Tag Archives: Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“Recovering Lawyer” Turns To Collage

Geoffrey Stein studied product design at Parsons. Terrified of not getting a job, he pivoted to a sociology major at Bard College.

Hmmmm …

Walking around cold, rainy mid-1980s New York City — unemployed — he took stock. He didn’t have enough science courses for medical school. He didn’t have enough math for business school.

So, since Bard had taught him to think critically and analytically …

…. in 1986 he graduate from Albany Law School.

Stein clerked for an appellate judge. He worked at a trial firm. He got into reinsurance litigation, in London.

He found that aspect of law fascinating. “You have to get the right answer, but you do it in a civilized way,” he describes reinsurance.

These days, Stein is …

… a “recovering lawyer.”

Geoffrey Stein

Geoffrey Stein

All along, he’d made art. He carved wood, built things, welded metal sculptures and took photos.

He kept looking for a more creative way to practice law. Though “there are some very creative people” in the profession, he could not find that niche.

Finally, in 1999, his wife said, “Go to art school. Or stop complaining.”

He did the latter. For 3 years, Stein practiced law while taking classes at the New York Studio School.

“A more prudent person would have taken a leave of absence” from the firm, he says.

But — although he’s kept his license, and still does a bit of contract work — Stein has been a full-time artist for nearly 20 years.

“It’s quite a switch,” he admits. “People know what a lawyer does. They have status. They don’t know what an artist does.” Then again, he adds, “I don’t know what ‘artist’ means either. I just put pigment on a flat surface.”

Objection, counselor!

Stein does far more than that.

He began experimenting with collages at the Studio School. After earning an MFA from the Slade School in London, he began moving into the political realm.

“A.O.C.” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; from a speech. New York Times photocopies; digitally altered photo. Acryclic, gesso and pencil on cavas.

Stein calls himself a “conceptual portrait painter.” A self-described “political junkie,” he is fascinated by what’s going on in the world, and with the economy.

The artist uses materials from a subject’s world to create their likeness. Stein calls it “a modern take on the Renaissance trope of putting objects into a portrait to illustrate the attributes of the subject — for example, books to show the subject was educated.”

Instead of illustrating the attributes of the subject with a symbol though, he collages the portraits with materials and text from the subject’s world.

“Dissenting.” Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby; Justice Ginsburg’s dissent. Acrylic and pencil on canvas.

Stein says, “I paint, draw and collage to find out what I think about the world; to discover the things I do not have words for. When painting, I savor the slips of the hand that express one’s unconscious feelings about the subject, and in collage, I love the randomness — the snippets of text and photographs appearing and disappearing that becomes the subject’s likeness.

“I am interested in the conversation between abstraction and realism. I do not want to make an academic copy of the model or a photo realistic illustration. My work rather explores the tension of what needs to be shown and what does not, the seen and the unseen.”

Geoffrey Stein, with other types of his work. (Photo/Rosie Lopeman)

His subjects include Alan Greenspan, Timothy Geithner, Jamie Dimon, Janet Yellen and Elizabeth Warren. He’s done Donald Trump, of course.

Commissions started coming: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Queen Elizabeth, presidential candidates, Michael Bloomberg, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Andrew Cuomo, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Greta Thunberg, Amanda Gorman.

“Speaking Truth to Power.” Dr. Anthony Fauci; CDC and New York Times. Acrylic, gesso and pencil on canvas.

Stein works in a studio at his Westport home. He and his wife Pat — a partner in a law firm — bought a house here in 2015.  Before COVID, it was a weekend getaway. Arriving Friday night and leaving Sunday, they were very much New York-focused.

Since moving here full-time in the early days of the pandemic, they have gotten to know their neighbors better. It’s been a wonderful sanctuary for them. “We recognize how fortunate we are,” Stein says.

(Their offices are on opposite sides of the house. “We meet in the middle for lunch and coffee,” he says.)

One downside to working alone: Stein says he has not had time to engage with Westport’s arts community. “I’ve had my head down, working and marketing,” he admits.

As he starts his next project — a Stacey Abrams collage — Stein is thinking about how to go back to the city. His wife’s firm plans to bring their lawyers back after Labor Day.

“It’s so nice to have all these trees, and so much room,” Stein says. “I understand how lucky I am to have both worlds.”

(For more information on Geoffrey Stein, and samples of his work, click here.)

“The Poet.” Amanda Gorman, from “The Hill We Climb” inauguration speech. Acrylic and pencil on canvas.


Roundup: RBG, EV, IVF, More

A crowd of 75 people — of all ages — gathered last night at Westport’s Unitarian Church to honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The vigil was held while the late US Supreme Court justice was being honored in Washington, DC.

(Photo/David Vita)

Pink Aid is going semi-virtual.

The renowned breast cancer organization celebrates their 10th anniversary on Saturday, October 10 at Mitchells of Westport.

There’s a fashion show featuring Brunello Cucinelli; video appearances by the CMA-winning band Old Dominion, Hoda Kotb, Giuliana Rancic and Susie Essman from “Curb Your Enthusiasm”; a photo booth, and mixologist.

But you can also enjoy Pink Aid’s gala at home.

You can pick up a “Pink Aid Party in a Box” at Mitchells’ Westport or Greenwich stores. Charcuterie boards and dinners from Marcia Selden Catering will be delivered in Fairfield and Westchester counties.

For tickets and more information, click here.

Who doesn’t love a parade? Particularly one that — these days — includes everyone driving their own cars.

As part of National Drive Electric Week — who knew?! — 1st Selectman Jim Marpe will wave the checkered flag on Sunday (September 27, 10 p.m.). The site is Donut Crazy, in the Westport train station eastbound parking.

Organized by the Electric Vehicle Club of Connecticut and Sustainable Fairfield Task Force, a parade of 30 EVs will be led through downtown and into Fairfield by

Organized by the Electric Vehicle Club of Connecticut & Sustainable Fairfield Task Force as part of National Drive Electric Week. Marpe will speak and wave the checkered flag to kick it off, and the parade of ~30 decorated & flagged electric vehicles will be led through downtown Westport and into Fairfield by Police Chief Foti Koskinas. He’ll drive (of course) the department’s Tesla Model 3.

Electric vehicles in the parade include a 1903 Baker Torpedo, Vespa Elettrica scooter, Porsche Taycan, Volkswagen E-Golf, Jaguar i-Pace, Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul, Chevy Bolt, and Tesla Models Y, S, and 3.

Socially distant spectators welcome all along the parade route. Click here to see.

Timothy Cole’s The Sea Glass Mysteries goes on sale October 6. He says:

“I want to take the reader on a fun romp through the seamy underside of a wealthy seaside suburbia.

“In this case, the scene of the crime is a highbrow enclave within Westport, Connecticut…yes, home to solid strivers, but with a light sprinkling of moguls and misanthropes.

“Our unlikely protagonist? Ex-CIA intelligence officer Dasha Petrov. Think Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple with a Russian accent.

“She’s now retired from her secret life in America’s clandestine services. But her skills remain pin sharp as she teams with a Westport police detective and a local television reporter. Sergeant Anthony DeFranco becomes Westport’s finest as he confronts treachery in his own ranks….

To learn more — and order — click here.

What is called Connecticut’s “first non-conventional IVF center” opens in Westport on November 2.

Rejuvenating Fertility Center is founded by Dr. Zaher Merhi. He has served Manhattan residents for more than a decade. One of the managers is Jessica Haroun, a 2014 Staples High School grad.

RFC services include ovarian rejuvenation, natural (non-medication, no blood draw) IVF, and ozone sauna therapy. The location is 225 Main Street.

And finally … Roy Hammond — better known as Roy “C” — died last week at 81. A soul singer, he also wrote and produced the Honey Drippers’ “Impeach the President.” The New York Times called it “a political funk barnstormer released in 1973 as the Watergate scandal unfolded around President Richard M. Nixon. It was resuscitated just over a decade later by the Queens hip-hop producer Marley Marl, who sampled its crisp drum intro for MC Shan’s ‘The Bridge.’ Released in 1986, that track caused a tectonic shift in the sound of New York rap.”

Roundup: RBG Vigil, Paving Project, Teen Photo Contest, More

Tomorrow night — as Americans pay respect to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Washington — the Unitarian Church will honor her here.

The outdoor vigil begins at 7 p.m. (Thursday, September 24). Guests can bring a candle in a mason jar, an RBG quote, or a story to share.

Masks are required. If you feel safer in your car, you’re invited to stay there.

Children are invited to be part of this memory-making event too.

Artwork courtesy of Stephen Goldstein.

If you live on a few local roads, you’re in luck. Starting tomorrow, Westport’s Public Works Department will begin paving:

  • Ellery Lane
  • Ambler Road
  • Main Street
  • Myrtle Avenue
  • Reichert Circle
  • Dover Road
  • Janson Drive
  • Janson Court
  • Harborview Road
  • Meeker Road
  • Crestwood Road
  • Coleytown Road
  • Old Hill Farms Road
  • Winding Lane

The Westport Library’s 8th annual Teen Photography Contest has an apt theme: “Together Apart.”  

It’s open to all Fairfield County residents in grades 6 -12. Renowned photographer Pamela Einarsen is the judge.

Click here to enter. The deadline is October 30. So there’s plenty of time for young photographers to take photos — alone or together, but of course apart.

The Richmondville Avenue Mill building is being renovated. Offices will be converted to condos. Michael Pearl was there, and warns: “Beware of flying doors!”

(Photo/Michael Pearl)

And finally … Bruce Springsteen turns 71 today. There were only a zillion songs I could have chosen, to honor one of my favorite artists and human beings. This one made it to the top. (Hat tip: Amy Schneider)

Remembering Ruth Bader Ginsburg

In 2007, Stephen Shackelford spent an afternoon with Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The Harvard Law School graduate was clerking for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. It’s a tradition for justices to get to know their colleagues’ clerks. Ginsburg did it by inviting them to her chambers, for tea.

Stephen Shackelford

Shackelford — now a Westport resident, and RTM District 8 representative — has fond memories of that day, and of watching the well-respected justice interact with her colleagues (and his boss) that year.

After her death yesterday, news stories have focused on several aspects of her style on the bench. She was “rigorously analytical and very hard-working,” Shackelford says. “She expected excellence.”

She spoke deliberately, he adds. There were long pauses during that tea, but she was very open with the clerks. It was clear she loved both the law, and her job.

“Justice Breyer loved her” in return, Shackelford says. “He had such strong respect for her. I think all the justices did.”

In fact, Shackelford notes, Ginsburg’s much-noted friendship with Justice Antonin Scalia was very real.

The year Shackelford clerked for Breyer, his justice and Ginsburg “lost a record number of 5-4 decisions,” he says.

However, the 9 justices “never got acrimonious or personal.” He thinks part of that was due to the example Ginsburg and Scalia set.

“She saw him as far more than his judicial positions. She saw him — and her colleagues — as real human beings. That was so important for everyone to see.”

(Hat tip: Frank Rosen)

Local artist Stephen Goldstein’s “Ruth Bader Ginsburg” is on display at the PopT’Art gallery in downtown Westport.

Pic Of The Day #993

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, downtown (Photo/Dan Woog)