Steve Zehentner

Harold Stevenson was born in 1929 in Idabel, Oklahoma. Over the past six decades, the male figure—often nude and always sumptuously rendered—has dominated the oeuvre of the self-taught painter. Stevenson moved to New York to pursue art in 1949 and almost immediately befriended Andy Warhol. Stevenson would later become the subject of Warhol’s first film entitled Harold and would also appear in the pop artist’s video Heat (1972).

In 1959, Stevenson relocated to Europe, where he resided in France and Italy and exhibited regularly in galleries for nearly twenty years. While Stevenson had developed his classical homoerotic figuration prior to his move to Europe, the artist’s most iconic works were products of the 1960s. Stevenson’s large-scale painting of the close-up of a human eye entitled Eye of Lightning Billy (1962) was included in the pivotal exhibition The New Realists (1962), which also featured artists like Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, Robert Rauschenberg, Jim Dine, Andy Warhol, Yves Klein, Robert Indiana, and many others.

The following year, the Galerie Iris Clert in Paris exhibited The New Adam (1962), an 8-foot by 39-foot reclining nude man, a wall of flesh modeled by actor Sal Mineo and dedicated to Stevenson’s lover, Lord Timothy Willoughby. Also in 1963, the artist’s painting The Call (1963) was included in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Annual. The following year, Stevenson exhibited a 48-foot-high painting of the matador El Cordobas at the Eiffel Tower. The artist then incorporated his own hometown history into his painting when he created one hundred portraits of residents of Idabel for The Great Society (1967–68).

With resolve, Stevenson adhered to his realist style and figural subject matter over the next forty years, even as representational painting phased in and out of acceptance. In the 1980s, while living in Key West, Stephenson incorporated references to Greco-Roman and Egyptian archetypes into his works. In the last decade, Stevenson has focused on sensuous paintings of the young model Christopher John. The artist lives and works in Idabel. – guggenheim.org

See the following link for a wonderful summary of Harold’s life and work by Tawsha Brinkley Davenport
warholstars.org/articles/haroldstevenson.html and for more information: haroldstevenson.org

The Harold Stevenson Biography is a part of The Lower East Side Biography Project and was directed and edited by Amy P. Ferrara in collaboration with Penny Arcade and Steve Zehentner.

If you like this video and want to support our work, please click the Tip Jar. We are currently fundraising to preserve Penny Arcade's & The Lower East Side Biography Project's video tape archive and to produce more content like this. Thank you kindly! Penny Arcade and Steve Zehentner

The Lower East Side Biography Project was created in 1999 by performance artist Penny Arcade and video producer Steve Zehentner as an ongoing biography series and oral history archive. The LES Bio Project’s biographies and archive will help to ensure that future generations have access to the mad souls of invention and rebellion that built the Lower East Side’s international reputation as an incubator for authenticity and iconoclasm in art, culture and politics.

The project seeks to stem the tide of cultural amnesia by bridging the cultural gap between long time residents and newcomers to the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of New York’s Lower East Side. To this end, the LES Bio Project has a community-media training component where young filmmakers are trained in production and post-production technologies and then become shepherds of an individual oral history that they edit into a 28-minute biography. Since its inception, the LES Bio Project has trained over forty individuals, completed forty 28-minute biographies, videotaped dozens more interviews and live events.

The project’s biographies cablecast in New York City every Monday at 11pm EST on Time Warner Channel 34, RCN 82, FIOS 33, and stream live on Manhattan Neighborhood Network Channel One
mnn.org/live/1-community-channel

LIKE us on Facebook and see our weekly cablecast and streaming schedule facebook.com/LowerEastSideBiographyProject

Director/Editor: Amy P. Ferrara
Producer, Director of Photography: Steve Zehentner
Producer/Interviewer: Penny Arcade
Associate Producers: Dean Lance, Rick Jungers
Lights & Sound: Steve Zehentner

stevezehentner.com

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A former architect, STEVE ZEHENTNER is a filmmaker, theater designer/director and archivist based in New York City. His first independent film project, The Color Line: Racism in America, was broadcast on PBS and screened at the New York Film Festival.


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A former architect, STEVE ZEHENTNER is a filmmaker, theater designer/director and archivist based in New York City. His first independent film project, The Color Line: Racism in America, was broadcast on PBS and screened at the New York Film Festival. Recently, The Sunflower Project, a film that questions the limits of forgiveness through the lens of the WWII holocaust was broadcast on Idaho Public Television.

As a stage designer, sound designer, co-director and dramaturge, since 1992 he has collaborated with theater artist, writer and performer Penny Arcade on dozens of shows including Sisi Sings The Blues – a commission for the Vienna Festival, Love, Sex and Sanity, Rebellion Cabaret, New York Values, Bad Reputation, True Stories and Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore!, their internationally acclaimed sex and censorship show. CLICK HERE for latest review of B!D!F!W! – London Times, July 2012. Together they have produced political-theatrical-humanist spectacles in over 30 cities around the world with Steve designing the playground for anarchist provocateur Penny Arcade to run free and deliver her message of love, authenticity, tolerance and freedom-to-the-people. Currently they are developing three new shows, Old Queen, Longing Lasts Longer and Aftermath. pennyarcade.tv

With over 20 years experience Steve’s independent video production company brings creative passion, intelligent design and solid management to projects of all sizes. As a writer, editor, director and director of photography, Steve can work solo or put together a team with some of New York’s best DP’s and sound crew. He has created story-based socially aware and visually sophisticated documentaries, promotional videos, performance videos and event documentations for a variety of non-profit clients, schools and universities including: The Children’s Defense Fund, The Memorial Library, PBS Channel 13, Angel Orensanz Foundation, American Institute of Architects, Telegraph Records, Kulturzeit ZDF Germany, City University of New York Graduate Center, The New School University, The Children's Aid Society, Penny Arcade Productions, Idaho Public Television and Syracuse University.

With Penny Arcade, he is co-founder of the Lower East Side Biography Project, a video oral history documentary project and archive that works to ensure that future generations have access to the mad souls of invention that built this New York City neighborhood's reputation as an incubator for authenticity, rebellion and iconoclasm. The Lower East Side Biography Project streams it's biographies live every Wednesday at 11pm EST on Time Warner Channel One mnn.org.

Steve’s video work has screened at many festivals and is in the collection of libraries and museums: University of Florida - Harn Museum of Art, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Walker Arts Center – Minneapolis, Virginia Commonwealth University, New York Public Library, Free Speech T.V., Independent Focus, Ch. 13 PBS, Idaho PBS, New York Film Festival, Black Int'l Cinema Festival, Video Drive-In – Chicago, Drexel University Television – Philadelphia, OUTFEST Film Festival – LA, New York University, Film Anthology Archives, Hampshire College, Santa Fe State College, Portland State University, Garage Center for Contemporary Culture – Moscow.

He is a co-recipient (with Peter Norrman) of an Aurora Independent Film and Video Award. He has received a NYSCA grant for The Lower East Side Biography Project and a Bogliasco Fellowship to develop The Money Machine, a film animation and multi-media performance piece that presents a debate about the omnipresent culture of "free market" capitalism.

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