"The Beloved visited last night.
He filled my head with Wine,
and all worry, indecision, and the rest
as His Bliss
transported my room
Baba Dances on the Berlin Wall
In November, 1989, I took a break during my painting class at the New York Art Students' League on West 57th, and went to buy the TIMES. The lead photo and story showed something amazing: the Berlin Wall, symbol of the Cold War that had gripped the world for 4 decades, was being dismantled. In the photograph, a young man and woman stood on top of the wall and danced, as all around them, on both sides of the wall, a crowd cheered.
The feeling of Meher Baba's New Humanity was powerfully in the fall air. I knew what painting I would do next. There was even a woman from Germany in my painting class. I asked her how to say "Freedom" in German. "Freiheit!" she said.
That became the title of the painting, on a 40"x 48" canvas, quite a bit bigger than the ones I usually worked on. It depicted Baba, in Western dress, embracing the couple dancing on the wall, while all around a crowd did what crowds do: cheered wildly, ate a hot dog, look on blankly, waved a bible, dressed as a clown--and held out a beer, made love, or played the guitar from the windows of the East Berlin apartment buildings I imagined just beyond the wall.
The work itself got destroyed some years later because I didn't have a space in which to store it properly. And I didn't think I had a picture of it, either, till yesterday when someone brought me an album of painting photos I'd given him in the early '90s.
Looking at the piece, I still feel the thrill I felt in the chilly fall air that day looking at the TIMES. The thaw of the "old humanity" has retreated now from the front-page headlines, but surely it's still going on somehow "underground," and we'll see such headlines, or greater ones, again.
On to the next page:
"Recent Meher Baba paintings (2016-2019)