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He created the Atlas Award and sculpted the original statuette a copy of which is given to winners of the award.  However there is a preceding story, unknown in Objectivist circles – among the rank and file if not the leaders.

Who Is Richard Minns ?

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Make Israel great again. I saw that on a red Maga hat from a picture during the recent Canadian election. Richard Minns is making Israel great  . . . again?   

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4 hours ago, Mark said:

He created the Atlas Award sponsored by the Ayn Rand Center Israel and he sculpted the original statuette a copy of which is given to winners of the award.  There is more to it than that though.

Who Is Richard Minns ?

Mark,

I'm about two-thirds through reading the article.  Awful guy.  Heroic woman, remarkable courage and dedication to accomplish what she's achieved despite having been rendered paraplegic.

---

This note is just a detail correction, a minor side-issue in regard to the Minns story.  You wrote:

Quote

Even when Rand was alive there were third rate artists trying to cash in on her popularity by selling art ostensibly related to her novels. Once at a Ford Hall Forum Q&A she was asked about the work of one such artist. She replied with one word, “Trash.” [4]  I think she would apply the same epithet to the “Atlas Shrugged” figurines of Richard Minns.

The artist about whose work Rand made the "Trash" dismissal was Maxfield Parrish.  Parrish was a deservedly famous and beloved-by-many artist who was by no means a Rand exploiter.  I don't know if he ever even heard of Rand.  His dates were 1870-1966, so he might have heard of her late in his long life, but he was a roaring success already by the time Rand was 5 years old:

Quote

[from Wikipedia]

Parrish entered into an artistic career that lasted for more than half a century, and which helped shape the Golden Age of illustration and American visual arts.[5] During his career, he produced almost 900 pieces of art including calendars, greeting cards, and magazine covers.[6] Parrish's early works were mostly in black and white.[7]

In 1885, his work was on the Easter edition of Harper’s Bazaar. He also did work for other magazines like Scribner's Magazine. He also illustrated a children's book in 1897, Mother Goose in Prose[2] written by L. Frank Baum.[6] By 1900, Parrish was already a member of the Society of American Artists.[8] In 1903, he traveled to Europe again to visit Italy.[3]

Parrish took many commissions for commercial art until the 1920s.[2] Parrish's commercial art included many prestigious projects, among which were Eugene Field's Poems of Childhood in 1904,[9] and such traditional works as Arabian Nights in 1909.[10] Books illustrated by Parrish are featured in A Wonder Book and Tanglewood Tales in 1910,[11] The Golden Treasury of Songs and Lyrics in 1911,[12] and The Knave of Hearts in 1925.[13]

Parrish was earning over $100,000 per year by 1910, when homes could be bought for $2,000.[14]

A number of New York Objectivists thought that Parrish's work had the right sort of "sense of life" and they featured Parrish prints on their apartment walls.  In The Ayn Rand Cult, someone - I think it was Henry Scoutegazza (sp? and I'm unsure of the first name) - was quoted by Walker as saying that after Rand's "Trash" remark "You could hear the bonfires being lit across the country."

There's stuff on OL about Parrish and Rand's opinion of him.

Ellen

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Ellen,

Glad to hear you’re reading it, I’d like an opinion from “the woman’s angle.”

I’ve corrected some typos, made some clarifications.  You might need to press your browser’s refresh button — typically F5 or Ctrl-R — to see the changes.

There’s a minor technical problem I’ve yet to fix: some browsers show extraneous black-backgrounded question-marks at one place, not sure why.

About the Maxfield Parrish business, yes, Rand wasn’t at her best.  People debate whether she confused him with someone else.  Actually I can see why she might not like him for *some* of his work.  Namely the androgynous (of indeterminate sex) nature of some of his subjects.  But he did a lot of other work that wasn’t like that.

However it’s my recollection that Rand also replied “trash” when someone asked about a contemporary artist as related in the article.  But you have planted the seed of doubt in my mind, LOL.  Anyway, I can say for sure that she was once asked about it and her reply was very negative.  I’ll try to find a recording, maybe add “words to that effect.”

ADDED: I couldn't find it so I made that change.

 

Mark

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Peter,

I see now that my first post made the article sound like it’s about Israel.  It’s not.   I edited the original post.

Mark

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20 minutes ago, Mark said:

Peter,

I see now that my first post made the article sound like it’s about Israel.  It’s not.   I edited the original post.

Mark

Sorry. Just a joke based on the fact that he was associated with Israel. I am art illiterate but I thought his sculptures overdid a muscular torso and body that had just passed US Navy Seal training.

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18 hours ago, Mark said:

Glad to hear you’re reading it, I’d like an opinion from “the woman’s angle."

Well...

I don't know about "woman's angle."  From a human being's angle.  Puke, puke, puke.  What is that man doing being extolled by Objectivists?  Kind of a rhetorical question with the lows to which things have sunk in O-land.

I just finished reading the article, and I need a break.  I'll be back.

Here is something from the part I hadn't gotten to yet when I last posted.

This is from one of the newspaper articles you quote.  I'll provide the reference later.

[Add:  The quote is from “Fear Bothers Shooting Victim More Than Her Paraplegia” by Jeffrey Perlman, The Los Angeles Times, 22 May 1987.]

Quote

It was in October, 1980, that she was shot in the back during the final murder attempt.  A few days before, during a hospital staff discussion of catastrophic injuries, she told colleagues that she would not want to live if she became a paraplegic.  When she arrived at the hospital after the shooting, co-workers who remembered her statement approached her.

“They said, ‘Jenny, you’re a paraplegic. What do you want us to do?’ I told them, ‘Please don’t let me die. Whatever happens to me, I want to live through this to see if I can face the challenge.’ ”

I have thought - and strongly - that if I were rendered paraplegic, I would want to die.

I wonder if I would do as she did.  (I do not want an opportunity to find out!)

---

Re "trash" - I haven't heard of another time besides the Maxfield Parrish time when Rand said that, but you might know of an incident I've never heard of.

Ellen

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I'll presume that Mark won't mind my quoting a lengthy extract from his article.

 

Quote

The Perp Today

Back in 1980 Richard Minns sacrificed a young woman in one of the most horrible ways imaginable and made her a paraplegic forever.  The Ayn Rand Institute, self-styled standard bearer of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, has made an egomaniac not unlike William Hickman [22]  an exemplar of Objectivism.

After fleeing the U.S. in 1982 his money intact, Minns lived in Switzerland and England for a time. He claims he “retired” in 1997, retired from what isn’t clear. That year he enrolled at London’s Hampstead Academy and trained in sculpture, then at Avni Art Institute in Israel, then for two years at the Basis School of Sculpture in Israel. He claims he didn’t move to Israel until 1999 but that is probably a lie. After the art training he opened a studio overlooking the Mediterranean in Hadassah Neurim.

The Hay Hill Gallery in London mentioned in our introduction has a webpage devoted to the figurine “Atlas Shrugged III.” [23]  Under “ARTIST’S INTERPRETATION” Minns writes (we omit our external quote marks in this “The Perp Today” section):

"Objectivism,” the philosophy created by the Russian-American Philosopher / Novelist Ayn Rand, had a profound influence on my early life and the lives of my colleagues.

Further down on the page are some unattributed biographical remarks that he doubtless approved and probably wrote, that conclude with:

The primary theme of The Fountainhead was individualism versus collectivism, not in politics but within a man’s soul. It mirrored Ayn Rand’s beliefs that the individual is of supreme value, the “fountainhead” of creativity, and that selfishness, properly understood as ethical egoism, is a virtue.

Ths is how Richard has lived his life. Now Richard pours his very soul into the ATLAS SHRUGGED series to express the meaning of his life.

One could say that Richard’s Atlas is really Howard Roark and that Howard Roark is actually Richard Minns.

"ATLAS SHRUGGED” is Richard’s TRUTH.

Mythomania on steroids. [24]

As related in the introduction, a Hay Hill Gallery exhibition in 2014 focused on his “Atlas Shrugged Quadrilogy.”  The following are the biographical remarks, which again he doubtless approved and probably wrote, for the event’s brochure:

In order to understand this sculpture, it is best to understand the Artist and his motivation to create the sculpture.

Ayn Rand, the Russian-American Writer / Philosopher who introduced the philosophy of “Objectivism”, changed the Western World. She also changed Richard’s life.

The change began in 1943 when she published The Fountainhead, which had a profound influence on Richard’s life. Richard (then 14 years old) devoured every word and slept with the book beside his bed

Then, in 1957 when Ayn Rand published ATLAS SHRUGGED, Richard was 26 years old and he had already become an Ayn Rand archetype.

Richard, now 84, has enjoyed a full life, spanning 14 different successful careers, and is now in his final career as a professional sculptor.

Richard, always an exponent of Ayn Rand’s Individualism, always obsessed to do things “My Way”, has lived all over the world in a larger-than-life continuous adventure, spanning 14 different successful careers, always the individual, always driven to achieve by his own standards.

Now, at the height of his creative powers, Richard has summoned his skills to interpret Ayn Rand’s philosophy in art form.

Thus the prime mover behind the crippling of Barbara is an Ayn Rand archetype of longstanding, one could even say that Howard Roark is actually Richard Minns.

Repeating:

"The change began in 1943 when [Rand] published The Fountainhead, which had a profound influence on Richard’s life. Richard (then 14 years old) devoured every word and slept with the book beside his bed

"Then, in 1957 when Ayn Rand published ATLAS SHRUGGED, Richard was 26 years old and he had already become an Ayn Rand archetype."

---

Mark,

Is there some independent evidence you know of that Minns actually did read The Fountainhead in 1943 when he was 14?

Considering the "mythomania on steroids" you note, I wonder if Minns tweaked his story in imitation of Nathaniel Branden's.

Ellen

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Dick Minns was the talk of Texas for several years after 1980.  The corruption of Houston PD was a common topic of conversation from the 1960s through the 1980s, though before reading some of the material that Mark posted I never realized just *how* corrupt some of the cops were. There is no way the ARIans wouldn't have heard more than a little about Dick Minns.  No way Jennifer Grossman wouldn't have, either.

His son, Mike Minns, was two years ahead of me in high school.  Founded our school's only underground newspaper, which I worked for.  I think he ran off some of the first copies in his dad's office.  Mike Minns was very much into Rand in those days.  Cathy Minns was in my class at the same school, though she didn't graduate from it.

Sculpture in roughly the same style now under discussion was on display at President's First Lady locations back then.

And... Carl Barney has not been accused of ordering a hit on anybody.

Robert

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Ellen,

There’s nothing I know of that corroborates what’s said in the Hay Hill Gallery blurbs.   It’s possible that Minns concocted a story to help sell the statues, but I'm afraid he might be telling the truth here.

 

Robert,

Not sure what the point is of your remark about Barney.  Minns is far worse than Barney but they're still a fitting pair.

 

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Mark,

Without knowing *when* Dick Minns got into Rand, I'd stay off any Hickman-Roark-Minns connection.

Robert

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The Hickman stuff in Rand's Journals was just stupid stuff.  Although given that the Journals have been bowdlerized, maybe the original was worse.

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Mark,

Dick Minns has made up a lot of stuff about himself over the years.

This might include when he first got into Rand.

My point about Dick Minns and Carl Barney was precisely that Minns is worse.  

I'm not defending Barney on that account—I appreciate the work you've done to expose him.   I continue to marvel at how the ARIans (and some others in Rand-land) can pick 'em.

Robert

 

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19 hours ago, Neil Parille said:

The Hickman stuff in Rand's Journals was just stupid stuff.

Neil,

I might sound a bit Arian about Hickman, but I don't think Rand's notes on Hickman were stupid and I also don't think they are in any form a derogatory indication of her character.

Brainstorming and planning are two different things. In brainstorming, all bets are off. The moment you set limitations on brainstorming, you weaken it. And if you try to control it, you're really in for a bad time. Imagine trying to capture the moment of "now" in a bottle. At the instant you think of "now," it becomes "then." There's no time to even think about the bottle. :) 

Letting go and letting it all gush out as it will is the only way to properly brainstorm. (There are some brain warm-ups I have learned, but that's a different topic.)

I go so far as to think Rand's treatment of Hickman (even in the most-likely altered published version of her notes) is an indication that she had what it takes to do great writing. 

Rand was able to isolate and abstract a quality that fascinated her in a gruesome situation and ignore--within her planning of her work--all the stuff that didn't interest her, including the horrible stuff Hickman did. Hell, I bet Hickman, the person and murderer, didn't even exist in her mind when she was outlining and writing what little she wrote of The Little Street.

All great creators have the capacity to isolate and extract an item of interest from practically anything to use in their work, albeit each creator looks at whatever he or she looks at. There are no rules.

Without Rand's ability to see what she saw in the Hickman situation, without her ability to see things in it others didn't and from a different story focus, I don't believe she would have been able to create her masterpieces.

(btw - I don't know how any of this fits with Mark's essay since I haven't read it yet. After I read it, I'll comment on it.)

Michael

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6 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

What counts is what she had published.

Brant,

That part counts for us. But for Rand, she had to use her creative mind as it came out of the box. She didn't invent being human and she didn't invent creativity. Brainstorming--even when contemplating gruesome stuff--is a part of creativity.

Besides, look at a world that worships and is inspired by--in many different forms--death and torture. In Christianity, for example, people have been inspired to create masterpieces for centuries by contemplating a man who was tortured to death and his final agonies put on public display for entertainment. All religions have their gruesome death and torture stories.

And how about scientists with their sundry mutilations and killing of humans in their experiments while talking about "advancing" human knowledge? And doctors? What do they see? They look at death and torture all the time. And when the hypocrisy of all that gets too uncomfortable, how about the warmongers they turn the fruits of their mental endeavors over to? Talk about human death and torture on a grand scale. How about a little war for kicks? But people make movies and novels and painting and poetry and so on--much of this great art--inspired in all this gruesome stuff.

So, to me, I am unwilling to cede to Rand's critics that she was uniquely awful and psychotic for extracting a good and not so evident truth from a horrible situation when she was young. People have done that since recorded history. In Rand's case, a strong aspect of her particular creative genius was to flip clichés and normal situations upside down to see what falls out of the pockets. Her writing is full of inverted and altered clichés.

In the Hickman case, instead of focusing on how awful he was (the cliché), she looked at how awful society was acting under the guise of respectability (the flip), and from that angle, she looked at the defiance in Hickman (another flip), especially his facial expressions, during the trial as what it looks like to stand up to that awfulness. Whether that was what he was actually doing or not is beside the point. That noble loner standing up against the howling mob theme was what she was looking at in her mind--including looking at reality for examples of what that might look like.

So Rand didn't ignore the little girl just as no Christian ignores the diarrhea and God knows what else Christ must have suffered on the cross. She simply wasn't writing a story about little girls and those who kill and mutilate them just like Bach (for one example) didn't write his great musical masterpieces about the effects of torture on the human body.

Rand saw something transcendent in the situation just like Christians do with the torture and murder of Christ. That transcendence was what she was aiming at and writing about. I extend this same attitude to many of the people in the other groups I mentioned above who contemplate, and are inspired by, situations of death and torture.

As to the Rand critics among them, it's really rich to see some of them bash Rand as psychotic for the same thing they do every day of their lives.

Michael

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Mark,

I finally read it. All of it. I even downloaded the video and watched it.

You wrote at the end:

Quote

After the publication of this article Minns’ history will become known in Objectivist circles, that is, among the rank and file; the leaders of ARI and TOS must know it already.  Those leaders will need to respond.

I suppose I am one of the "rank and file." I did not know this story before. I cannot tell you how furious it makes me at official Objectivist institutions.

It's all about the money.

It's one thing to contemplate death and torture and extract transcendence from it to make art like I said in the post above.

It's quite another to get money from a mob guy (or maybe mob wannabe guy) who put out a hit on an ex girlfriend and got her shot (and not killed only because the shooter was incompetent), bribed God knows how many people for years, got plenty of forged documents, etc., and promote him as The Good, especially nowadays as a Randian sculptor.

Just so they can get money from him.

No, I don't have any proof they took and take his money. But it's the only thing that makes sense. This guy buys everybody. He has to in order to survive his sleaze and criminal activities as free as a bird. This Minns case was all over the news, so the excuse of the leaders of official Objectivist institutions not knowing anything about it doesn't wash. (Granted, I myself didn't know about it until now, but I'm a single person running a website and I have my own pursuits. True crime is not high on my list. I don't run an official Objectivism organization with a board of directors.) 

For people who run non-profits, there is a procedure called due diligence. Duh... Besides, wealthy donors know who each other are and Minns certainly knows plenty of them just by the people who promote him. So it's inconceivable to me that the leaders of both ARI and TAS didn't know about this story as they promoted this thug.

To hell with them.

I go my own way.

I do not like to channel Ayn Rand, but I cannot see her doing anything but condemning any and all dealings with this man in the harshest terms, especially seeing his violent crime ignored (covered up) in her name and this violent criminal celebrated in her name.

Does non-initiation of force even mean anything to these people when money is involved?

Bah...

Michael

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On 10/25/2019 at 6:54 PM, Ellen Stuttle said:

Heroic woman, remarkable courage and dedication to accomplish what she's achieved despite having been rendered paraplegic.

Ellen,

Let me echo these words of yours.

The way Barbara Petrofsky handled her misfortune and lived a life full of importance to her and others is an example of everything I love and admire in the human spirit.

Michael

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Naturally I share MSK’s indignation about all this.  It’s insane.  Even the articulate Ellen was reduced to “Puke, puke, puke.”  You need a barf bag to read about it.  One is speechless, at least at first, in the face of this story.

I think it very unlikely Minns donates money to ARI.  He might to ARC Israel for their Atlas Award or it might be the reverse and Barney pays him for his “Atlas Shrugged” figurine.  We do know that Barney helps finance ARCI and the Atlas Award so it’s plausible.

About Hickman, now I’ve heard everything: he can be viewed as a Jesus Christ!  Yuck.  Not that I’m into Jesus Christ but I do respect the story.  For a “fair and balanced” view that castigates and excuses Rand where appropriate see the link I gave in a post above.

About Minns’ technique:  It’s the Big Lie, a lie so huge it’s hard for the naive to understand that he could utter it and self-righteously, and not slip up somewhere or give some indication.  I think what helps him is that on some level he himself believes his own big lie.  He’s a psychopath aping Objecivist phrases.  He really believes he is an innocent victim.

I might add something like that to the article.

 

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22 minutes ago, Mark said:

About Hickman, now I’ve heard everything: he can be viewed as a Jesus Christ! 

Mark,

Bullshit.

That's not what I said nor what I meant and you know it.

I said that Ayn Rand is equivalent to Johann Sebastian Bach as a creator of masterpieces, and that both looked on death and torture as part of their creative process.

That's the comparison in my point and I know I was clear enough for anyone to understand.

Good God.

I don't know if you were being intentionally misleading or just contentious to show yourself, but your remark is despicable.

Michael

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