Ross Bleckner’s Room With a View

By

Published May 7, 2009

“He’s the best visitor we’ve ever had—didn’t complain once,” said Simone Monasebian of artist Ross Bleckner, who will tonight be appointed the Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Monasebian is the New York chief of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and she’s talking about her trip with Bleckner to Gulu, Uganda, to teach child victims of human trafficking to paint. It’s a compliment that reflects the artist’s generosity and flexibility (he otherwise spends time in Truman Capote’s estate in Sagaponack), but consider this: He’s also the first artist appointed to this post since the tradition of UN ambassadorships began in 1954. So Monasebian is probably used to the likes of Bono, or Kanye. That said, Monasebian is a tough critic. She’d have to be, as former prosecutor of war crimes in Rwanda. (LEFT: ROSS BLECKNER. PHOTO BY ALEX GARTENFELD)

Monasebian and Bleckner collected in a Roman Catholic Aid Center with two-dozen children, paint and supplies from an East Village art supply store. Bleckner, who’s noted for his large scale paintings about the loss incurred by AIDS, was a natural choice for the project, particularly given his active role in ACRIA (AIDS Community Research Initiative of America). Bleckner got a chance to practice his more sensitive pegadoical strategies, which might benefit his students at NYU. The results are on display in the storefront at the Moschino store in the Meatpacking District, and Bleckner says that any of it “would guarantee admission to an MFA program in the US.” And not so many American portfolios shed light on the identities of criminals, or the ways that trauma manifests in a mediated image—so many of the haunting portraits that emerged from the series depict a henchman of Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army responsible for much of the human trafficking in Uganda. With results like these,you might want to think about inviting Bleckner over for the weekend.


Ross Bleckner will be appointed today at the UN Delegates Dinner. RSVP required. Moschino is located at 401 West 14th St., New York.