Leo Castelli, had a way about him that was both charming and disarming. He was an old world gentleman. He was a man born to a rich history of art. He was not threatening, yet acute in his thinking and knowledge of networking. His history of living in Europe at the time that history tells us was one of the great human tragedies, informed him and played a most important role in his future. Uprooted and sad, for the reality that he had to leave Trieste for a safer environment, Castelli brought to NY the tools to make the mark he was going to make in the modern art world.
As an artist raised by an artist I have been aware that as a child I was special. Yet because I was a child I never really thought about it. But my father, like Castelli with Jasper Johns held my feet to the fire in his way and kept me guided toward the very life I am enjoying.
Right or wrong the right men/women step into positions of leadership even if no one understood this leadership was needed or taking place. Leo started to form what was to become The Modern Art Movement, right or wrong, agreed with or not he made a meteoric impact on everyone’s life, artist, collector, poseur, want a bees, the man/woman on the street.
My father doesn’t recall this memory of mine but I was moving from 6th grade to junior high school and I wanted to stop the art classes and take music classes. In NY the public school system channeled children with talent in anything from the visual arts to performance/acting, science, math, etc, even aviation to schools that allowed them to learn what their talents demanded. So this was a serious move for me and I was taking this test.unbeknownst to my parents. In the school auditorium about half through the exam the large doors to the auditorium shut loudly and I turned to see my father walking behind my 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Barry, and he pulled out of this exam and told me I was staying in art!!
And I did. I wasn’t the best student, yet I did stay focused to some degree. I needed that and as Castelli would do for the struggling Warhol, the insecure Twombly I imagine he provided this same belief in his artists as my father did for me. All artists need this belief from someone at sometime in their lives. I have been fortunate to have had this from my father. My wife does the same thing and has supported my work from day one ( Twenty Years). It is a lot harder probably because I am a bit larger and more arrogant, egotistical and stubborn.