Friday, January 24, 2014

Still Rad in Rehab : An Art World Appeal

Murat and I finally got around to watching Michael Haneke's Amour last night, the gorgeous Academy Award winning film about an elderly French couple living a perfectly charmed life until the wife has a stroke and everything beautiful about their world becomes more complex, at times horrendous and extremely painful. As the title suggests, it's a "love story,"  but it's also heartbreakingly honest and profound. I can't imagine anyone in the world watching it without automatically reaching over to touch the ones they love a bit more tenderly than usual. 

The struggle of the wife to maintain her dignity and independence was virtually unbearable. The freedom she gains via an automated wheelchair sets up this scene that makes mobility seem nothing short of miraculous, and the scene where she experiments with the wheelchair, clearly feeling a bit more in control of her life but ultimately nowhere near as liberated as she was accustomed to ultimately served as a reminder to enjoy the life you have while you have it, and more importantly to build and share all the memories with your loved ones while you can.

There's a letter circulating among the art community in New York that I can't help but think of in the context of such sentiments. An artist and his beautiful family had everything turned upside down last Thanksgiving in a terrible accident with a snowplow in a small upstate town we've always considered the epitome of tranquility. In the car were his wife, their five-year-old daughter, and the artist's 14-year-old daughter from a previous marriage.

The five-year-old girl died in the accident. The 14-year-old, Ruby, will possibly spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. Ruby, however, seems to be approaching this new challenge in her life with an inspiring degree of determination. Her amazing blog, "Still Rad in Rehab," is a testament to the support of her family and her own fighting spirit. 

Here's an excerpt from a recent post:
So, how I'm really feeling is this strange mix of emotions that I'm going to try to explain but it might just come out like blah. I'm obviously sad, and angry, and totally devastated. The accident ruined everything for us. I'm grieving the loss of my beautiful, beautiful sister, and the loss of my body. A body that I hated so much before this which was SO STUPID. I had an amazing body that worked and functioned and I despised it and I'm so, so angry at myself for that. Whenever I think of/hear a girl say "ugh I'm so fat" "I HATE my body" "I don't have a thigh gap. Kill me." it makes me want to shove a pencil through there ear because THEY HAVE A BODY. Yes, I know I have one too, but it isn't the same. I want to go on walks with my best friend Max and appreciate everything we pass. I want to run down eight flights of metal stairs with my best friend Danni trying to make the most noise imaginable. I want to go iceskating with Melanie and have dance parties with Lucy. I want to go to camp and do yoga and play gaga. I want to move and walk and run and dance and I may never have that. All my friends are like "You don't know that! You're getting better!!!!!! YOU WILL WALK! YOU WILL DANCE!!" And yeah. Maybe I will… but more likely I won't. Which is so suck. So, so suck.
Below is the letter circulating in the art world. Please have a read, visit the sites listed, and if you or anyone you know can help, please consider making a difference in this family's fortunes:
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We are writing to ask for your support for Ron Baron, a working artist with a 25 year career, SVA faculty member, and long-time Williamsburg resident, whose family has been devastated by a catastrophic car accident. As some of you know, Ron, his wife, Irit and their family were driving to join relatives on Thanksgiving eve when their car collided with a snowplow in Hillsdale, New York. Ron and Irit lost their 5-year old daughter Naomi. Ron’s 14-year old daughter Ruby suffered permanent damage to her spinal column.

Ron is a devoted father, and has always shared raising Ruby between her two blended families. Both households need help to accommodate their new challenges, and we want to ensure Ron's family also has the support they need to welcome Ruby home after several months in rehab. Ron and Irit must arrange a wheelchair accessible home, as well as purchase a handicap accessible car to share in Ruby’s transport.

Sadly, an insurance settlement will not cover their expenses, so we are dedicating a fund specifically for Ron &; Irit‘s immediate needs for Ruby’s care. Our goal is $75,000. You can help by donating to

Ruby's Return:

Please visit Ruby's wonderful blog STILL RAD IN REHAB:

Ron's website:

To contribute by mail, post to:
Ron Baron and Irit Baniel
582 Driggs Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
For more information contact Bill Schuck: 

Thank you for your support, 

Eve Sussman, Simon Lee, Joe Amrhein, Susan Swenson, Bruce Pearson, Kathleen Gilrain, Robin Perl, Itty S. Neuhaus and Bill Schuck, Mary Ziegler and Gregory Barsamian


Blogger AvivaRahmani said...

Thank you.

1/24/2014 09:02:00 AM  

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