This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Irita Van Doren announces that the first speaker must leave immediately after speaking and asks Maurice Dolbier to introduce Huntington Hartford. The format of this Books and Authors Luncheon is different, instead of delivering a speech, Hartford is interviewed by Dolbier. Dolbier enquirers how Hartford settled upon the title of "Armageddon of Art." Hartford explains that the battle of Good and Evil exists in art, and that there should be a relationship between ethics and art. He discusses the retreat of artists from society. He discusses abstract art portraying a destructive element on canvas.
Dolbier goes on to discuss Hartford's founding of the Gallery of Modern Art in New York City. They discuss the positive reception of the museum and upcoming exhibitions.
Van Doren returns as emcee, introducing guests on the dais who will not be speaking. Dolbier then introduces Maurice Druon, author of "The Accursed Kings" series and "The Memoirs of Zeus." Druon, who explains that he does not speak English well, speaks only for a moment.
Next, Edward Stone, architect and designer of the Hartford Gallery of Modern Art. He speaks briefly about working with Huntington Hartford on the design of the museum.
Dolbier then introduces James Britt Donovan, who acted as the defense attorney for Rudolf Abel during his conspiracy trial, later he brokered the exchange of Rudolf Abel for U-2 pilot, Francis Gary Powers. This story is the topic of his book, "Strangers on a Bridge." He discusses the perceived relationship between a lawyer's advocacy with his client's cause. He is critical of those who decry a lawyer or judge who upholds the law, even to the benefit as someone perceived of as a criminal or undesirable. He thinks it is important for those from other counties to see the United States' commitment to due process and justice. He contrasts Abel's case to the treatment Powers received in the "police state" of the Soviet Union. Donovan goes on to speak a little about Abel's personality and the trial.
Finally, Dolbier introduces Karl Menninger a psychiatrist from Topeka, Kansas and author of "The Vital Balance." Menninger discusses mental illness and describes the few differences between the mentally well and unwell. He notes the effects of power and human aggression.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 71404
Municipal archives id: RT241
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
Program laid out and I'm going to ask Mr Morris to introduce him to you. In New York's Columbus Circle that has arisen a new nine story Gallery of Modern Art and a certain amount of controversy the gallery comes from a stunning can halt the controversy from a number of the city's critics who have expressed their opinion of Mr Hopkins collection and will soon be able to read in his book. His opinion of them this topic was born in New York in nine hundred eleven attended St Paul's School at Harvard three of us because today by the way attended Harvard and during the Second World War One a commendation I'm five battle stars as a commander of naval freighters in the Coast Guard Reserve has been active in many ways in the fostering of creative arts in America that's his best known contribution to this aim is the Huntington Hartford Foundation in California for artists writers sculptors and composers we are this afternoon changing the usual form of these presentations so that I have the pleasure of the first introducing Mr Hopwood to you. And them of inviting him to join me at this microphone for a brief and highly informal series of questions and I must have. Thank you for it since the book is not here you have to and will not come until May Can you tell us why you chose the title I might go to Nevada I'm what I got a lot is about as. Well I was searching around for a title and I was thumbing through but let's quotations a good place to fuck you and I came across the word on again and I looked it up and Webster's and I decided that you know it really fitted what I was trying to say I think the definition was a final and can close a battle between the forces of good and evil and I don't think people ordinarily think. Good and Evil and as in regards to OD but of course this is something that I've been talking about for a number of yes I feel that there should be a relationship between ethics and I just as a matter of fact as I think there ought to be some relationship but I won't steal any I'm Dr Manning asunder between ethics and psychiatry. But do you think that we have now approached a time in the world where a final encounter of good God and a complete place of any sort of. Well I think on is really been put on the spot in the twentieth century I think not at a certain definite place which it took in previous centuries where it was automatically almost a debt of five to a certain extent with religion from many hundreds of yes' then I think with the political and commercial elements that add it and to it and added into the picture in the twentieth century art was sort of pushed into the background and it was taken advantage of by whom Well I think to a certain extent. By destructive forces what perhaps what pot funds by communism and I think at the site. In time by a great deal of dogma which may have been influenced by capitalism toe I mean that the dog of certain elements in big business and I think that the autos resent it kind of dogmatic attitude which seem so current particularly in the United States and they kind of decided to take it out on society by glorifying the chaotic and glorifying and a chasm and glorifying these things particularly in abstract expressionist do you think this is a revolt against society or a retreat from society about of the sort of I think it's first of all it is a retreat it's a kind of an attitude well there's nothing we can do about it so we'll do we'll just we'll go back into our ivory tower and we'll do it all in our studio and we don't give a Don you know what happens in the world you know we have a little world of our own but at the same time it can also attempt to be destructive I think it contempt it can attempt to try a destructive element. Throw abstract expressionism and throw the trying chaos on canvas and not only on in painting but in other areas such as literature where you as a man who has decided to do something about it could you tell us. When you first became deeply concerned with this with this battle in the office well about ten to twelve years ago I was interested at that time and building a museum out in California in Los Angeles and the first thing even before I decided to build a museum I thought that I would have a contest. Of Ottis and and show what the point of view of the critics was versus the public because I felt that was a constant divergence between the critics a wider and wider bridge between what the critics thought and to a certain extent what the intellectuals thought and what the general public thought about often and I wanted to have this this exhibition out there but I couldn't find a place to show it was impossible and finally I went to the why was that impossible well because you have to have an enclosed area and you have to have a big place to exhibit you know a thousand paintings at two thousand plantings and it just wasn't any place that existed and you have to have the wood from somebody and you had to get in OK so I went to the channel a family who control the county because Los Angeles County it got a museum and they had a very dignified board of directors mating and finally throw me out and so then I was out of the only thing to do was have my own museum and but at that time I still wanted to do it in new in Los Angeles and I happened to have a base of property out there in the canyon and at first I thought of getting a private home I was thinking of course home I don't he's but of course they weren't fireproof and that was impossible so for some time I planned a building in a canyon there and that didn't work out and then I came to New York. And I had always been overwhelmed by the idea of building a museum in New York because there were so many I felt that it would be just impossible and then I suddenly realized that there weren't as many as I thought that actually the Museum of Modern Art and to a lesser extent the Whitney the great many exhibitions That's right and the gold and I didn't even exist in the same way that does Now the same building and I suddenly realized that it wasn't as big a problem as I'd feel and so I decided that the only place where you could really have really influence not only New York and one city but the world was to build build it here have you been gratified by the response not of the critics say but of the public since the museum was built the response of the crowd of the public is what just great because we've had about seventy five thousand people at the museum but that averaged about four thousand a day and it was beyond my director. Beyond. Hope everybody missed. The director was with. My wonderful director was here somewhere Mr Y. no. It was really beyond our expert in fact a sions may want to ask you a closing question what are your future plans what future exhibitions do you have so you only think about in about ten days we're opening our new show which is by Roussel sculptures show of a cell and of course the burn John show one is what I'm trying to United States we're putting both of them at the same time they're coming out in about in about ten days I think most of us would thank you for the interview and above all thank you for the museum thank you very much thank you. Thank you thank you. Once more ladies and gentlemen. I think we'll double back on our trucks a little bit and do some of the more traditional things that we have these luncheons and. I going to tell you who is it that is when I'm not going to be speaking to you but you'd like to know I think. On my stream left you will find Mr Goddard Light who is the. The manager of the lighthouse bookstore in Rye and he's also a director of the American Booksellers so shaken Mr line. Then comes. And you see then comes Mr Raman. Yes. The managing editor of the department for the bobbies American in the trade department who published Huntington Hartford's book get in Nevada and I really think he should have told you about him after Mr Huntington Hartford but he didn't have to get to Washington and Mr Hartford did so. Then comes Mrs time. With Oh I'm sorry I didn't know this she was supposed to be here but she went to Washington she'll get ahead of it. However we do have someone here today someone else who is connected with Mr hotrod and that is Mr Edward Stone and Mr. Mr Gore we are. Mr Dolby I will tell you a little bit more about him and give him a chance to self about it later and let's see I'm sorry this is so mixed up but if you will now just skip right along past Mr doorbell and this gentleman here and pass me and pass the next gentleman and you will get over to Mrs Carter. And then comes the president of the Viking Press who published Dr meninges book the vital balance Thomas. On the right of Mr Ginsburg Let's see now do we have here is Mrs Donna. This is James. And then comes Michael Bessey apartment an Anthony M. who publish Mr Donovan's strangers on a bridge Mr Bear. On his right is an edited by King press who are the who we are Dr manages publishes them Lindley. And finally someone whom I know I do not need to introduce you anymore Joe Duffy who is executive director of the American Booksellers. Now I think perhaps before we have the regular drawing. The cards and the autograph books of the speaker I think we will introduce you get Mr Dalby to introduce the speakers themselves and then if you will all stay in your places for a few moments after the luncheon is over we'll have the drawing for the books and you can come up and get them those of you who are lucky so now I'm going to turn this luncheon over to Mr delegate. We have two special guests at this day as today besides the announced panel of three speakers I'm delighted to introduce one of them now a most distinguished and most welcome visitor from France author of that remarkable series of historical novels of medi├ªval France the accosted kings and of a charming and provocative book published in this country yesterday by Scribner's the memoirs of Zeus Micio things go wrong. I'm greatly deeply honored to be here. And my inability in speaking your language it will be an excuse for being very short and I on they want to say that it is very impressive and very encouraging to see so many distinguished people live assembled and by their interest in books greatly encouraging Phil do as well writing books and that's give me a measure of your great nation. They second of our seven star extras today has already been mentioned by Mrs Bunker and one of the world's foremost architects and by no coincidence the design and build of want to come hard for the Gallery of Modern Art I want to present Mr Edward direct stop. Thank you Mr Chairman it's a little hard for me to explain myself my presence here. However I am a frustrated journalist. Very hard to be eloquent Brix matter of fact between an idea and its realisation maybe five years is a lapse by that it's. An old love which I'm sure you're familiar with however couplets sonnets and so on are. Easy year to come by in a way however I've tried to be literate on occasion and. To speak of that which of creation and I understand it it's the same with your veterans too. I find that. I am dollars myself in this. Love of journalism by having among my friends journalists and if I may bow was darling them Legion now or as one of these. She's only brilliant dame who doesn't strike terror into my heart and then I could boast a little farther about Roy Howard who declared his own armistice and the World War was on and Dick Clarke and Daley moods and realm and more and of they. And I knew as Rob another distaff era. And we're all familiar with. Women who are washing floors on her knees who know very well a should have been ballerinas and lawyers invariably want to be actors and I think Dr Karl manager another hero of mine having been a patient of his but I'm keeping in reserve. We've been friends for twenty years and we had lunch and day or so ago he said I thought that man's greatest blessing was to find his life work so he could ease conscience about being on earth he agreed with me. But nevertheless. Let me be a little wistful over journalism now we have in this country an institution called capitalism and affluence is something it is escape me for forty years. But it didn't Mr Hartford Fortunately. And fortunately it didn't escape the matter G.'s nor Peter the Great who built Leningrad or the Luise who built Perry's. I think that. I believe democracies democracy is here to stay but I don't mind having a lot of money in the hands of the rich especially in the rich like Huntington who turned his. Affluence toward. Exhilaration and lifting of May and. Spiritual aspirations now of course when you build for other people. The big history of my life is wrecked reconciling dreams and dollars and never enough dollars not even with Mr hard for so when the bad news. Bad news was upon me about the cost of Mr Harford building he was in London so I had to go to London and telling about this must say with a very shaky boy and I said Huntington this bill is going to cost two million dollars more than I believe you want to spend and I had all sorts of devices for saving these two million dollars Well he said I think the building I want to just worth two million dollars more than I planned to spend and that was the last time we talked about money. Well I think. A long time required in realizing an architectural dream and there are certain compensating things now your man's basic in arrest I'm told you check me on this CARRO. It is there only in arrested fundamentally in three things food sex and shelter. And I consider myself pretty lucky to be in the shelter racket. And speaking of frustrations I betcha there's not a single person in this room who in the frustrated architect Well I get back to capitalism again that institution and been so elusive to me. I must tell you about a. Deal involving some nominal sum of money but with very illustrious figures involved at the time of the dinner for then national cultural center now the John F. Kennedy. Center for the Performing Arts which incidentally I think is poetic justice. We were all seated on the rostrum and Mrs don't sat next to John D. Rockefeller the third and between her and Mrs Hartford was Gene black the head of the world's World Bank and the next came Mrs Hartford so she turned to Mrs Stone and said Maria do you have a dime around I'm nobody asked what she wanted me for but Mitt is so Mrs Stone turned to John D. Rockefeller the third and said Mr Rockefeller and you haven't done. When he opened had a little old fashioned purse which he opened. And Maria you know an intrusion of privacy but she saw that he had very carefully lined up their dimes nickels and quarters. So she said Would you mind lending Mrs Hartford a dime. He didn't at all so I took it out yeah even to Maria my wife who in turn handed it to Eugene blac