Donald Hershman And George Wayne

Artist Don Hershman celebrated the finale of his latest collection of original pieces, as part of a retrospective series inspired by the late Victor Arimondi.  In the show, Donald and Victor: Under The Influence, the inventive artist embodied his visceral need to pursue interests and creative expressions as he paid a loving tribute to his former partner who succumbed to AIDS in 2001. Hershman’s paintings recognizes the unique attributes of Arimondi’s work, featuring a display that is compassionate and reflective of our modern times. The exhibit can still be viewed until Sunday, June 27th, 2021. A feature film chronicling Don & Victor’s relationship, with a screenplay written by Don, is titled SHOOT ME BEAUTIFUL and is currently in preproduction. George Rush serves as executive producer.

Gigi Salomon With Erika Kaiser

The closing reception took place at Salomon Arts Gallery in Tribeca. Notable attendees included: Artist Don Hershman, Gallery owners Gigi and Rodrigo Salomon, Jorge Alzate, Adam Stoltman, Charlii Sebunya, Erika Kaiser, Jamie Russell, George Wayne, Philip Greenwald, Filip Wolak, Moises Castano, Gabriella Gil, Roger Friedman, Palden Namgyal of Sikkin, Dechen Tshering, Leonid Gurevich, Rosemary Ponzo, Janik Aleksander, Carmen D'Alessio, Robert Victor, Sarai Sanabria, Stephan Maisonneuve, and Natalya Read.

 Shortly after the opening reception, back in May, there was also a successful Art Talk with guest speaker Adam Stoltman, a former New York Times and Time, Inc., photography editor, who was in conversation with Hershman and shared remarks on the legacy of Arimondi’s work.

Arimondi was a famed Italian American model and art photographer whose unique eye and sensuous style captivated the world.  At the time of his death, Hershman inherited his estate, including his vast collection of photography and art, as well as never before seen portraits by Arimondi of Andy Warhol superstar Ivy Nicholson.

Rosemary Ponzo And Janik Aleksander

 “During our 17 years together Victor steadfastly guided and molded me, and after his sudden death in 2001 I became solidly dedicated to my art, his presence more powerful than ever - a driving force to create something that is no longer a choice for me, but a necessity,” says Hershman. “This show at the Salomon Gallery brings mine and Victor’s work full circle with 20 new selected paintings from 2019 to 2021, along with a carefully curated selection of 38 photographs, taken between 1972 and 2001, four of which I interpreted into my own paintings, called the D & V Series.”

Carmen D'Alessio With Robert Victor

 The exhibit serves as a love letter to a luminary who graced the pages of fashion magazines including Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Esquire, and appeared on the runway for many top designers, predominantly Valentino and Cerruti. Arimondi’s determination to turn the camera lens from his face onto the world he saw before him led to famously shooting the likes of Grace Jones, Liv Ullman, and Norman Mailer, as well as several portraits of male nudes captured during the pre-AIDS culture of the early 1980s.

Rodrigo Salomon And Leonid Gurevich

He also notably focused imagery of the plight of the homeless of San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood suffering during the height of the AIDS epidemic. In his words, "Since I posed in front of the camera for so many years, my experience with talented photographers made me realize a way to express my inner world."

About Don Hershman:

Driven by a desire to continually improve the state of the world, Don Hershman lives out a fascinating dual life in grand succession that inspires his own artwork. He holds unique combined positions as both an illustrious artist and a renowned podiatric surgeon. Equal satisfaction is found when he paints, as well as when he performs surgery on patients.

Born in 1954 and raised in New York City, he received his BA in Pre-Med with Psychology from State University of New York at Buffalo and trained in Podiatry at the College of Podiatric Medicine in San Francisco before establishing his own private practice there in the early 1980s. As the painter was building his medical practice, he was also evolving a body of artwork, exploring various media in the form of drawings and paintings, and finding his voice as an artist.

About Victor Arimondi:

Vittorio Maria Arimondi was born in a convent in Bologna, Italy in November of 1942. Later in life while in art school, Arimondi was discovered by an ambitious modeling agent, began fashion modeling to make a living, and soon became a notable member of the international fashion world – first in front of the camera, then behind it.

He modeled for the likes of Esquire and other high profile magazines, and would eventually produce photography for titles such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, among others.  Arimondi was a genuine artist and ahead of his time. More important to Victor than the fame acquired throughout his modeling career was recognition for the singularity of his vision and need to create art.  While living in Stockholm during the mid 1970’s, Victor and his photography, keenly exploring the male form, were discovered and utilized by Editor Bill Cuomo, who was creating a new genre of magazines as After Dark arrived on the scene. Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine, to which Victor often contributed photography, quickly followed.

 In 1980, Victor had arrived in San Francisco to shoot the book during a time of new growth and exploration in the gay community, and he became well known, both in his community and worldwide. This prompted increased demand for his photography from magazines, such as ongoing contributions and covers for The Advocate. After devoting much of his creative energy to the male figure, Victor shifted his focus to the streets, where he photographed workers, homeless and other struggling people in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District, and his approach to this work belied his inherent gift for social commentary.

About Salomon Arts Gallery:

In 2003, Salomon Arts Gallery was created to showcase the works of emerging artists. The center hosts talented artists in many fields including painting, sculpture, drawing, and printmaking. They also serve as a venue for dance, music, poetry, and film. Salomon Arts Gallery has supported the creative arts industry and those who have been living and working in Tribeca for over 40 years (since 1975). 

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 Photos Courtesy Of Lawlor Media Group / Patrick McMullan