A picture worth 1,000 of Neil LaBute's words


Here I go again with the value-added for articles in highbrow publications: the New York Times has an amusing column called "Possessed" about a few of its subjects' favorite things. This Sunday the subject was brilliant, misanthropic playwright Neil LaBute and a painting he owns, the eerie tableau at left. LaBute told the journalist that he liked the painting's obscurity:

"It doesn't have a shared history with other people," he said. "'Guernica' means one thing to me, another thing to Picasso and something else to someone else. This is more about it being my own. I love going through the flea market, like the island of misfit toys, all crying, 'Hey, take me!' ... Do I think of it as great art that should be hanging at MoMA? Probably not, but that's pretty superfluous to how I feel about it."

It turns out, however, that the image has hung at MoMA -- the painting is based on a rather famous photo from 1946, the "Walk to Paradise Garden," by W. Eugene Smith. Per the article, "It is a shot of his two children taken during his recovery from war wounds and seemed to refer to not only Smith's convalescence but that of the United States." And here it is:

smith_children_walking.jpg /

There's loads more on Smith here and two great, if old, articles on LaBute here and here. And for those of you who are hard-core LaBute devotees, you can get your very own "Walk to Paradise Garden" here, although he probably wouldn't want you to.