Size: Transcript: 56 pages
Format: Originally recorded on 3 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr., 5 min.
Summary: An interview of Ben-Zion conducted 1982 August 3-1982 September 21, by Barbara Shikler, for the Archives of American Art's Mark Rothko and His Times oral history project.
Ben-Zion speaks of his family's background in Ukraine and Poland and their arrival in the United States after the death of his father. He remembers working as a writer for a Hebrew newspaper in the Bronx, the writing block he suffered in reaction to Nazi atrocities in Europe, and his turn to art with the patronage of J. B. Neumann. He recalls exhibiting with The Ten, meeting Mark Rothko through the Gallery Secession, and the rift that developed among members of The Ten. He describes his own commercial success, the influence of Jewish tradition upon his choices of subject matter, and his relationship with the Jewish Museum in New York. He discusses a period in which he stopped painting and returned to writing, and his later interest in sculpture. He speaks of his writings and his work habits.