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Carl Panero, 1932-2019


Carl Panero, 1932-2019

A longtime resident of Block Island, Rhode Island, Carl Panero died on August 18, 2019 at age 87. Carl loved the people and places of Block Island and designed his own house on Cooneymus Road in 1974. He was an enthusiastic cruising sailor, fisherman, cook, and a Governor of the Block Island Club. Starting in the late 1970s he helped secure the purchase and donation of the Win Dodge Preserve to the Block Island Conservancy. He spent many happy summers on island with Jim and Dorothy Shipley, his ex-wife’s parents, who maintained a house near the South East Lighthouse, and with his close friends on the island in the off season.     

Born in New York City on May 7, 1932 to Carl Sylvius Panero and Jeanne Duncan Kenyon, Carl Panero studied at the New School for Social Research, received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Pratt University, and did graduate work in Public Administration at New York University. 

From 1954 to 1956 he served in the United States Army as a fire-direction control specialist in a guided-missile battalion. In 1958, working from Point Barrow, Alaska, he traveled throughout the Arctic inspecting construction on the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line through an engineering-services contract with the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation. 

In 1959 he joined the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and worked on the planning and development of LaGuardia, Newark, and Kennedy Airports. Starting in 1962, as part of the Port Authority’s Project Management group, he worked with Minoru Yamasaki as Senior Staff Architect for the development of the World Trade Center. 

In 1971, he joined the New York State Urban Development Corporation (UDC) as the Director of Design and Engineering for its $1.5 billion construction program and was involved in the residential redevelopment of Roosevelt Island. Following a period as a private practitioner and architectural consultant, in 1986 he became the Project Manager for the rehabilitation of Carnegie Hall and, later, Rockefeller Center. Thereafter he headed up the real estate divisions of UJA Federation and Long Island Jewish Hospital until his retirement. 

From his marriage to Ann Shipley, Carl is survived by his son, James Panero, his daugher-in-law, Dara Mandle, and their children, Lily and Augustus. From a previous marriage, he is survived by his daughter, Christine Krom, his son-in-law, William Krom, and step-children Andre Jones and Harry Nyberg. He is also survived by his two sisters, Dianne Butcher and Roxanne Panero. He was predeceased by his half brother, Carl Cestari.

The Panero family extends their thanks for the concern that Islanders showed to Carl following a stroke in 2006. They are immensely grateful to Barbara Watrous, his nurse, for a decade of devotion to his recovery and well-being.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Carl’s name to the Block Island Conservancy. P. O. Box 84, Block Island, RI 02807; 401.466.3111. A memorial reception is planned at the Panero home on Cooneymus Road on August 24 at 4 p.m.


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Collectors Q&A with James Panero


James Panero in front of Paul Behnke’s "A Kind of Grail," 2013. Photo by Lily Panero.

The website asked me to take part in its smart "Collectors Q&A." Here, I am delighted to highlight some of the artists whose work inspires my family at home. With photos by Lily Panero (and dad)! — James

April 30, 2014

Collectors Q&A with James Panero

What was one formative moment for you as your interest in contemporary art began to grow?

In our living room, my parents had a catalogue from the 1982 Whitney retrospective of Milton Avery. I became fascinated with the painting on the cover, “Red Rock Falls” from 1947. The image was like a puzzle I could assemble in different ways: a monster, a neck, a hand, or the beak of Toucan Sam. It wasn’t just one thing. That’s an appeal of contemporary art: the question of it.


From left: Paul Behnke, “A Kind of Grail,” 2013; Julie Torres, “Paintings for Rachel Beach,” 2012; Gary Petersen, "Futuretime," 2013; Joy Garnett, “Blue,” 2012; Audra Wolowiec, "Concrete Sound (4x4)," 2011 (on desk); Rachel Beach, “Nod,” 2012 (in front of window); Mark A. Sprague, "Red Alert," 1952. Photo by Lily Panero


Tell us about your approach to collecting art.

I’m very fortunate in my job at The New Criterion. For my Gallery Chronicle column, which I’ve been writing every month for a decade, I get to document my evolving artistic interests. For the past several years, that’s taken me to the outer boroughs of New York, in particular to Bushwick, Brooklyn, where I’ve been inspired by the energy of their alternative art scenes. Here I see myself as an activist critic, drawing attention away from the market-driven precincts of Chelsea to these quieter corners. In part that means supporting artists and spaces both in words and deeds and, on my very limited budget, collecting where I can. Since I write my column for collectors, it helps to live with art as a collector myself and understand how work evolves in a private setting over time.


From left: works by Martin Bromirski, Austin Thomas, Lori Ellison, and Tom Goldenberg. Photo by Lily Panero.


You’ve written and spoken extensively on the current state of museums. In your article, “What’s a Museum?” you relate an anecdote about Kenneth Clark from Suzanne Bosman’s book The National Gallery in Wartime. During WWII, while museums were closed and evacuated, Clark valiantly began an initiative in which he displayed one work of art each month in a basement room, usually after taking suggestions from the public. Imagine a similar scenario. It’s WWIII, the apocalypse, a significant disaster. What would you display?

The interesting thing about art in crisis is that it comforts us more through a reflection of crisis rather than a distraction from it. So there’s the obvious gut-stirrers, such as “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” but that’s not quite right. Something better would be “The Gulf Stream” by Winslow Homer, a painting that shows us dignity in hopelessness. 


From left: Matthew Miller, "Untitled (Self-Portrait)," 2009; Christopher Wilmarth, "Cut Outs from Breath Etching," 1982; Dee Shapiro, "Untitled (hatchmarks)," 2009; Austin Thomas, two untitled works (on table). Photo by Lily Panero.


What art books would we find on your shelves?

Modern Art by Julius Meier-Graefe; The Journal of Eugene Delacroix translated by Walter Pach; The Tradition of the New by Harold Rosenberg; Art and Culture by Clement Greenberg; The Age of the Avant-Garde by Hilton Kramer. Before bedtime, my daughter and I like to flip through Masterpieces of the Metropolitan Museum of Art


On right: Kerry Law, “E.S.B 11/21/11,” 2011. Photo by Lily Panero.

Tell us about the last exhibit you saw and found compelling.

The “Invitational Exhibition” at the American Academy of Arts and Letters. It’s the lead review in my latest Gallery Chronicle.

Would you close with a favorite quote that’s art-related or speaks to creativity?

“as he seeks the food of light, so he lives in light” —Moby Dick


Loren Munk, "A Depiction of How Art History is Disseminated," 2010. Photo by Lily Panero.

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The New York City Ballet 'Family Saturday'

Corps de ballet members performing an excerpt from Peter Martins’s Swan Lake as part of a NYCB "Family Saturday."

James writes:

A cultural highpoint of classical music must be the development of engaging programs for children. Such events combine just the right mix of performance and narration to captivate and educate future generations (while also delighting the parents in tow).

The "Young People's Concerts" series at the New York Philharmonic offers the best, longest, and most consequential example of how this can be done right. The YPCs started as weekend children's matinees back in the late nineteenth century, became a regular feature in 1926, and reached their zenith (and "the Zenith") in the televised broadcasts of Leonard Bernstein starting in 1958. Some years ago, I watched the full run of these TV broadcasts, which is now available in a nine-DVD set from Kultur video, and wrote about it here.

I grew up attending the children's concerts at Lincoln Center (just after the Bernstein era). Now that I have a young daughter, I am back again. But as we've found, just because they are aimed at children, such concerts are not easy to perform well. A good children's concert is not a short, poorly orchestrated, dumbed-down version of an adult concert, which was what we unfortunately found last summer on the lawn at Tanglewood. All the Boston Symphony Orchestra did with that performance was drive a generation away from live performance, or at least the BSO's approximation of it, and back to YouTube. (If you didn't already know, some of the most captivating classical performances for children can now be found online. Just take a look at our current favorite--the Mariinsky's Nutcracker in flawless HD).    

Coming off the BSO experience, we were unsure what we'd find at last weekend's New York City Ballet "Family Saturday." Billed as a one-hour presentation "designed especially for family audiences," the performance promised "short works and excerpts from New York City Ballet's diverse repertory" with narrative instruction by NYCB artists "offering insights on the music and choreography." 

The answer was the finest children's performance I could imagine. Kept to a captivating, fast-paced hour, the NYCB performed excerpts from the season's repertory. This meant Emeralds with music by Gabriel Fauré, The Concerto Barocco with music by J. S. Bach, Who Cares? with music by George Gershwin, Barber's Violin Concerto, Dances at a Gathering with music by Frédéric Chopin, Todo Buenos Aires with music by Astor Paizzolla, and excerpts from the second and third acts of Coppélia with music by Léo Delibes.

Of the entire selection, the opening performance of Emeralds was the one letdown. At least one of the dancers was off a beat, and viewed from left orchestra, some of the staging was obscured by the musicians who were performing stage right.    

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But it all came together as soon as the morning's emcee, Silas Farley, stepped on stage. Farley may for now just be a young member of the corps de ballet, but his star quality can already outshine the principals of the company. My daughter and I first got to know about him through the NYCB's new online reality show, a high-production-value if slightly clichéd web series produced by AOL of life inside the company, with Sarah Jessica Parker narrating and ballet master Peter Martins acting as the heel (he would make a great villain in a 1970s-era James Bond film).

Here's a tip for next season's videos: less talking, more dancing. But between the catty gripes, the show did give us a glimpse of Farley, who was filmed the moment he received his contract to join the company. Taking bets now: With his great poise and bright attitude, Farley may one day be, what, Principal Dancer? Ballet Master? President of the United States? Until then we were lucky to catch him leading the NYCB's Family Saturday.

On stage, Farley's enthusiasm for dance was infectious as he (and the show's writers) made intelligent and fun comparisons between the programs--such as the differences between the choreography of George Balanchine in Jewels (with its performance directed at the audience) and Jerome Robbins in Dances at a Gathering (played more towards the other dancers on stage). He helped us appreciate the fun of Martins's choreography in the Barber Violin Concerto (with ragdoll moves by Megan Fairchild). He introduced us to an accordion-like instrument called the Bandoneon, played by JP Jofre, in Todo Buenos Aires. Finally, for Coppélia, with its robotic doll, he had the children of the audience stand up and move like marionettes.

It seems to be just the right metaphor. Here was a concert that pulled every string to further a child's appreciation of ballet.  

The NYCB's next Family Saturday is May 10, 2014, hosted this time by Principal Dancer Daniel Ulbricht. Tickets are for general admission and $20 each.  

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