The Block Island Times

In Case You Haven't Heard

By Fran Migliaccio | Nov 12, 2012
Rudolf Freund and his Scientific American cover for February 1969 are currently on exhibit at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Block Island everywhere

Peter Freund, owner of Emergency Services of New England, recently clued me in about a large art show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Mounted by Stephen and Timothy Quay, identical twin brothers who have been vanguard filmmakers for more than 30 years, the show includes some of the work of Peter’s father, Rudolf Freund, a renowned illustrator and naturalist. In addition to a photograph portrait of the elder Freund at his easel, the show includes a cover that Freund created for the February 1969 issue of Scientific American, entitled “Ecological Chemistry.”

The Quay Brothers, who have created much of their own art in a variety of media, met Rudolf Freund through their high school art teacher in the late 1960s and visited him frequently at his farm and studio in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. The time they spent with him influenced their artistic principles and work ethic. Freund impressed the brothers with the detail and freshness of his work, and often expressed frustration at the loss of vividness his art suffered in published form.

Peter Freund traveled to New York for the grand opening of the show at MOMA in August, accompanied by his sister, his daughter Jennifer, son-in-law Steve Gibran, and the couple’s baby, Logan. The turnout was enormous, said Peter, adding that writer Jill Krementz, reporting for New York Social Diary, observed him and his family as they chatted with the famous Quay Brothers, and interviewed the Freunds to find out how they were connected.

In addition to the Scientific American cover featured in the show, Rudolf Freund created a number of other covers for that magazine and many others for Time Life publications. A collection of 117 birds that Freund and his wife put together during a trip to Surinam in 1961 is at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.

The Quay Brothers, who went on to study art and design in Philadelphia and London, have created commercial work that includes album covers for Blood, Sweat and Tears, book covers for Anthony Burgess and Italo Calvino, feature films, documentaries, music videos and dance films. The brothers’ exhibition at MOMA, which runs until January 7, also includes puppets, stage sets, calligraphy, peephole installations, posters, photographs, collages, and paintings.

By the bye, Peter Freund’s two children have lived and worked on Block Island for several years. His daughter Jennifer and her husband Steve Gibran were married three years ago on Block Island, and will celebrate the first birthday of their son, Logan, on November 29. As many on Block Island already know, Steve is the son of long-time resident Joyce Gibran.

Jennifer Freund Gibran follows in the family footsteps of her artistic grandfather as a photographer who exhibits at the Spring Street Gallery.

Christian Freund, Peter’s son, worked with his father in the emergency services business, and has been employed at the town’s Sewer Plant for two and a half years.

Congratulations to Betsy and Charlie Pyne of Cooneymus Road and Norfolk, Va., for completing their goal of visiting the state capitol buildings of every state in the country. The Pynes started in 1981 with a visit to the Virginia capitol building and found the experience so interesting that they determined to visit all the others. They wound up this year, 31 years after they began, with a visit to the Massachusetts capitol. They will round off their experience with a visit to the U.S. Capitol, then concentrate perhaps on national parks and overseas travel.

Another important event for the Pynes this year was the celebration of their 46th wedding anniversary.

About town

Artists, take note. A newly created exhibit space at the Block Island Airport is standing empty, and work in all media by artists who live and work in Rhode Island, is being sought. Entries must be submitted by November 14; to apply, visit

Much has been written, photographed and observed first hand concerning the damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy. We were amazed to see Corn Neck Road broken into pieces like so much crockery, and Spring Street with gaping holes (once again, since 1991) under its eastern side. We saw the large crew of friends and helpers clearing huge boulders from in front of the Beachead and placing them back across the road where they belonged. We chatted with Marion, Steve, Blake and Paul Filippi as they worked with a crew to clean out the large portions of beach that the storm brought inside Ballard’s, destroying the kitchen in the process.

Many, many thanks to the Town road crew, the BIPCO and Verizon crews, the Fire and Rescue Department, the New Shoreham Police, and all others (and there were, and are, many), who helped one and all recover, in various ways, from the devastation.

Kudos to Kimberly and Norman Ward, Becky and Tim Clark, the Filippi family and Interstate Navigation for moving forward with their businesses despite the setbacks inflicted by this major winter storm.

A bit of maritime news came our way, too, the day of the storm. A note from Captain John Egintongave an account of his rush to beat the storm: “The Mystic Whaler left Baltimore on Tuesday, rushing north. We motored against the wind for 330 miles and arrived at the best place we could be. We’re tucked in at Mystic Seaport next to Brilliant, happy and grateful to be in such a protected spot.”

A much sadder note sounded in the news accounts of HMS Bounty sinking off the coast of North Carolina on October 29 with 14 people rescued but two missing. We remember well the Bounty’s visit to the Great Salt Pond about 20 years ago. A friend, Joe Davis, was captain and we went aboard, got a grand tour, and a wonderful schematic of the ship dated and signed by Davis.

Trivia tease

Two weeks ago in this space, Block Island Trivia author Robert Ellis Smith posed a trivia question: “What’s the unemployment rate on Block Island?”

The answer is: “The state estimates it at 5.5 percent, lowest in the state right now, based on a labor force of 1960 persons. The state rate is 10.7 percent.”

This week’s trivia challenge is: “How many foreclosures of residences have there been on the island in the last three years?”

Bob reminds one and all that the Block Island Trivia quiz book and his new e-book, The Magnetism of Islands, make wonderful gifts.


Happy anniversaries to Anne and Mon Dickinson, November 16; Barbara and Allen Hall, November 18; and Erica and Kurt Tonner, who celebrate their 45th on November 19.

Of cakes and candles

Happy birthdays to: Campbell Coviello, who turns eight on November 10 (the date on this paper!); James McNerney and Muriel Nelson, November 11; Ed McGovern and Seth Draper, November 12; Wendy Ernst and Peter Wood, November 13; Arthur Rose, who will turn 91 on November 16; Karen Martin and Barbara Hirsch, also on November 16; Suzanne King Wagner, November 17; Lisa Sprague, November 20 (not, as reported two weeks ago, November 10: “Please don’t make me ten days older than I am,” she wrote); Lisa Ommerle, November 21; Frank Walsh, November 22; Ed O’Reilly, November 23.

Let us know what’s happening! Visiting relatives, special occasions, updates on friends near and far, projects… Deadline is Tuesday morning, and Fran can be reached at 466-2892 or

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