Remembering: My Story by Beatrice S. Harry



I had for many years desired to write down my memories of my family--The Harrys: Madame S. Harry (my mother) Richard( my father), Theodore( my brother), and Grace( my cousin) and our extraordinary life together . Yet, I never seem to have the time. My schedule has been occupied with traveling, collecting and the children. However, as I approach my seventieth year, I felt it is essential to officially record my observations for my son Bruce and for The I Due Art 4 You Museum and their infamous Pop Alreadymades. As Helene has often confided to me "...Beatrice, you must, must document the collection for future generations- otherwise, how will they ever know?"

My life with Mother, Father, and Brother Theodore was quite nomadic. My father Richard S. Harry was part of a large and wealthy family-- John and Celeste S. Harry-who lived in Upper New York, my father's parents were wonderful and loving people- quite religious. There were weekends of horseback riding , sleighing, gardening, hunting and daily church services. My maternal grand parents (Sylvia and Frank Richardson )lived a very glamorous and fashionable existence in New York City where theater, dinner parties, politics, fine wines, poker parties and cigar smoking ( for female and male) were routine. They had three children: Gertrude( Madame S.), Bruce and Lee. They Mother had been married before (her first husband died during the war) and had two children ---my brother Ted and another child who died at a young age from an influenza.

Life with my parents Richard and Madame S.( She hated being called Gertrude) was exciting, crazy and often exasperating. We constantly wandered the world and breathed in our experience. Our education was provided by partaking in life. We met and knew some of the greatest artists of our time from Marcel Duchamp, who engaged us in complex mathematical inquiries and permitted us to play with his personal collection of wind up toys, to the avant garde poet Mina Loy who helped us transform trash objects into exquisite lamp shades that later on sold at boutiques on fashionable Fifth Avenue. Indeed, it was a delightfully delectable childhood. As a child I remember Nude Descending the Staircase hanging in the hall right in front of our bedrooms. I must confess, brother Ted and I spent hours looking for an explicit nude but sadly to no avail. Therefore, we could never comprehend the incredible controversy concerning this particular painting. Ted and I would periodically eavesdrop on my parents extravagant parties (very often costume parties) with my mothers friends, the Dadaists of New York. We thoroughly enjoyed watching all the confusion and insanity. Our favorite artist was Baroness Von Freytag Loringhoven who was so incredibly original. She came to one of my parents' costume parties dressed only in labels and cans from Campbell's tomato products camouflaging her personal female anatomy.

My parents' art collection was quit e extensive and heterogeneous ranging from Leger to Cezzane to Dubuffet and of course the family's perversion for Pop Alreadymades. During Christmas, the children and cousins were allocated a specific amount of money to purchase a work of art . As we got older , the sum of money allowed was increased. Therefore, all of us were privileged to accumulate a truly wonderful collection of art. I first acquired Alexander Calder's mobiles, which was followed by a Man Ray, Picasso, Florence Stettheimer, Lenora Carrington, Lee Miller and Joseph Cornell However, without being immodest, I must explain the meaning of Pop Alreadymades . Pop Alreadymades are mass produced visually stimulating items that unintentionally record our nation's history and ideology. They always fascinated our family because they are inexpensive and accessible to everyone because they normally cost from$.50 to $10.00 at malls and outdoor markets. During our many car excursion throughout America, my family engaged in a treasure hunt for Pop Alreadymades. In fact, the other day, I stopped at a gasoline station on the way to New Mexico and found green knifes marked" United Nations". Isn't this wonderful?

Please forgive my brevity. As there is still so many more memories to explore but for now. I must stop writing as I am exhausted from remembering. Soon, I will again sit down and write some more fragments of memory which will reveal themselves to me. I do promise, to write , as I enjoy telling the tale of my family and the extraordinary life we were able to live. I Thank You for listening.



Beatrice Sissy Harry
New York, New York
December , 1998