Another Painting by Danny Allen Surfaces

Danny Allen, non-objective. Further information about this piece will be posted as ti becomes available.

Danny Allen, non-objective, acrylic on canvas – 23 1/4″ x 31″”. Further information about this piece will be posted as it becomes available.

I knew the book would become a conduit for locating other artworks by Danny Allen.

I’m very excited to announce that another of Danny’s paintings has surfaced. This piece, a rather large non-objective color-field painting with graphic lines is part of a private collection in Woodstock, New York. It was originally purchased by a Rochester designer who later gifted it to his sister. When the sister became aware of the book, she came forward with the piece she owns so that our records of Dan’s art might be that much more complete. This piece is particularly special, as it’s one of Dan’s larger works. (I’m waiting for a return reply as to the exact measurements, but it’s an acrylic and about 30″ x 40″.) This will most certainly be included in a second printing of the book. I’m not going to further “tumble” the book design as art by Danny Allen surfaces–but rather add to the addendum at the back of the book.

If anyone reading this blog knows of the whereabouts of any other pieces by Danny Allen, please contact me here at the blog–or on Facebook under the page for An Early Work Late in Life.

My life long friend, Susan Moliken and me, looking dazed while waiting to give my reading and PowerPoint in Rehoboth, Delaware. Photo courtesy of Cade Gibson.

My life long friend, Susan Moliken (seated left) and me, looking dazed while waiting to give my reading and PowerPoint presentation in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Photo courtesy of Cade Gibson.

This past weekend I had a reading and book signing at PROUD Bookstore in Rehoboth, Delaware. PROUD is a small venue, but a few loyal readers and friends stopped by for wine, cheese and a reading. I’m continuing to look for other venues for readings and have a couple irons in the fire.

Books are available through PixelPreserve at: http://www.pixelpreserve.net/bookstore/

The Next Phase for Danny Allen’s Artwork

Danny Allen - India ink on bond. Not signed or dated, ca. 1972.

Danny Allen – India ink on bond. Not signed or dated, ca. 1972.

I know it’s not going to be an easy thing to, but it’s the right thing to do. I’m going to hand over ownership of all of the artwork that I have in my custody, done by Danny Allen to the Allen family sometime after the 4th of July, 2013. My role for the past four decades has been to serve as the “keeper” of Dan’s collection. I’ve seen to it the art has been safely stored, but the time has come for it all to return home.

Dan’s sister, Chris is going to come to visit me here in Philadelphia for the transfer. The way my will has been written, the art was always intended to go back to the Allen family–but I see no purpose in delaying that exchange of ownership and responsibility. I’ve loved and enjoyed having Dan’s work and lived with pieces on my walls for decades. Now it’s time to move-on.

Someday I’d like to have a small exhibit of Dan’s art–and Rochester, New York is the natural choice for that exhibit to take place. I’ve been putting out some “feelers” as to where the exhibit could be shown, but no location has yet been determined.

Danny Allen, Graphite and color pencil. Collection of Robert Henning (former curator of the Memorial Art Gallery) and his partner, Brian Stenfors. This piece has been given to the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester. (New York State).

Danny Allen, Graphite and color pencil. Collection of Robert Henning (former curator of the Memorial Art Gallery) and his partner, Brian Stenfors. This piece has been given to the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester. (New York State).

Following the shock of learning the tragic fate of Dan’s art from other collections where there was no legal will in place, I felt compelled to make this transfer. The location and virtual existence of some of Dan’s finest pieces remains ominously uncertain after collectors passed away without specifying how their collections were to be handled. The pieces I’ve watched over will be distributed among members of the Allen family. I urge anyone who has original art (not just by Danny Allen) but any pieces of note–to provide for the future owndership of that art. Several collectors have expressed an intention to leave their examples of Dan’s work to the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery, and others intend to leave art to the Allen family. Both choices are good choices.

My next reading/book signing will be in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware on Saturday, June 29th at 4:30pm at PROUD Bookstore – 149 Rehoboth Ave  Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971 – 302.227.6969. I’m hoping to include a PowerPoint presentation if the space will allow.

Books are available online through PixelPreserve:
http://www.pixelpreserve.net/bookstore/

RehobothBeachReading

A Drawing by Danny Allen Not in the Book

29822_541226335904463_1375663835_nIn all my efforts to organize myself, I should know by now that something was bound to slip through the cracks. A while back Dan’s and my friend, Steve Carpenter sent me the scan of this drawing done by Danny Allen on January 31st, 1973. Somehow I neglected to get the piece to Katherine Denison, who designed the book. My apologies to Steve. I found the drawing while going through a stack of DVD’s looking for something else entirely. The piece should have been included, and perhaps will be in a future edition. Several other pieces of artwork have surfaced since the book was published, and I’ve included them here on the blog.

My next reading/book signing will be in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware on Saturday, June 29th at 4:30pm at PROUD Bookstore – 149 Rehoboth Ave  Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971 – 302.227.6969. I’m hoping to include a PowerPoint presentation if the space will allow.

Books are available online through PixelPreserve: http://www.pixelpreserve.net/bookstore/

RehobothBeachReading

A Successful Book Signing & the Reviews are Good: Three for Three!

leah_dan_living room copy

Photo ca. 1070 by noted fine arts photographer, Eva Weiss. Pictured are Leah Warnick with Danny Allen in the foreground. If you look carefully you can see Eva Weiss working the camera while reflected in the mirror.

I’m still floating on a cloud following my reading this past Saturday at Giovanni’s Room in Philadelphia. I’m hoping to schedule a reading for mid-summer at Proud Bookstore in Rehobeth Beach, Delaware. My original reading date had to be postponed for reasons I won’t go into now–and I’m waiting for confirmation on a replacement date.

The reading at Giovanni’s Room in Philadelphia was standing room only. I sold a slew of books and signed them all until my signature looked like I’d had a stroke. Truth to tell that’s what my signature always looks like.

The latest review on my book ‘An Early Work Late in Life’ comes from critic and journalist, Susan Jordan of The Rochester Gay Alliance’s publication: The Empty Closet. So far in terms of reviews, they’re all good: Three for three. Thank you, Susan!

http://www.gayalliance.org/emptycloset/2013/05/new-book-remembers-rochester-artist-danny-allen/

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Signing books at Giovanni’s Room. You’ll have to take it on faith that there was a long lie to my left. The photographer managed to only get ME in the picture.

My First Philadelphia Press Coverage – The PGN

Photo of Bill Whiting by Eva Weiss

Photo of Bill Whiting looking like an author by Eva Weiss.

Here is Jen Colletta’s review/press piece on the book in the Philadelphia Gay News – page 25. They also gave me a 1/3 page ad–which if you look past the handsome shirtless musclemen, can be seen on page 33. Many thanks to Jen Colletta and Mark Segal.

http://epgn.com/view/full_story/22749636/article-Bill-Whiting–%E2%80%98An-Early-Work-Late-in-Life%E2%80%99?

Loss and the Layering of Lives on Memorial Day

A drawing that depicts a gentle spirit--sent to Danny Allen's brother, Lee and his wife Joyce.

A drawing on textured paper that depicts a gentle spirit. The drawing was recently sent to Danny Allen’s brother, Lee and his wife Joyce.

In writing my story about the time I spent with Danny Allen, the Vietnam War was raging politically in the background during the era–mostly by way of war protests–but we were not directly in the line of fire. The same cannot be said of Dan’s younger brother, Lee.

I owe a great deal to Dan’s siblings for providing additional information about Danny’s life and filling in blanks that had remained mysterious to me for decades. Dan’s brother Lee was very generous with his time, talking to me about his recollections of his older brother. Much of what Lee and his family shared helped to shape the book. But with this being Memorial Day Weekend, it seems appropriate to take a side trip to honor Danny’s brother, Lee Allen.

On December 1, 1969, the Selective Service System of the United States abolished the military draft which was akin to slavery. During the draft days, a man was told he was free–but if he chose not to answer the call of the draft and be placed in harms way to kill or be killed–he had to flee the country or face prison time. If he didn’t acquiesce to fight a war almost no one understood he was branded as a “draft-dodger” and a “traitor” to his nation. A lottery system was instated, and while no less unfair and amoral–it was merely more random.

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Lee Allen with his youngest sister, Christine.

Lee was a Vietnam veteran who passed away this past Monday, May 20th, 2013 at 7:10pm. During our interview for the book some months before, Lee and I discussed his service during the Vietnam War. He and I were the exactly same age–only a couple months apart–and Lee was also an artist–specifically a sculptor. Back when the draft was repealed and replaced with the “Lottery System” both Lee and I pulled very lucky numbers close to 300–which exempted us from being called. Lee confessed to me that he had been fooled–tricked by U.S. Army recruiters who convinced him–as a young, inexperienced man, that a high lottery number wouldn’t prevent him from being drafted. Lee was told if he enlisted he’d be assigned to a “cushy desk job” and avoid combat. Of course that turned out not to be the case. We all know that recruiters use unscrupulous methods to enlist soldiers–there’s enough hidden camera footage on that subject to be it’s own blog.

Lee–like most of us at the time–didn’t fully grasp the reasoning behind the Vietnam War. Nor did he believe in the war, but he wasn’t about to skip to Canada and turn his back on his country. The Vietnam War was being “sold” to Americans as “stopping the spread of communism” as if it were our responsibility to tell other nations how to govern. It turned out to be a war of profit with dark and murky motives much like the wars of recent years. And none of it should ever have happened. That in no way disparages the service of the brave men and women who fought and died. But like our recent wars, it does besmirch the character of our leaders who entangled us in these horrible and mishandled conflagrations in the first place.

While interviewing Lee, I had no idea that he was ill. I’m not sure Lee himself realized he was ill. But he did mention to me that he’d never owned a piece of his brother’s artwork, and I promised, as the “keeper” of Dan’s collection that I would remedy that oversight.

We all have a way of putting things off due to life’s endless distractions. And it wasn’t until my last visit to Rochester that I learned exactly how ill Lee was. His mother told me that Lee is suspected to have Agent Orange exposure–a lethal chemical warfare wepon–and lapse in America’s moral judgement that was produced by a company named Monsanto–who now wants to sell you the food you eat–but I digress…

I rushed back to Philadelphia to mat and frame an original piece of Danny Allen’s artwork so that it might pass through Lee’s hands before Lee himself passed. Sadly the drawing arrived one day too late. His cancer claimed him even before family could travel to the west coast to say their goodbyes. Lee is now with two of his brothers, leaving his wife and grown children behind–and a mother who has witnessed the cruelty of having three of her sons predecease her. Another of Dan’s younger brothers, Robert, was also claimed by cancer.

The Vietnam War is over–but it’s effects are not. We as a nation might best serve the memory of reluctant warriors like Lee Allen by never allowing our elected officials to mislead us into another war of choice. History is more than merely the past–it’s a reflection of the road map that leads toward the future. This Memorial Day, I honor and salute, Dan’s brother Lee Allen, and thank him for his kindness, generosity of spirit–and his service. I assure Lee’s widow, Joyce, his large and loving family–and especially his mother, Bernice, that while we all mourn the loss of her sons, we will never doubt that the world is a better place by remembering that they once walked among us.

In Memory of Leon James Allen – 1950 – 2013.

A Follow-up to the Book Reading & Signing at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery

975922_10151467267313634_819816282_nI had a wonderful time reading excerpts from my book, An Early Work Late in Life in a very well attended auditorium at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery this past Thursday, May 16th. There was a sense of things coming around full circle. There I was as an older man, who at one time worked as the janitor at the very museum where I was giving a talk–and talking about another artist who had also briefly been a janitor at that same museum.

969930_10151370204906105_194584392_nThe management and staff of the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery could not have been more gracious, and the museum as well as the show where Danny’s painting is being displayed are both wonderful. I found myself thinking “hey Dan–your painting is hanging on the same walls in an exhibit that include artists that range from Gainsborough to Man Ray and everything in between.” Danny never in a million years might have dreamed that his work would hang in such august company. But no one better deserves that recognition and at the same time–this whole process has brought me home. The city of Rochester, New York remains a place where I’ve planted a second set of roots–and it’s more than just memories–it’s the wonderful and generious people who populate that city.

My book, An Early Work Late in Life is available through PixelPreserve for $29.95 plus shipping and handling at: http://www.pixelpreserve.net/bookstore/

A book signing is scheduled for Saturday, June 1st at 5:30pm at Giovanni’s Room, 345 South 12th Street, Philadelphia, PA. http://www.giovannisroom.com/