journalism while also hosting a weekly jazz program on WMEX, a Boston radio station.[8] In the 1940s, he hosted two radio shows on WMEX: JazzAlbum and From Bach To Bartók.[9] Hentoff continued to do a jazz program on WMEX into the early 1950s, and during that period was an announcer on WGBH-FM on a program called Evolution of Jazz. By the late 1950s, he was co-hosting a program called The Scope of Jazz on WBAI-FM in New York City.[10] He went on to author numerous books on jazz and politics.[2]

Hentoff joined Down Beat magazine as a columnist in 1952.[11] From 1953 through 1957, he was an associate editor of Down Beat.[6][12] He was fired in 1957 after allegedly trying to hire an African-American writer.[13][8]

Hentoff co-authored with Nat Shapiro Hear Me Talkin’ to Ya: The Story of Jazz by the Men Who Made It (1955).[2] The book features interviews with jazz musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington.[9] Hentoff co-founded The Jazz Review in 1958,[2][9][14] a magazine that he co-edited with Martin Williams until 1961.[14] In 1960, Hentoff served as the A&R director of the short-lived jazz label Candid Records, which released albums by Charles Mingus, Cecil Taylor and Max Roach, among others.[14][15]

Hentoff became a member of the Board of Directors of The Jazz Foundation of America in 2002,[16] and worked with the foundation to help save homes and lives of America’s elderly jazz and blues musicians,[9] including musicians who survived Hurricane Katrina. Hentoff wrote multiple articles to draw attention to the plight of America’s pioneering musicians of jazz and blues. These articles were published in the Wall Street Journal[17] and the Village Voice.[18]

Beginning in February 2008, Hentoff was a weekly contributing columnist at[19] In January 2009, the Village Voice, which had regularly published Hentoff’s commentary and criticism for fifty years, announced that he had been laid off.[2][20] In February 2009, Hentoff joined the libertarian Cato Institute as a senior fellow.[21][12]

In 2013, a biographical film about Hentoff, entitled The Pleasures of Being Out of Step explored his career in jazz and as a First Amendment advocate. The independent documentary, directed by David L. Lewis,[2][22] won the Grand Jury prize in the Metropolis competition at the DOC NYC festival[23] and played in theaters across the country.[2]

Political commentary[edit]

Hentoff was known as a civil libertarian, free speech activist,[24] anti-death penalty advocate and anti-abortion advocate.[3][12] He supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq,[20][3] and the State of Israel.[3] Hentoff espoused generally liberal views on domestic policy and civil liberties, but in the 1980s, he began articulating more socially conservative positions—opposition to abortion, voluntary euthanasia, and the selective medical treatment of severely disabled infants.[25] Hentoff argued that a consistent life ethic should be the viewpoint of a genuine civil libertarian, arguing that all human rights are at risk when the rights of any one group of people are diminished, that human rights are interconnected, and people deny others’ human rights at their own peril.[25]

While at one time a longtime supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Hentoff became a vocal critic of the organization for its advocacy of government-enforced university and workplace speech codes.[26] He served on the board of advisors for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, another civil liberties group. Hentoff’s book Free Speech for Me—But Not for Thee outlines his views on free speech and excoriates those whom he feels favor censorship in any form.[2]

Hentoff was critical of Clinton Administration for the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.[27] He also criticized the Bush Administration for policies such as the Patriot Act and other civil liberties restrictions on the basis of homeland security. An ardent critic of the Bush administration’s expansion of presidential power, Hentoff in 2008 called for the new president to deal with the “noxious residue of the Bush-Cheney war against terrorism”. Among the national security casualties have been, according to Hentoff, “survivors, if they can be found, of CIA secret prisons (“black sites“); victims of CIA kidnapping renditions; and American citizens locked up indefinitely as “unlawful enemy combatants”.[28] He advocated prosecuting members of the Bush administration, including lawyer John Yoo, for war crimes.[29]

Hentoff stated that while he had been prepared to enthusiastically support Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, his view changed after looking into Obama’s voting record on abortion. During President Obama’s first year, Hentoff praised him for ending policies of CIA renditions, but has criticized him for failing to fully end George W. Bush‘s practice of state torture of prisoners.[30] In a May 2014 column, titled My Pro-Constitution Choice for President, Hentoff voiced his support for Kentucky Senator Rand Paul‘s potential 2016 run for president. Hentoff cited Paul’s support for civil liberties, particularly his stand against the indefinite detention clauses in the National Defense Authorization Act as well as Paul’s opposition to the Obama administration’s use of drones against American citizens.[31] Hentoff subsequently rescinded his endorsement of Paul in light of the Senator’s support for normalizing relations with Cuba and his failure to completely repeal the Patriot Act.[32]

Awards and honors[edit]

Hentoff was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 1972.[33] He was awarded the American Bar Association‘s Silver Gavel Award in 1980 for his columns on law and criminal justice.[7] In 1983, he was awarded the American Library Association‘s Imroth Award for Intellectual Freedom.[7] In 1985, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws by Northeastern University.[34][6][12] In 1995, Hentoff was given the National Press Foundation‘s Award for lifetime distinguished contributions to journalism.[2][35][7] In 2004, Hentoff was named one of six NEA Jazz Masters by the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts, the first non-musician to win this award.[2] That same year, the Boston Latin School honored him as alumnus of the year. In 2005, Hentoff was honored by the Human Life Foundation at their third annual “Great Defender of Life” dinner.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Hentoff grew up attending an Orthodox synagogue in Boston. He recalls that as a youth, he and his father during the High Holidays would travel the city to listen to various cantors and compare notes on their performances. He said that cantors made “sacred texts compellingly clear to the heart,” and he collected their recordings.[36] In later life, Hentoff was an atheist[37][24] and has sardonically described himself as “a member of the Proud and Ancient Order of Stiff-Necked Jewish Atheists“.[38][39] He expressed sympathy for Israel’s Peace Now movement.[40]

Hentoff married three times, first to Miriam Sargent in 1950; the marriage was childless and the couple divorced that same year.[41] His second wife was Trudi Bernstein, whom he married on 2 September 1954, and with whom he had two children, Jessica and Miranda.[41] He divorced his second wife in August 1959.[41] On 15 August 1959, he married his third wife, Margot Goodman, whom he had two children: Nicholas and Thomas.[41] The couple remained together until Hentoff’s death in 2017.[2]

He died of natural causes in his Manhattan apartment on January 7, 2017, at the age of 91.[3] Survivors include his wife, Margot Goodman; two sons, Nicholas and Thomas; two daughters, Jessica and Miranda; a stepdaughter, Mara Wolynski Nierman; a sister, Janet Krauss; and 10 grandchildren.[2]



  • Hear Me Talkin’ to Ya: The Story of Jazz as Told by the Men who Made it, with Nat Shapiro (1955)[2]
  • The Jazz Makers, with Nat Shapiro (1957)[8]
  • The Jazz Life ISBN 0-306-80088-8 (1961)[2][42]
  • Peace Agitator: The Story of A. J. Muste. ISBN 0-9608096-0-0 (1963)[2][6]
  • The New Equality (1964)[2][6]
  • Our Children Are Dying (with John Holt) (1967)[6]
  • A Doctor Among the Addicts (1968)[6]
  • A Political Life: The Education of John V. Lindsay (1969)[42]
  • Journey into Jazz (1971)[42]
  • Jazz Is (1976)[8]
  • Does Anybody Give a Damn?: Nat Hentoff on Education (Random House; 1977)[6]
  • The First Freedom: The Tumultuous History of Free Speech in America (1980)[6]
  • American Heroes: In and Out of School (1987)[43]
  • John Cardinal O’Connor: At the Storm Center of a Changing American Catholic Church. ISBN 0-684-18944-5 (1988)[6][42]
  • Free Speech for Me — But Not for Thee: How the American Left and Right Relentlessly Censor Each Other. ISBN 0-06-099510-6 (1993)[2][6]
  • Listen to the Stories: Nat Hentoff on Jazz and Country Music. ISBN 0-06-019047-7 (1995)[6]
  • Living the Bill of Rights: How to Be an Authentic American. ISBN 0-520-21981-3 (1999)[2]
  • The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance. ISBN 1-58322-621-4 (2004)[44]
  • American Music Is (2004)[45]


  • Jazz Country (1965)[2]
  • Call the Keeper (1966)[13]
  • Onwards! (1968)[46]
  • I’m Really Dragged But Nothing Gets Me Down (1968)[47]
  • This School is Driving Me Crazy (1976)[2]
  • Does This School Have Capital Punishment? (1982)[2]
  • Blues for Charlie Darwin (1982)[13]
  • The Day They Came To Arrest The Book (1983)[2][6]
  • The Man from Internal Affairs (1985)[6]



Edited volumes[edit]

  • Hear Me Talkin’ to Ya: The Story of Jazz by the Men Who Made It (with Nat Shapiro) (1955)[2]
  • Black Anti-Semitism and Jewish Racism (1969)[49]
  • Jazz: New Perspectives on the History of Jazz by Twelve of the World’s Foremost Jazz Critics and Scholars ISBN 0-306-80002-0 (with Albert McCarthy) (1975)[50]

External links[edit]


Nat Hentoff on abortion

Published on Nov 5, 2016


Nat Hentoff c/o Cato Institute

May 15, 2014

Dear Mr. Hentoff,

I am a great admirer of 5 men since 1980. Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan, Francis Schaeffer, Dr. C. Everett Koop and Adrian Rogers. In 1980 I first saw the film series FREE TO CHOOSE by Milton and Rose Friedman and also the film series HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? by Francis Schaeffer and WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? by Schaeffer and Koop. (I also saw the film series COSMOS by Sagan.)

I really bought into what all of these film series had to say (except Sagan’s), but I have always been one to read material from the other side in order to challenge my own views. Adrian Rogers is the other person I mentioned and he was my pastor in Memphis where I grew up. He was very pro-life and he instilled in me a passion for the pro-life cause. That is why I have posted so many of your pro-life articles on my blog.

Today I am writing you for two reasons. First, I wanted to appeal to your Jewish Heritage and ask you to take a closer look at some Old Testament scriptures dealing with the land of Israel. Second, I wanted to point out some scientific evidence that caused Antony Flew to switch from an atheist (as you are now) to a theist.  Twenty years I had the opportunity to correspond with two individuals that were regarded as two of the most famous atheists of the 20th Century, Antony Flew and Carl Sagan. (I have enclosed some of those letters between us.) I had read the books and seen the films of the Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer and he had discussed the works of both of these men. I sent both of these gentlemen philosophical arguments from Schaeffer in these letters and in the first letter I sent a cassette tape of my pastor’s sermon IS THE BIBLE TRUE? (CD is enclosed also.) You may have noticed in the news a few years that Antony Flew actually became a theist in 2004 and remained one until his death in 2010. Carl Sagan remained a skeptic until his dying day in 1996.

You will notice in the enclosed letter from June 1, 1994 that Dr. Flew commented, “Thank you for sending me the IS THE BIBLE TRUE? tape to which I have just listened with great interest and, I trust, profit.” It would be a great honor for me if you would take time and drop me a note and let me know what your reaction is to this same message.

Robert Lewis noted that many orthodox Jews believed through the centuries that God would honor the ancient prophecies that predicted that the Jews would be restored to the land of Israel, but then I notice the latest film series on the Jews done by an orthodox Jew seemed to ignore many of these scriptures. Recently I watched the 5 part PBS series Simon Schama’s THE STORY OF THE JEWS, and in the last episode Schama calls Israel “a miracle” but he is hoping that Israel can get along with the non-Jews in the area. Schama noted, “I’ve always thought that Israel is the consummation of some of the highest ethical values of Jewish traditional history, but creating a place of safety and defending it has sometimes challenged those same ethics and values”. There is an ancient book that sheds light on Israel’s plight today, and it is very clear about the struggles between the Jews and their cousins that surround them. It all comes down to what the Book of Genesis had to say concerning Abraham’s son by Hagar.  

Genesis 16:11-12  (NIV)

11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:

“You are now pregnant
    and you will give birth to a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
    for the Lord has heard of your misery.
12 He will be a wild donkey of a man;
    his hand will be against everyone
    and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
    toward all his brothers.”

The first 90 seconds of episode 5 opened though by allowing us all to experience the sirens and silence of that day in Spring, each year, when Israel halts to mark the Holocaust and I actually wept while I thought of those who had died. Schama noted, “”Today around half the Jews in the world live here in Israel. 6 million people. 6 million defeats for the Nazi program of total extermination.”
After World War II Schama tells about the events leading up to the re-birth of Israel.  Here again Schama although a practicing Jewish believer did not bring in scripture to shed light on the issue. David O. Dykes who is pastor of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas has done just that:
The nation of Israel was destroyed in 70 A.D…Beginning in the early 20th century Jews started trickling back into Palestine at the risk of their lives. Then after World War II, the British government was given authority over Palestine and in 1948, Israel became a nation again through the action of the United Nations…This should not have come as a surprise to any Bible scholar, because this regathering of Israel is predicted many times in scripture. The prophet Amos wrote in Chapter 9:

14 And I will bring back the exiles of My people Israel, and they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards and drink the wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat the fruit of them.

15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be torn up out of their land which I gave them, says the Lord your God.

Some people think the Amos prophecy was referring to the return of Israel after their Babylonian captitvity in 586 B.C. But the nation was uprooted in 70 A.D. And notice God said they would “NEVER AGAIN TO BE UPROOTED.”

Even the preservation of their language is a miracle. For centuries, Hebrew was a dead language spoken nowhere in the world. But within the last century, this dead language has been resurrected and now millions of Israelis speak Hebrew...Have you noticed how often Israel is in the news? They are only a small nation about the size of New Jersey.

I have checked out some of the details that David O. Dykes has provided and they check out. Philip Lieberman is a cognitive scientist at Brown University, and in a letter dated in 1995 he told me that only a few other languages besides Hebrew have ever been revived including some American Indian ones along with Celtic.

Also Zechariah 12:3 also verifies the newsworthiness of Israel now:  And in that day I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all peoples; all who lift it or burden themselves with it shall be sorely wounded. And all the nations of the earth shall come and gather together against it.

I do think that Isaiah also predicted the Jews would come from all over the earth back to their homeland Israel. Isaiah 11:11-12 states, “And in that day the Lord shall again lift up His hand a second time to recover (acquire and deliver) the remnant of His people which is left, from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Pathros, from Ethiopia, from Elam [in Persia], from Shinar [Babylonia], from Hamath [in Upper Syria], and from the countries ordering on the [Mediterranean] Sea.  And He will raise up a signal for the nations and will assemble the outcasts of Israel and will gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. (Amplified Bible)

 I was reading  THE BOOK OF DANIEL COMMENTARY (Cambridge University Press, 1900) by the Bible critic  Samuel Rolles Driver, and on page 100 Dr. Driver commented that the country of Israel is obviously a thing of the past and has no place in prophecy in the future and the prophet Daniel was definitely wrong about that.  I wonder what Dr. Driver would say if he lived to see the newspapers today?

In fact, my former pastor Robert Lewis at Fellowship Bible Church in his sermon “Let the Prophets Speak” on 1-31-99 noted that even the great Princeton Theologian Charles Hodge erred in 1871 when he stated:

The argument from the ancient prophecies is proved to be invalid because it would prove too much. If those prophecies foretell a literal restoration, they foretell that the temple is to be rebuilt, the priesthood restored, sacrifices again offered, and that the whole Mosaic ritual is to be observed in all its details, (Systematic Theology. [New York: Charles Scribner & Sons, 1871; reprint Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdman’s Publishing Co., 1949], 3:807).__

Robert Lewis went on to point out that the prophet Amos 2700 years ago predicted the destruction of Aram, Philistia, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab and Israel, but at the end of the Book he said Israel would one day be returned to their land and never removed. We saw from Isaiah 11:11-12 that the Lord “will assemble the outcasts of Israel and will gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” And that certainly did happen after World War II.  I corresponded with some secular Jewish Scholars on this back in the 1990’s such as Irving Kristol and Daniel Bell but they dismissed these type of Old Testament prophecies. In his letter of September 23, 1995, Daniel Bell wrote, “As to the survival of the Jewish people, I think of the remark of Samuel Johnson that there is nothing stronger than the knowledge that one may be hanged the next day to concentrate the mind–or the will.”

After looking at the accuracy of Old Testament, I want to turn my attention to the accuracy of the New Testament. Recently I was reading the book GOD’S NOT DEAD by Rick Broocks and in it he quotes Sir William Ramsay who was a scholar who originally went to Palestine to disprove the Book of Luke. Below is some background info on Ramsay followed by his story.

From Wikipedia:

Sir William Mitchell Ramsay (15 March 1851, Glasgow –20 April 1939) was a Scottish archaeologist and New Testament scholar. By his death in 1939 he had become the foremost authority of his day on the history of Asia Minor and a leading scholar in the study of the New Testament. From the post of Professor of Classical Art and Architecture at Oxford, he was appointed Regius Professor of Humanity (the Latin Professorship) at Aberdeen. Knighted in 1906 to mark his distinguished service to the world of scholarship, Ramsay also gained three honorary fellowships from Oxford colleges, nine honorary doctorates from British, Continental and North American universities and became an honorary member of almost every association devoted to archaeology and historical research. He was one of the original members of the British Academy, was awarded the Gold Medal of Pope Leo XIII in 1893 and the Victorian Medal of the Royal Geographical Society in 1906. 

Sir William Ramsay

William Mitchell Ramsay was born on March 15, 1851 in Glasgow, Scotland. His father was a lawyer, but died when William was just six. Through the hard work of other family members, William attended the University of Aberdeen, achieving honors. Through means of a scholarship, he was then able to go to Oxford University and attend the college there named for St. John. His family resource also allowed him to study abroad, notably in Germany. It was under one of his professors that his love of history began. After receiving a new scholarship from another college at Oxford, he traveled to Asia Minor.

William, however, is most noted for beliefs pertaining to the Bible, not his early life. Originally, he labeled it as a ‘Book of Fables,’ having only third-hand knowledge. He neither read nor studied it, skeptically believing it to be of fiction and not historical fact. His interest in history would lead him on a search that would radically redefine his thoughts on that Ancient Book…

Some argue that Ramsay was originally just a product of his time. For example, the general consensus on the Acts of the Apostles (and its alleged writer Luke) was almost humouress:

“… [A]bout 1880 to 1890 the book of the Acts was regarded as the weakest part of the New Testament. No one that had any regard for his reputation as a scholar cared to say a word in its defence. The most conservative of theological scholars, as a rule, thought the wisest plan of defence for the New Testament as a whole was to say as little as possible about the Acts.”[1]

It was his dislike for Acts that launched him into a Mid-East adventure. With Bible-in-hand, he made a trip to the Holy Land. What William found, however, was not what he expected…

As it turns out, ‘ole Willy’ changed his mind. After his extensive study he concluded that Luke was one of the world’s greatest historians:

The more I have studied the narrative of the Acts, and the more I have learned year after year about Graeco-Roman society and thoughts and fashions, and organization in those provinces, the more I admire and the better I understand. I set out to look for truth on the borderland where Greece and Asia meet, and found it here [in the Book of Acts—KB]. You may press the words of Luke in a degree beyond any other historian’s, and they stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment, provided always that the critic knows the subject and does not go beyond the limits of science and of justice.[2]

Skeptics were strikingly shocked. In ‘Evidence that Demands a Verdict’ Josh Mcdowell writes,

“The book caused a furor of dismay among the skeptics of the world. Its attitude was utterly unexpected because it was contrary to the announced intention of the author years before…. for twenty years more, book after book from the same author came from the press, each filled with additional evidence of the exact, minute truthfulness of the whole New Testament as tested by the spade on the spot. The evidence was so overwhelming that many infidels announced their repudiation of their former unbelief and accepted Christianity. And these books have stood the test of time, not one having been refuted, nor have I found even any attempt to refute them.”[3]

The Bible has always stood the test of time. Renowned archaeologist Nelson Glueck put it like this:

“It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which conform in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible.”[4]

1) The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament (1915)
2) Ibid
3) See page 366
4) See page 31 of: Rivers in the Desert: A History of the Negev (1959)

 Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

Everette Hatcher,,, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221


Featured artist is Carmen Herrera

CARMEN HERRERA-Artist in Exile part 1

Uploaded on Dec 9, 2009

Cuban born artist, Carmen Herrera.

CARMEN HERRERA Artist in Exile part 2

Carmen Herrera

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Carmen Herrera
Born May 31, 1915 (age 101)
Havana, Cuba
Nationality Cuban-American
Known for Painting
Style Minimalism
Movement Abstract Expressionism

Carmen Herrera (born May 31, 1915) is a Cuban-American abstract, minimalist painter. She was born in Havana and has lived in New York City since the mid-1950s. Herrera’s abstract works have brought her international recognition late in life. She turned 100 in May 2015.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in Havana in 1915, Herrera was one of seven siblings. Her father was the founding editor of the newspaper El Mundo, where her mother was a reporter.[2] Herrera has lived in France, Cuba and the USA, moving frequently throughout the 1930s and 1940s. Returning to Cuba from Paris around 1935, Herrera studied architecture.[3][4] She met in 1939 English teacher Jesse Loewenthal, when he was visiting from America,[5] married him and moved to New York, abandoning her degree course.[4] From 1943-1947 she studied at the Art Students League in New York City.[6]

Abstract expressionism was blooming in late 1940s New York, which had become an art metropolis, but instead of taking advantage of that, Herrera moved to post war Paris. There she was inspired by the era of re-building after the war, and found her own style. Herrera got to know the young artists from Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, an art collective striving to challenge the traditions of the art scene. One of them, Fred Sidès, was enthusiastic about Herrera’s work, and wanted it in an exhibition. But when he said that her art seemed to be full of so many images, Herrera had an insight. “I said to myself: Oh God, what he is telling me is that I have too much in it.” From then on her work has always been a search from the greatest possible simplicity. Her art is about shapes and colour, and how they relate to each other.[7] In 1954 Herrera settled in New York.

Rondo by Carmen Herrera

Discovery by the art world[edit]

In 2004, her friend, painter Tony Bechara, attended a dinner with Frederico Sève, the owner of the Latin Collector Gallery in Manhattan, who had a much-publicized show of female geometric painters from which an artist had dropped out.[5] Bechara recommended Herrera.[5] When Sève saw her paintings, he at first thought they were by Lygia Clark, but found out that Herrera’s paintings had been done a decade before Clark did paintings in a similar style.[5]


Herrera’s work has great precision and is highly reminiscent of Barnett Newman and Leon Polk Smith. She was a contemporary of many abstract expressionist artists – most notably, Wifredo Lam and Yves Klein[5] but since she painted in relative obscurity, remained unknown until her later years. Her works, viewed in light of the time period they were painted in, are important milestones in the evolution of the Geometric Minimalism movement. After six decades of private painting, Herrera sold her first artwork in 2004 when she was 89 years old.[5] Herrera has said of her work, “I do it because I have to do it; it’s a compulsion that also gives me pleasure.”[5]


In 2004 Agnes Gund, President emeritus of the Museum of Modern Art, bought several works by Herrera and donated one of her black-and-white paintings to Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).[5] The Tate Modern in London, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. have also acquired her works.


Herrera exhibited several times at the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles beginning in 1949.[8] Solo exhibitions were hosted at the Galeria Sudamericana (1956), Trabia Gallery (1963), Cisneros Gallery (1965) and Alternative Gallery (1986).[9] The El Museo del Barrio in East Harlem, New York, mounted an exhibition of Herrera’s work in 2008. A retrospective exhibition opened in July 2009 at the nonprofit IKON Gallery in Birmingham, England, and travelled to the Pfalzgalerie Museum in Kaiserslautern, Germany in 2010. From 16 September 2016 Herrera will have her first museum retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art.[10]

List of works[edit]

The following works are currently displayed at Lisson Gallery.

  • Untitled, 2013[11]
  • Blanco y Verde, 1962
  • Red & Blue, 1993
  • Green Garden, 1950
  • Blue with White Line, 1964


Beginning in 2014, Alison Klayman, director of the acclaimed “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry,” worked on a documentary about Herrera.[12] This documentary, “‘The 100 Years Show‘,” premiered in 2015 at the Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto.[13]


  1. Jump up^ Russeth, Andrew (2015-06-05). “‘Don’t Be Intimidated About Anything’: Carmen Herrera at 100”. ARTnews. Retrieved 2015-06-18.
  2. Jump up^ Helena de Bertodano (20 December 2010), Carmen Herrera: ‘Is it a dream?’ The Daily Telegraph.
  3. Jump up^ Hermione Hoby (21 November 2010), Carmen Herrera: ‘Every painting has been a fight between the painting and me. I tend to win’ The Guardian.
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b “Carmen Herrera 29 July — 13 September 2009”. Ikon Gallery. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h Sontag, Deborah (2009-12-20). “At 94, She’s the Hot New Thing in Painting”. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
  6. Jump up^ Ship, Steve (2003). Latin American an Caribbean Artists of the Modern Era; A biographical dictionary of more than 12,700 Persons. Jefferson, North Carolina, and London: McFarland and Company Inc.,. p. 326.
  7. Jump up^ Jule Schlegel, One day I will just paint a dot and be gone, Some Magazine 2014
  8. Jump up^ Brodsky], [editor, Dorothy Feaver; text, Estrellita B. (2013). Carmen Herrera : works on paper = opere su carta, 2010-2012. London: Lisson Gallery. ISBN 9780947830397.
  9. Jump up^ Heller, Jules (1995). North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century : A Biographical Dictionary. New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc. ISBN 0-8240-6049-0.
  10. Jump up^ “Works in Progress”. The New York Times. 2015-05-15. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
  11. Jump up^ “Carmen Herrera | Artists | Lisson Gallery”. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
  12. Jump up^ “Carmen Herrera at 99”. W Magazine. 2014-05-30. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
  13. Jump up^ Eileen Kinsella (31 May 2015). “Artist Carmen Herrera turns 100 years old—artnet News”. artnet News.

External links[edit]


The Carmen Herrera retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art includes signature paintings from 1948-78, like this untitled geometric abstraction. CreditCarmen Herrera, Collection of Yolanda Santos Art

At 101, the artist Carmen Herrera is finally getting the show the art world should have given her 40 or 50 years ago: a solo exhibition at a major museum in New York, where she has been living and working since 1954. The show, “Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight,” caps off several years of festivities, many of which have focused on the artist’s centenarian status, including a documentary film, “The 100 Years Show, Starring Carmen Herrera”; a spring exhibition of recent paintings at the Lisson Gallery in Chelsea; and numerous profiles hailing Ms. Herrera as a living treasure and praising her acerbic wit.

There’s more to marvel at in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s compact but ravishing exhibition of about 50 works, which focuses on the pivotal period of 1948-78 — years in which Ms. Herrera developed her signature geometric abstractions, pared-down paintings of just two colors but seemingly infinite spatial complications. Installed with appropriate precision on the Whitney’s eighth floor, the show presents her as an artist of formidable discipline, consistency and clarity of purpose, and a key player in any history of postwar art.

There is so much to celebrate within the close-set parameters of “Lines of Sight,” in fact, that you have to wonder: Why didn’t the Whitney give Ms. Herrera not just the show she ought to have received some decades ago, but also the show that she deserves today? Meaning a full retrospective on the big stage of the fifth floor, like those the museum bestowed on Frank Stella last fall, or even a slightly more focused look at her oeuvre from maturity on, as in the Stuart Davis survey that’s now in its final weeks. Well-intentioned as it is, “Lines of Sight” gives us just a narrow slice of a career that’s seven decades strong and still going.


A painting from Carmen Herrera’s 12-year series “Blanco y Verde.” CreditCarmen Herrera, Private Collection, New York

Ms. Herrera’s only museum retrospective, before this one, was in 1984 at the Alternative Museum, now defunct. More frequently, this Havana-born artist’s work has been exhibited in a Cuban or Latin American context, at institutions like El Museo del Barrio and in group shows like “9 Cuban Artists,” even though she has not lived in Cuba since the 1930s and has a complicated relationship with Latin American art. She has been compared to Brazilian artists of the Neo-Concrete movement, such as Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica, but she had little direct contact with those circles; the lines of influence run through 1940s Paris, and the international gathering of abstract-art enthusiasts known as the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles.

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That is where the Whitney show begins, in postwar Paris in 1948, the same time and place that shaped Ellsworth Kelly’s entree into abstraction. Ms. Herrera spent six years in this richly intellectual expatriate scene, where she encountered, for the first time, canonical works by Malevich, Mondrian and other artists of Suprematism and De Stijl.

The first gallery finds Ms. Herrera gradually simplifying and intensifying her compositions of flat, interlocking forms, almost as if she were zooming in on them. Some of the hallmarks of her mature work are already there: backgammon-like motifs of elongated triangles, in “A City” (1948), and a gravitation to shades of deep green, in “Green Garden” (1950).


“Blue and Yellow” (1965).CreditCarmen Herrera, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington

Returning to New York in the mid-1950s, she spent a decade making bracing, rigidly geometric works in black and white and in straight-from-the-tube colors, some of them on shaped and multipanel canvases. Ms. Herrera had plenty of encouragement from friends like Barnett Newman and Leon Polk Smith, but little from galleries and the critics who frequented them. Deteriorating relations with Cuba had something to do with this tepid reception, but so did her gender; Ms. Herrera recalls that the dealer Rose Fried told her, you can paint circles around the male artists that I have, but I’m not going to give you a show because you’re a woman.

She continued to paint circles around the men, even when she was painting squares (as in a black-and-white work from 1952 that anticipates Stella’s 1959 “Black Paintings”) and triangles, as in “Green and White” (1956), where four sharp white spikes induce vertigo as they direct our gaze from corners of an emerald green field to the center.

In 1959, working with those same colors and shapes, she embarked on her 12-year series “Blanco y Verde.” The Whitney has assembled nine paintings from that group of 15, in an installation that forms the core of the show and is a powerful argument for viewing Ms. Herrera’s work in serial form. It’s a room that would not look out of place at Dia:Beacon or some other temple of Minimalism, although there are other entry points for its elegant, iterative integration of painting and architecture.


“Green and Orange” (1958). CreditCarmen Herrera, Collection of Paul and Trudy Cejas

Ms. Herrera’s studies in architecture at the Universidad de La Habana, where she said she learned “to think abstractly and draw like an architect,” emerge forcefully in works from the late 1960s through the ’70s, especially in a monochromatic series called “Estructuras,” which moves from drawing to painting to sculpture. Some of these pieces take up a motif from a particular “Blanco y Verde” painting and turn its green triangles into negative space, creating a fault line between two L-shaped blocks: Picture two Tetris pieces that don’t quite fit together.

And in two assertively architectonic black-and-white paintings from 1974, Ms. Herrera alludes to Spanish cultural masterpieces: in “Escorial,” to the royal monastery near Madrid, and in “Ávila,” to a historic site (the hometown of St. Teresa) and to a butterflied composition seen in paintings by Francisco de Zurbarán, the 17th-century Spanish painter whom Ms. Herrera has described as a “minimalist.”

The Whitney pointedly paired one of Ms. Herrera’s “Blanco y Verde” paintings with a sculpture by Ellsworth Kelly in the inaugural exhibition for its new building. And the comparison comes up again and again in “Lines of Sight” and its catalog, organized by Dana Miller (a former director of the Whitney collection). It’s indicative of what the Whitney is trying to do, here and in rehangings of the permanent collection: to pry open the canon and make space for marginalized artists.

That strategy may be one explanation for the emphasis on just a portion of Ms. Herrera’s oeuvre, the part that corresponds to a particularly well-trodden stretch of art history, from Abstract Expressionism to Minimalism. MoMA and the Whitney each own just one canvas by Ms. Herrera, but after visiting “Lines of Sight,” you will not be able to walk through either museum’s painting galleries without seeing her work in your head, if not on the wall.


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