SoHo Memory Profile: Leonard Goldstein

The following is a profile of Leonard Goldstein, written by his daughter Bethsheba.

My Father

by Bethsheba Goldstein

Photo of Leonard Goldstein and friend Peggy Yoci at a dinner party

My father, Leonard Goldstein, was born in 1945. He grew up on Longfellow Avenue in the South Bronx in the 1950’s, the 7th child born to Eli Goldstein and Kathrine Mednick. My father’s parents both grew up on the Lower East Side. Grandmother Katie worked as a secretary for her Russian immigrant parents who were tailors by trade and owned a clothing store. As a teenager, she worked for the Shanker Sheet Metal Company, which produced, sold and installed decorative tin metal ceilings in many of the buildings in and around SoHo. This is where my grandparents met and fell in love in the 1920’s. My father worked for my grandfather installing ceilings and learned carpentry skills from him.

Portrait of Leonard by the artist Colette (ca. 1970) drawn at the Spring Street Bar

As a teenager, my father attended the High School of Industrial Arts in Manhattan and then attended the University of New Mexico where he studied painting and architecture. He studied abstract painting with the late John Kacere, who lived in SoHo in the early 1970’s and was known for painting over-sized photo-realism paintings of his wife dressed in sexy lingerie. I remember once visiting his loft with my father as a small child and seeing one of his huge boudoir paintings.  Sometime around 1967 my father met up with the sculptor John Chamberlain at UNM and was offered a chance to work for him in New York on his compression art series and some early foam sculptures. Chamberlain also introduced my father to the art scene at Max’s Kansas City.

From the early 1950’s, my father earned living working as a carpenter, assisting his father install tin ceilings and then renovating for The Mass Brothers Construction Company. During the early 1970’s, my father renovated theaters and art galleries in SoHo. In 1971, he helped build Robert Wilson’s theatre on Spring Street. In 1972, he worked with a small group of SoHo artists that collaborated to build the Dwan and Weber Galleries at 420 West Broadway. Over the years, he became well know in the neighborhood for his affordable loft renovations.  He worked for the photographer Richard Avedon, renovating his studio and in 1973, he built a counter in Giorgio Deluca’s cheese shop on Prince Street. His last project in SoHo was in 1991 at the home and personal kitchen of the Italian chef Giuliano Bugialli on Wooster Street.

In addition to doing renovation projects throughout Manhattan, my father was (and still is) also a painter. His early work consisted of large, over-sized abstract pointillism paintings. The patterns he used were based on the then-new technology of radar imagery that was shown on television in the early 1970’s. Several of his paintings depict the killer hurricanes and tornadoes that touched down in the US around that time.

Sixth Sense by Leonard Goldstein 1976

Over the past few years, I have been discussing these stories with my father in an attempt to document the work he has done. My father was never the kind of person to write down anything about the projects with which he was involved.  He was too busy working and being a full-time single father. There was little time left for promoting his work as an artist. I am quite sure the task of single parenthood was more then enough to contend with. As we discuss his life and work, I am learning more and more about my father’s professional life, and I am constantly amazed by all of his experiences.  Talking to him now, I realize he has never really slowed down to assess all that he has done throughout his life.  I have taken it upon myself, then, to be the chronicler of Leonard Goldstein, painter and father.

Please visit www.leonardgoldstein.com to view Leonard Goldstein’s paintings, sculptures and  writing.

An interview with Leonard Goldstein:

Tags:

8 Responses to “SoHo Memory Profile: Leonard Goldstein”

  1. Stan Mednick Says:

    Beautifully done. As a cousin who spent so much time with the family on Longfellow avenue it is amazing how little I know of any of them. Having moved to L.A. in 1960 seriously put a crimp in my connection. Lenny, you done good all the way around.
    Thanks B. for the bio.

  2. Elizabeth Edwards Says:

    How fascinating and what a lovely thing to be able to do with, and about, your Father 🙂

  3. Bethsheba Says:

    Thank you for reading it and posting your thoughts. Glad you enjoyed the piece.

  4. Leslie Kennedy Says:

    Hello Bathsheba,

    When I was 21, someone gave me a key to stay in your loft on 98 Greene Street. I think you, your Dad and Peggy were in New Mexico for the Summer? When you got back to New York, your Dad was shocked to find me living in your loft, but let me stay to take care of you. I remember taking you to 1st Grade, I think it was PS 1. I met your Dad through someone who’s name was Marty Goldman who I was going out with at the time. Funny coming across this. I have lived in Switzerland for over 30 years and was doing some research on a Gallery in Basel and one thing led to another and now this. What fun. What else are you doing?

    Best,

    Leslie Kennedy

  5. Bethsheba Says:

    Hello Leslie,

    How wonderful to hear from you! I am having trouble remembering your face but were you a dancer? and I think Marty Goldman was the Cinematographer for David Lee’s movie “The Pyramid Theory”, Does that sound familiar? 98 Greene street was such a great place to grow up as a kid. I have such good memories of it. I’m so happy that you stumbled upon my quest-post. How fun to reconnect! I currently live in Northern California. In the magnificent redwood forest. I have one son who is 19 years old. If you would like to exchange e-mails I would love to talk to you in further detail.

    My e-mail in shebasgarden@suddenlink.net

  6. Guest Post Series: Bethsheba Goldstein Interviews Carol Goodden about the Origins of FOOD « The SoHo Memory Project Says:

    […] my last blog submission posted for the SoHo Memory Project (“My Father,” August 20th 2011), I began corresponding with Carol Goodden, who was the original owner of FOOD and the driving […]

  7. Dennis Szymanski Says:

    Great art work Lenny… proud of you!!! Keep on doing your work . I am very impressed!!! Sheba ….nicely done site…I hope your dad recognizes the excellent job you do to bring his work forward!!!kudos!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: