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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-18-08 07:48 AM
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Caroline Kennedy's husband is an interesting guy
Here's a 2001 article about him and his work.

By Jeffrey Hogrefe Published Apr 23, 2001


Fifteen years later, Schlossberg is sitting in the conference room of his interactive-media firm in an old cast-iron building in the Flatiron district. At 55, he's grayer, but he's still a strapping six foot two, a good-looking man with a calm, assured, slightly sardonic detachment.


Last week, the nature of Schlossberg's work became much clearer, even to Plimpton, who still thinks what he does is "very cerebral, complicated, and conceptual." Five years in the making, the American Family Immigration History Center on Ellis Island is an Edwin Schlossberg Incorporated-designed interactive-media display consisting of 41 computer stations and a Website. Linked to an extensive database of more than 17 million people who passed through the island from 1892 to 1924, the Website will allow anyone who suspects he was descended from an Ellis Island immigrant -- approximately 40 percent of all Americans -- to find out for sure. None of the data would be available were it not for the Mormon volunteers who, motivated by their religion's interest in genealogy, laboriously transcribed the ship's handwritten manifests from microfilm.


Although to most people he's still the mysterious husband of Caroline Kennedy, Schlossberg has designed innovative media installations for many leading institutions, including Sony Wonder in the Sony building on Madison Avenue; the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan; and the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., which opened in March. "Because of its potential audience," notes Ralph Appelbaum, a museum designer with offices in SoHo and London who is often a competitor of Schlossberg's, "the Ellis Island project is going to raise his visibility."

Growing up in the years immediately after World War II on the Upper West Side, Schlossberg was surrounded by a large extended family of Russian Jews. All four of his great-grandparents were Ellis Island immigrants who were born within 50 miles of one another in the vicinity of Poltava, Russia, a fact that had to sustain young Ed's curiosity.


Schlossberg's private office looks out across Sixth Avenue to the stolid cast-iron buildings that his grandparents probably went to when the structures were gleaming new department stores, at the turn of the century. For a person who has assiduously avoided all contact with the media, he seems remarkably at ease talking about his life. His grandfather built a small real-estate empire, then lost it all in the Depression. His father, Alfred Schlossberg, was a well-to-do textile designer and manufacturer.

One of those Upper West Side boys who spent all their free time going between painting lessons, classes in science at the Museum of Natural History, and Hebrew school, Schlossberg attended P.S. 166 and the Birch Wathen School. In 1967, he received a B.A. from Columbia College; four years later, a Ph.D. in science and literature from Columbia University. His thesis was an imaginary conversation between Albert Einstein and Samuel Beckett -- hardly a step to an assured academic job. Instead, he was, as he puts it, "invited into the process" of making art in New York.

Befriended by John Cage, who taught music composition at Columbia in those days, Schlossberg rode the subway downtown and rented an apartment on 13th Street. He spent time with artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, who were then living in the same loft building near Peck Slip. Rauschenberg and Johns were combining language and art and science in their early artwork in a way that appealed to Schlossberg. And he began to create what was known as "concrete poetry." In his case, the compositions consisted of fragments of letters on Plexiglas panels that could be manipulated to reveal phrases. Influenced by Asian art, he also stenciled finely wrought poetry onto rice-paper scrolls connected by bamboo rods.
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