Wednesday, May 23, 2012

USN Crests

It is custom in the United States Navy for ships to receive an individually designed heraldic emblem, which usually take the form of seals or crests. Since NYC's Fleet week, an event close to my heart, is celebrating 25 years this year (and the Bicentennial of the War of 1812), I thought I'd post a bit of information about four participating ships that my father had a hand in designing. Nothing is taken lightly in the design process, including the assembling of the ship's namesake crest - everything has meaning. 

USS Roosevelt

Sheild:  Blue and gold represent the Navy. The fret represents President Roosevelt's leadership skills in bringing stability and strength to American society during the crisis of the Depression and the threat of fascist aggression. His call to Americans for preparedness and confidence and his resolve during World War II are denoted by the sword, which also indicates DDG 80's readiness to deploy her modern weaponry in defense of the country. The demi-sun signifies truth and the aspirations for a better world, which President Roosevelt encouraged Americans to share with him. The orie signifies the unity he brought to the country and the all-encompassing areas of responsibility of his office, which he administered so ably. White represents integrity and loyalty, and gold denotes excellence.

Crest:  The demi-burst signifies the splendid achievement of Franklin D. Roosevelt's Presidency, in bringing the United States out of domestic crisis and through worldwide conflict. The ship's wheel recalls his appointment in 1913 as Assistant Secretary of the Navy. It also denotes his success in guiding America through the difficult years of his Presidential terms. The lozenge, traditionally a feminine heraldic symbol, is a reference to his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, who assisted him politically and became a force in her own right. The sides of the lozenge represent his four elections to the presidency. The rose, the state flower of New York, recalls his governorship of that state and is a canting reference to his family name. Scarlet denotes courage and sacrifice and gold indicates excellence.

USS Mitscher

Shield: Dark blue and gold are the colors traditionally associated with the Navy and represent the sea and excellence. Red is emblematic of sacrifice and valor. The cross throughout the shield recalls the Navy Cross Admiral Mitscher was awarded for his participation in the first successful transatlantic air passage. The two stars above the cross commemorate his awards of 2nd and 3rd Distinguished Service Medals and his 2nd and 3rd awards of the Navy Cross for meritorious service during operations in the Pacific during World War II. The armored gauntlet represents the strength and survivability of the ship. The lightning bolts symbolize energy and speed and the ability of the ship to conduct multi-mission operations in any dimension. The gauntlet grasping the lightning bolts highlights USS MITSCHER’s motto "SEIZE THE DAY", recalling Admiral Mitscher’s tenacious fighting spirit and dignifying DDG 57’s legacy.

Crest: The combined anchor and trident symbolize sea prowess and combat readiness. The life preserver ringing the anchor commemorates Admiral Mitscher’s compassion for his crew as manifested through his relentless determination in tracking down and recovering downed air crews. The three tines of the trident represent the ship’s significant capabilities in strike, air, and subsurface warfare. The trident’s position, rising above the crest, symbolizes the ability to project power over great distances. The gold wings represent Admiral Mitscher’s service and dedication, throughout his career, in advancing naval aviation and developing strike warfare.

USS Gonzalez

Crest: Dark blue and gold, on the shield in the Coat of Arms, are the colors traditionally associated with the Navy and symbolize sea and excellence. Red is emblematic of valor and sacrifice. The embattled line reflects the Citadel and alludes a strong defense. The flashes depict speed the electronic capabilities of the AEGIS system while reflecting Marine Sergeant Alfredo Gonzalez's bravery under fire. The reversed blue star represents the Medal of Honor, our country's highest honor, awarded to SGT Gonzalez, the ship's namesake, for sacrifice and bravery. The border symbolizes unity and cooperation while the AEGIS shaped shield highlights USS Gonzalez' ability to conduct multi-mission warfare operations with quick decisive action.
The eagle, on the crest, is adapted from the Marine Corps Seal and reflects leadership and courage The two swords, Navy and Marine, are crossed for strength and teamwork and honor both services.

USS Donald Cook

Shield: Dark blue and gold are the colors traditionally used by the US Navy; red is emblematic of valor and sacrifice. The reversed star denotes the Medal of Honor, our country's highest honor, posthumously awarded to Colonel Donald G. Cook for his spirit of sacrifice and extraordinary heroism. The gauntlet grasps a broken chain underscoring Colonel cook's internment as a prisoner of war by the Viet Cong during which he unselfishly put the interests of his comrades before that of his own well-being and, eventually, his life. The swords are crossed to signify the spirit of teamwork while symbolizing the heritage of the US Navy and Marine Corps. The Mameluke represents Colonel Cook's service as a Marine.

Crest: The eagle symbolizes the principles of freedom upon which our country as founded and highlights military vigilance and national defense. The tridents represent sea power and underscore USS DONALD COOK'S AEGIS firepower and the capability to conduct operations in multi-threat environments.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Silkscreen Paintings by Eugene Brodsky: Looking forward to this!

October 27 – December 10, 2011
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 27th, 5-7 PM
Sears-Peyton Gallery
210 Eleventh Avenue
Ste. 802
New York, NY 10001
For the exhibition, Brodsky stages his tableau such that the x-ray quality of the silkscreens has a cinematic quality to them. Printing with inks directly onto silk fabric forces the viewer to consider the surface alongside the potency of the found image. It is a push and pull of physicality and metaphor. In the artist’s own words, Brodsky describes his body of work this way.
“Subjects and Connectivity:
The sources for my work start from images I come across, sometimes hunting for them and sometimes stumbling across them when least expected. I find them: walking in a strange city, taking snapshots surreptitiously at a screening of an old film, thumbing through endless books of architecture, on the wall of a construction shed, in a garden, going around the block because I am early for an appointment, finding a shred of a poster left hanging, or at a book stall in Paris, where weirdly but inevitably the prototypical grey Parisian vendor chases me down the street because somehow I have stolen what is his- though only the image itself. I ramble and look for what nobody else cares about. And having caught my "prey” (images), I take them to my studio and dissect and manipulate them so they are hopefully born again and given some new dignity and magic.
The question comes up as to how these images are connected? What's the story? There's an academic answer: pattern and system, nature and planner, lines and dots as code that's easy to decipher. But to me it's always going to be that the things I make are linked by me. They are what captures me and their commonality is that I chose them and they chose me.
I have been working with silkscreen for many years. It lets me keep my "hand" in the work while keeping my "hand" out of the work. I have been using stencils in my paintings for more than ten years and wanted to revisit the specificity and surprise that I can get with the silkscreen process.
I spend a lot of time hand drawing things that in the end show few signs of that. It interests me that an accumulation of clumsy marks add up to something that can seem very precise. And that conversely sometimes something very labor intensive can seem very casual. Handmade Mechanicals - I guess that's what I hope to make.”
-Eugene Brodsky, October 2011

Eugene Brodsky (b.1946), a native of New York, has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions with galleries and institutions across the U.S. He has had five solo exhibitions at Sears-Peyton Gallery.
Brodsky has received numerous awards including two John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowships, two National Endowment for the Arts Grants, and two New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowships. His work can be found in public collections such as the Baltimore Museum of Art, MD; The National Gallery, D.C.; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Museum Of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA; Yale University Art Gallery, CT; Detroit Institute of Art, MI. Brodsky lives and works in New York City and East Hampton.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Travelling the Desert in Style with the NARIN Brothers

The Nairn Transport Company was formed in 1923 by two brothers from New Zealand serving the British military in the Middle East. This colorful transportation company provided the first motorized link between Baghdad and Haifa (Palestine). Their equipment, eventually consisting of unusual, custom land yachts with Pullman sleeper accommodations, were described in great detail by Edgar M. Jones in the October 1937 issue of Modern Mechanix. Fascinating stuff, enjoy the read!
Shuttling across the sands of the Syrian desert, between Damascus and Bagdad, are two shiny new trailer-buses. Built by The Budd Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the Nairn Transport Company of Syria, with the same technique of welded, lightweight, stainless-steel that made the now famous Zephyr trains, the new buses are a close approach to the luxury of a deluxe railroad car. As with any public carrier, passenger comfort is of prime importance. Accordingly, the plans incorporated Budd's experience in building streamlined railroad car and auto bodies, with the Nairn need for an economical, speedy, lightweight, rugged bus which could travel the rough terrain with a minimum of difficulty. To guard against the extreme temperatures of desert night and day (zero at times and often as high as 140 degrees), complete insulation and conditioning of air were specified. Leg room to equal Pullmans cut passenger capacity to seventeen in the day bus and fourteen in the sleeper. Extra wide chairs limited double seats to one side of the aisle and singles to the other. The new buses lop nine hours from former crossing time and make the six-hundred-mile trip over trackless waste in fifteen hours, while passengers comfortably sway on rubber cushions. Coach seats face the front, but the sleeper is divided into compartments with seats facing each other. At bed time, the seat backs swing up to form upper berths supported by tubular frames. The gap between the seats is filled with an extra cushion and the lower is made. Sheets, pillows, blankets and curtains make the berths ready for sleepy travelers. Lighting and adjustable outlets for conditioned air are provided for each berth. Following a formula akin to the hostess or steward plan on American airlines, an attendant throughout the trip comforts passengers with ice water, tea and coffee as well as box lunches with wrapped sandwiches and fruit. Each patron is provided with a small container having a patented lock for the protection of tooth brush, cash, jewelry, etc. Lockers for storing blankets, pillows, clothing and miscellaneous equipment are in the front of the trailer, while the rear has a dressing room which also contains wash basins and toilet facilities. The flooring is surfaced with heavy linoleum which extends up the walls for six inches so that a flushing by hose is possible. Walls, doors, and partitions are faced with birch plywood. The ceiling is made of perforated aluminum which acts to deaden sound. All windows are of safety glass and are curtained with drapes. A silvery corrugated exterior, looking for all the world like something made from Mother’s washboard, has some properties for deflecting sun rays, but any persistent outside heat or cold is stopped by insulation four inches thick in the roof and two inches thick in the sides.
Powered by a 150 h. p. Diesels, the tractor units, sheathed in aluminum, furnish a cab for the driver and his alternate, air conditioning equipment, and space for baggage. At the rear of the tractor unit are hinged wings to enhance the streamlined effect. Five 6.6 volt batteries connected in series and located in the tractor unit comprise the 32 volt lighting system for the bus. When the motor isn’t running, interior lighting is used sparingly. Compression for the cooling system is obtained from a seperate gasoline engine. Air intakes are in the roof and exhaust fans on each side push out the warm air. Filled to capacity with passengers, baggage, water, and two hundred gallons of fuel oil, the total weight goes over fifteen tons. The one and only scheduled stop between points is Rutbah which is the nearest thing in real life to the movie conception of a desert outpost. Grim walls, radio towers, and detachments of soldiers remind travelers of Beau Sabreur and the Foreign Legion. The hotel, a large restaurant, and an ice-making plant do a thriving business at this meeting point for air and motor travelers . Possessing the only wells which do not go dry during the hot spell, Rutbah attracts the Arabs who camp outside the fort with their camels and livestock. During the rainy months of January and February, water collects in the hollows of the desert. Puddles and mud, hundreds of yards wide and several miles long, spot the trail. As there is no telling the extent of this area, it is impracticable to detour. Drivers with an acquired Oriental fatalism on coming to mud, warn passengers, then drive at full speed to slide across on the belly of the bus. As a concession to this practice, the new trailers (turtle-like) have completely enclosed bottoms. Sandstorms force a complete stop (seldom over an hour or so). The tight fitting doors and windows prevent discomfort. To the astonished natives and wondering resident Europeans, the new buses are but the most recent surprise that owner Norman Nairn delights in springing upon the slow-moving East. He was the first to have a speed boat to skim the Mediterranean near Beirut; the first to own an airplane. Always wanting speed, Nairn now in his forties, has made a record of spectacular but profitable ventures.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Few of My Summer Blues

Friday, July 1, 2011

Through the Decades: Winning Machines at Le Mans

Auto technology has changed an enormous amount through the years largely thanks to this 24hr endurance classic. Here's a look at some of the machines that made a mark at this challenging, 88-year-old circuit and subsequently, on the auto industry as a whole.

1923 Chenard et Walcker Sport
1928 Bentley 4½ Litre
1937 Bugatti Type 57G Tank
1949 Ferrari 166MM
  1957 Jaguar D-Type
1967 Ford GT40 Mk. IV
1971 Porsche 917K
1978 Renault Alpine A442B
1988 Jaguar XJR-9LM
1998 Porsche 911 GT1
2008 Audi R10
2011 Audi R18

I was excited to learn that Porsche, the manufacturer with the most wins at Le Mans and one of my favorite marques, announced yesterday a return to the mighty P1 Class in 2014.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Touch of J Class: Spar in Newport

1933 Velsheda
In a testament to tradition, six J Class yachts are on the water- three restorations and three replicas. Four more are under construction, and a fifth is in negotiation. If all are completed there will be twelve boats total, two more then the original ten, which were built from 1930-1937.
This week, two J Class yachts will compete in Newport, R.I., the original battleground for America's Cup J Class racing. Velsheda, an original 1933 J Class designed for Mr. W.L. Stephenson, owner of the Woolworth chain of shops, and Ranger, a replica of a W. Starling Burgess and Olin Stephen's design that was launched in 2002, will race everyday from June15-19th at 1PM.  (In support of the war effort the original 1937 Ranger designed for Harold Vanderbilt was sold for scrap in 1941.) 
J's are marked by their elegant, narrow beam, 165ft + masts, and massive sail plan. Michiel de Vos, an engineer who worked on the interior of Ranger and crews aboard Shamrock V, the first J Class built and only one still sailing made of wood said, "(A J Class) is so narrow that the rail is near the water or in the water at all time, the the bow doesn't ride over waves, it slices through them. If you're trimming on the low side take care."
Velsheda before restoration
1937 Ranger 
Shamrock V
1937 Ranger at Bath Iron Works
1937 Ranger Interior
Captain Sopwith pilots Endeavor
Velsheda (right) and 2002 Ranger (left) in Newport Harbor on 6-16-2011