As a historian with a lifelong care for the metropolis, I'm glad
to welcome you to "Aesthetic Realism Looks at New York City: Landmarks,
Poetry, Painting, History, Photography." This website looks at the
great city, whose beauty is ex- plained by Aesthetic Realism, the philosophy founded by Eli Siegel
(1902-1978), the noted American poet and educator who stated: "All
beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is
what we are goingafter in ourselves."
Every city, like every person, is a unique relation of
opposites. The way hardness and softness, past and present, sameness
and difference, rest and motion, vertical and horizontal come together
in New York is what makes this city great. For exam- ple, the city
consists of about 300 neighborhoods in all 5 boroughs making for its
rich diversity--each of which is like the others, yet is also
Siegel loved the city. He lived in New York most of his life, taught
Aesthetic Realism here, walked on its streets, wrote poetry, and
lectured on the city--its history, its economy, its poets, writers, and
artists--and much, much more. To hear him speak about New York and its
people was an unforgettable experience, mingling as he always did the
utmost in feeling and the greatest exactitude, wide range and great
depth. He made New York, its people, and all they had to dowith alive and permanent to me.
you will see here are a selection of poems about New York City by Eli
Siegel and other poets; talks by architects about landmarks such as
Central Park and the Chrysler Building; discussions of works of art in
New York City museums including "Opposites in the Life and Art of
Edward Hopper,” the famous "Madame X" by John Singer Sargent; and the
moving photograph by Nat Fein, "Babe Ruth's Farewell."
These talks have been given publicly in the metropolitan region, and speakers are available upon request.
Aesthetic Realism Consultant