Category Archives: Artists

Susan Berger
Kingston Annual 2021 Exhibition

The Kingston Annual 2021 Exhibition
Displayed at Arts Society of Kingston
97 Broadway in Kingston, NY
September 4 – September 26th
Tuesday- Sunday from 1 PM to 6 PM

There were three jurors: Anna Conlan, Director of Dorsky Museum, New Paltz, NY; Ransome, an artist from Kingston and Sevan Melikyan, Director of Wired Gallery, High Falls, NY. There were 30 artists and 30 works selected from over 450 works that were submitted from artists throughout the Hudson Valley.

Susan Berger received one of the top awards from one of the jurors, Sevan Melikyan.

The work is called: “20,000 Strong to the Inferno 0f 1911″ (Drawing)
Size: 30.5” (w) x 40.5″(h) x 3″(d)

The work is about the inside the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory of the rows of women, who were between 16 to 25 years of age. They were immigrants from mainly Eastern European countries living in lower Manhattan particularly the Lower East Side. The brown fabric has images of the twisted ladders from the fire escape as these workers leaped from the fire to escape which ultimately led to their death. Those who witnessed the horrific fire thought that bundles of rags fell but were actually humans falling from the loft building right near Washington Square Park. This happened on March 25, 19ll at 4:15 PM, and 146 perished and 123 were women.

You have the layout of the workplace and the escape doors which were locked. And the lone elevator. It is artwork that tells a story. The middle part has images: one of the images is of women holding signs of striking and behind them of the burly police who roughed up these young girls. Another image is a closeup of three women striking and announcing why they are picketing. The middle image is darkened and ash-like in presence of a screen over it and a print from a page from a newspaper of its time. The print or lettering gives a clearer description of the work. The 20,000 shirtwaist workers marched to Cooper Union to tell the world about the horrible working conditions and dismal wages, and that they wanted a better life and felt that joining a union was the solution. Unity brings strength. These women were immigrants who were feminists and believed they deserved a better existence in the workplace; and told about their plight. Two years later the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory happened and some things were changed and eventually, The Ladies Garment Workers were founded by these very brave souls.

Immigrants are the soul and bedrock of our country.

Susan Berger
I am a fiber mixed media artist. In a way, I want to create a setting. I find material and use stitching for the details in the work. It becomes like a sampler that women did in the 19th Century. Before I do a larger and more detailed work it is a drawing. The middle piece was actually a swatch that I did or someone asked me to do to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. After I did it, I was told that the 12″x12″ swatch was too heavy and asked for it to be returned. I put the swatch away, forgetting about it and it was tucked away in my studio. My studio was in the basement of Westbeth and along came Superstorm Sandy and rediscovering the work not ruined. A year plus later decided to do something with the swatch, and that is how the piece came about. From there, an installation work came which had taken more close to two years to complete, and the swatch was used in its entirety with rug hooking techniques and again a mixed medium artwork. The story expanded.

Robert Bunkin
Recent Paintings
Family, Friends, Neighbors

Orly in Her Studio 2020 acrylic on canvas 30×22 inches

October 2 – October 30, 2021
Mon – Fri 10am – 6pm
Saturday 10am – 5PM
Sunday Closed

Saturday October 2, 2pm – 4pm
No refreshments will be served due to Covid restrictions.

Saturday October 9, 2021 at 2PM
Works can be purchased directly from the artist.

The works on display were produced since the artist moved to Westbeth in 2014.

They are all done from life, incorporating the sitter’s works or relating to the subject’s life and environment.

Several sitters are represented in a series of works offering more varied insights than the ‘traditional’ definitive image portraiture offers.

Robert Bunkin is a painter, curator, art historian, and educator with an MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.

Penny Jones and Ralph Lee
Puppets of New York

August 17, 2021 – April 22, 2022
Museum of the City of New York

1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street
Friday – Monday 10AM – 6PM

“The International Puppet Fringe Festival NYC, which arrives this week with over 50 shows and events, more than a dozen short films and five accompanying exhibitions, including “Puppets of New York” at the Museum of the City of New York, is far from a kiddie celebration.

But perhaps this festival’s most novel element is its partnership with the Museum of the City of New York, which will open its 2,500-square-foot exhibition with a sold-out celebration on Thursday evening. Puppets of New York,” which runs until early April at the uptown Manhattan museum, features photographs, videos, films and sets, as well as more than 60 puppets. They range from cardboard finger models designed by Penny Jones to José A. López Alemán’s 12-foot-tall Titanya, the fairy queen from “Sueño,” Teatro SEA’s Afro-Caribbean version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

“The main argument of the show uptown is that the history of puppetry in New York City mirrors the demographics of the city,” said Monxo López, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation fellow who curated “Puppets of New York.” And, he noted, “many different puppeteers that reflect that diversity have not been as visible as others. It was important to tell that story of diversity, of visibility, of inclusiveness, in a way that also showed joy and possibility.”

To that end, the exhibition includes not only designs by famous masters like Jim Henson and Ralph Lee, but also work by artists like the Manteo family, who brought complex metal-armored Sicilian marionettes when they immigrated to New York a century ago, and Derek Fordjour and Nick Lehane, whose 2020 puppet production, “Fly Away,” featured a nameless young Black

-Laurel Graeber
NY Times August 121, 2021
Read entire article HERE

Karen Santry
Big Book of
Fashion Illustration

Karen Santry
“Women with Pugs”
Book Cover of the
Big Book of Fashion Illustration

Author: Martin Dawber
Forward: Karen Santry
Book Cover: Karen Santry

To smoke out the images in this exciting book, Martin Dawber has become a kind of Pied Piper eliciting, with astounding digital pitch, the cutting-edge visions of hundreds of fashion illustrators around the world.

Encountering his artists in the light of monitors, at the foot of fashion runways, on the streets of Paris and in the pages of little-known magazines, Dawber found fashion art alive and well, albeit changed. HIs subjects do not portray fashion in beautiful isolation as was common in the 50’s and 60’s, they transpose it – with seamless integration – into contemporary lifestyle.

Coffee at Starbucks, skateboard ramps, Shoe Fest at Bergdorf’s, and even the bedroom, all provide a new stage for the daily interaction of fashion and lifestyle. Make no mistake, though, what Dawber captures is anything but mundane. His ability to dictate new trends by showing us images we see every day but in a startling new way amazed me from cover to cover.

Karen Santry Gangsta Rapper’s Daughter Bride
oil on rosewood

Line, like the baton of a skilled maestro, he takes the viewer throughout The Big Book of Fashion Illustration making drawing a central theme. Whether the artist is using a Number 4 pencil, or a Wacom tablet line is tantamount. Throughout history, the skilled use of line has always been one of the most effective artistic methods used to convey emotion. Dawber employs this time-honored technique to delight and surprise us juxtaposing high fashion and tears, heartbroken women face to face with gorgeous, well-dressed, men, bored sprawling youths on skateboards, and angry bad boys flying around the hood like a pack of hornets, to name a few.

In the ongoing and ruthless competition between fashion illustration and fashion photography, the confluence of hands-on materials, the latest digital programs, and the best use of attitude, character, and–of course–style (which always comes from within) are what wins.

And the artists in this book are winning. All born of a generation deeply influenced by comic books, gaming, music videos and cartoons, the multi-vantage points enliven the illustrations, inviting viewers to participate as opposed to keeping them at a distance behind the velvet ropes. Page after page, sexuality is brazenly flaunted, often turning the viewer into a voyeur. This is fashion illustration at its best, incorporating every weapon of seduction. Hang on to your hats and wallets – these formerly endangered artists are out to get you!

What’s more, these illustrators come from many cultures and countries. Any reader attempting to identify the roots of each illustrator will be happy to find that East has been busy meeting West creating a truly inclusive global representation of fashion illustration.

Karen Santry, Associate Professor Illustration
Fashion Institute of Technology, New York NY
Executive Vice President, Fashion Art Bank Inc. (USA and Japan)
Westbeth Artist’s Housing since 1990!

Karen Santry on Westbeth website

Nazanin Noroozi

Aug 20 – Oct 15, 2021
2900 Detroit Av
Cleveland, Ohio

The Riptide is a visual short story based on super 8 movies that Nazanin Noroozi’s father took in post-revolution Iran. In this 4 minute film, handmade cinema is used as a medium to transform personal and family archives in order to re-create a narrative told by others addressing trauma and displacement. The mundane moments taken from kids’ school choirs, are juxtaposed with the images of glaciers melting, fictional asteroids attacking the earth, and other natural disasters to lift us beyond a singular event and represent a communal effect shared by millions in the anthropocene.

Nazanin Noroozi
Artist at Risk Resident at Westbeth

Nazanin Noroozi, (New York, NY) is a multimedia artist incorporating moving images, printmaking and alternative photography processes to reflect on notions of collective memory, displacement and fragility. Noroozi’s work has been widely exhibited in both Iran and the United States, including the Immigrant Artist Biennial, Noyes Museum of Art, NY Live Arts, Prizm Art Fair, and Columbia University. She is the recipient of awards and fellowships from New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship-grant, Artistic Freedom Initiative, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, Mass MoCA Residency, North Adams, MA and Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts Residency, NY. She is an editor at large of Kaarnamaa, a Journal of Art History and Criticism. Noroozi completed her MFA in painting and drawing from Pratt Institute. Her works have been featured in various publications and media including BBC News Persian, Elephant Magazine, Financial Times, and Brooklyn Rail.
The Artist Safe Haven Residency Program is designed to house and nurture international artists who are persecuted on the basis of political affiliations, ethnic, locational, religious, and/or gender-based persecution; forcibly displaced; artists who need a respite from dangerous situations; or artists from countries experiencing active, violent conflict.

“I am happy to share the news that I joined the prestigious community of NYFA/NYSCA fellows in the category of Video & Film.
NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship Program has supported artists at all stages of their professional careers for more than 30 years. Many of the past fellows have gone on to become world-renowned artists whose work has touched the lives of many. NYFA has awarded 92 New York-based artists in grants as part of its 2021 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship. Selected from an applicant pool of 3,572, the artists represent five disciplines that were selected for this year’s round of grants: fiction; folk or traditional Arts; interdisciplinary work; painting; video or film.”

Nazanin Noroozi website

The Artist at Risk initiative is led by a coalition of organizations working to safeguard free expression, and includes Artistic Freedom Initiative, Residency Unlimited, Westbeth Artist Housing, Fordham University, PEN America’s Artist at Risk Connection, Tasmizdat, and

Westbeth Artist Housing provides artists of all disciplines a residency for 6 months to two years, depending upon the requirements of the sponsoring program partners. Matthew Rutenberg of the Westbeth Board of Directors spearheaded Westbeth’s involvement in the coalition.

For more information, go to the NYC Artist Safe Haven website: Artistic Freedom

new book



The Hague, May 9th 1940. Bert Meijer van Leer becomes the proud owner of a German motorbike. Little does he know that the motorbike, a Zündapp, will save his life and cause his downfall. On May 10th the German army invades Holland. On that day Emmeke, Bert’s sister, celebrates her birthday. Emmeke and Bert are Jewish, but not practicing. Bert has been baptized and marries Lien who is Protestant. Emmeke is married to Joost, who isn’t Jewish either and anti-religious out of principle. Ingredients for a fatal chain of events.

Their ‘mixed marriages’ can’t protect them against the measures the Germans take against the Jews: excluding them from the society they live in through registration and public humiliation by forcing them to wear the Star of David; and, if they don’t comply, arrest, imprisonment, and deportation to a concentration camp.

In Labyrinth of Lies, Paul Binnerts witnesses how the Nazi’s slowly tighten the rope around the necks of his characters. They are constantly facing decisions, which only in retrospect turned out to be the wrong decisions. He deeply sympathizes with them but can only keep them company.

Published: 2021 by Prometheus, Amsterdam.
The title, Het Leugenlabyrint, translates into English as Labyrinth of Lies. An
English translation is in preparation.


Dutch theater director, acting teacher, playwright and novelist.

Situated in New York and Amsterdam. His plays Black Box, The Same Sea (based on novels by Amos Oz) and Mephisto (based on the novel by Klaus Mann) won prestigious awards in Europe. The Same Sea was produced in Toni Morrison’s Atelier at Princeton University in 2004.

Published ACTING IN REAL TIME, Univ. of Michigan Press in 2012.

A VERY (c)OLD CASE, Part 1 and 2: first original play in English. Reading Part 1 @ Lark Theater, NYC, 2011.

LOST & FOUND: second original play in English, directed @ Westbeth by Nancy Gabor.

Directed over 75 productions in Holland, UK, Germany, US and Japan.

Taught ‘real time acting’ @ drama schools in Holland, Germany, the UK and the US, including Princeton and NYU.

Published his novel LABYRINTH OF LIES in Holland in 2021

Susan L. Berger, Visual Artist

Resident at Westbeth since 1970

Other Remembrances

One of the most beloved tenants was Hugh Hurd, who would always greet everyone in his pathway. He was the voice and identity of the Westbeth community and was referred to as the “Mayor of Bethune Street.” To this day, I see and hear Hugh. The community was smaller then; we knew and said hello to everyone. How can we ever forget the origins of the Halloween parade, starting in Westbeth’s courtyard—all lined up and going along the streets as long as it would take us. We were Westbeth proud. I later had a child, and he enjoyed and was forever dedicated to his upbringing at Westbeth and his school, P.S. 3. He has been shaped by growing pains and joys of life in and around Westbeth.

Lastly, we have had our shares of unpleasant memories—the World Trade Center was thoroughly destroyed, removed from the landscape by a terror attack, and on October 29, 2012, the rising of the Hudson River destroyed my studio, submerging it in ten feet of water. We were stronger for surviving these events—and that’s what makes Westbeth stronger as a community.

Norman Thomas Marshall, Actor/Director/Writer

Resident at Westbeth in the 1970s

R.P. Sullivan

Most artists realize at some point that creating or performing in their chosen field is not going to bring wealth and fame. Further it is highly unlikely that they will be able to eke out the barest of livings from their work as artists. Even further, it is unlikely that an artist will continue doing their art throughout their lives, even with a day job to see that the landlord gets paid, even though the rent is too damn high.

On a scale of talent/material success, Patrick Sullivan had the worst rating of any artist I have ever known. Patrick was an exquisite human being, an awesomely talented sculptor, a wonderful scenic designer, and a fine actor. He had almost every gift that the gods could bestow. As handsome as a Disney prince, a voice so pleasing that a Metropolitan Opera baritone might envy it, and a funny, thoughtful, loyal friend and colleague.

His tragic flaw: he couldn’t make a quarter riding or walking. He was on the Westbeth management perpetual shit list with an evict-or-shoot-on-sight poster featuring his picture. (The Westbeth management of that benighted era had no truck with an artistic genius who could not pay the rent.)

Once Patrick and I were chatting about jury duty, which then paid about eight dollars a day–a paltry sum, even for the seventies. He was called to serve at a much greater than normal frequency. He seemed to be complaining, so I suggested a coupla strategies to evade excessive callings to civic duty. He shook his head. “But I need the money.”

Adam Ross Kalesperis, Singer/Pianist/Composer

Resident at Westbeth since 2019

WESTBETH: Where the Legends Live


To describe this sacred place

     is not a simple task.

We are complex and opinionated

     and bold, and, sometimes …



For we, each one of us,

     have lived lives of deepest sorrow,

          but also—elevated, unequivocal, indescribable

          … joy!

     (Such is the birthright of the artist.)


In my short time here

     (though I’ve waited all my life)

     the legends I’ve met

          are lovely,


                    languishing and



How delightful it is

     to have arrived here

          at last …

     I have dreamt and daydreamed

          of a place like this,

               a place on this precarious planet

     that I could call my home—


          Now …


          (perhaps it means West Bethlehem,

               some could say)


There’s Suzen snapping photos,

     beautiful black and white

     (the kind that inspire murals, mountainous,

         moments and memories in time)


 And Toni capturing cityscapes and skyscrapers,

     always with a lonely Luna, lulling gently

          in the wispy whirling clouds above …


Meanwhile, Penny—puppeteering,

     playing parables in her palm

     for people, young, but also old.


Across the way—illustrious Ilsa,

     whose poetry pours in elixirs, enchanting

          every reader of her words,

               her wisdom …



And who could forget Eve? Oh, how effervescent!

     (Well, I can’t forget, for Madam, I’m Adam.)

She blesses this beautiful building

     with the gift of song— yes, singing!

     All are welcome, everyone,

          and if they come,

               they come again

                    for more …


Everyone here is a legend,

     both those who are still living,

     and those, too, who have gone on …

          as we all will go—

          on and on

     and on and on …


Dearest Bob, whom I never knew

     though somehow, yet, I do

          through his unplayed possession—

          my welcoming gift from this beloved place.

He gave to me—a muse!

     his piano (now mine, now ours …

          for what is mine is never mine alone,

               but a gift I give you, too—

                    all of you!)


For we, as “legends of Westbeth” understand

     that to be an artist,

          is to share our work, our gifts, our

          talents with the world …


That, my friends, is the reason we are here,

     the reason we are legends …

Here in wonderful Westbeth,

     in the West Village of Manhattan

          where the legends live