I have a very unique family.
Regarding me, I sought out to create a revolution in the way private social catering events should be produced. I emphasized a restaurant style experience in a banquet setting. It was not easy but I pushed the envelope of what was thought could not be done. I have made the news in my 25 year career as a leader in business innovation (even dealing with an internal fraud and extortion attempt committed against me and my company with false and malicious allegations). However, my family has branches of a tree that are even more fascinating.
I have a second cousin who founded Morrell Wines (located in Rockefeller Center). Peter Morrell is one of the most respected retailers in the the U.S. known for a deep knowledge and selection of unique wines from around the world.
That being said, the most creative member of my family is my first cousin, Spencer Tunick, the world renowned artistic nude photographer. He was featured on an HBO documentary a number of years ago, and he is talked about within the artistic community as a one of a kind visionary.
Although Spencer sees beauty the way most mortals could not imagine in his particular genre, he also has a social purpose. He is a person who cares deeply about the human spirit, justice for all people, and a yearning to bring people together through his art. It is very unusual when you get a combination of a creative genius with a social compass.
When Spencer first started his nude art shoots in Manhattan in the 1990’s, he was arrested and bullied by Mayor Giuliani in an attempt to prevent his first amendment rights to take photographs in Time Square. He did not take that sitting down. In May of 2000, he went to court and a three judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled 2-1 that Spencer had a constitutional right to shoot nude photographs since it was considered an exhibit and NYC law allows nudity in other similar venues (theater, museums, etc).
In 2014, Spencer decided to do a special installation at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. It would entail women expressing their feelings about how the Republican Party have not supported their viewpoints. At the time, Donald Trump was simply a businessman and reality star. Who would have known that the sun, the moon and stars would align and produce a nominee for president who most liberal women would abhor.
Fast forward to July 17, 2016. Spencer made a moral statement for women and their causes. He did an early morning photo shoot for the benefit of women’s rights in our country. He did not do this for fame. He is already famous. In fact, I spoke with him this week and he made it quite clear that this was not about him, but about these women’s rights to expression. He turned down 64 press credentials because he did not want it to be a media circus. In fact, the150 woman volunteers – he had to turn down 1500 volunteers due to space restrictions – did not even know the location until the last minute, specifically to avoid the media.
The event happened today at 6:50am without fanfare. A couple of policeman came by and just wanted to make sure that they would not be marching. Spencer advised them that this is not only peaceful, but private. The cops shook his hand and things proceeded without incident.
Hours later, the pictures were released to the media. The women who participated in the nude photo shoot were allowed to express their views in the true spirit and beauty of the American tradition. Whether or not you agree with these women’s political views (and many of them were staunch Republicans), Spencer gave them a voice, and for that we should all reflect why America is so great.
Thank you Spencer for using your art for a greater purpose.
Categories: Current Events