Michael Kahn, Artist

My cousin Mike and I were a year apart and we hung out together whenever we could as kids. We were the same size and looked a lot alike. He went to college at UC Santa Barbara and threw the javelin on the track team. He always painted, from a young age. After college, he moved to New Orleans, then NYC, where he sold paintings on the street. Next he settled down in Provincetown, working as a waiter to support his art habit.

   In Fall, 1965, I hitchhiked across the country, on I guess what you’d call a vision quest. The counterculture was rocking then.

   This photo is when we went clamming in P-Town. Mike’s wearing the John-Lennon-style hat I’d bought in NYC.

   Mike then went on to build a phantasmagorical sculptural village in Arizona, which he called Eliphante. He told me he was inspired by the work of Bob De Buck and Jerry Thorman in Placitas, New Mexico, which was depicted in our book Shelter. Eliphante is featured in our book Home Work, pages shown here.

Mike passed away 4 years ago. His wife, Leda Livant, has just put up a website of some of Mike’s paintings here. The Eliphante website is here. (Lotta links.)

   BTW, when I left P-Town hitchhiking on a Saturday afternoon, I got picked up by some kids from The Rhode Island School of Design. They were going to a Bob Dylan concert that night, well all right! It was one of the first Dylan performances where he did folk music the 1st half, then brought out Robbie Robertson et al for rock ‘n roll. Things were so loose then that I was right up at the stage with my camera and got some memorable black and white shots.

    After a month on the road, I came back to San Francisco, quit my job as an insurance broker, and went to work as a carpenter.

One Response to Michael Kahn, Artist

  1. Anonymous says:

    nice NY Times article on the village and a 16 frame slide show..magnificent sculptures..


    Mike W


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