Visit Surfridge, LA's ghost town, on Off-Ramp for November 3, 2012

New show at Take My Picture Gallery: Muralist Siqueiros couldn't say Phil Stein, so he became Estaño

Detail of Philip Stein painting.

Photo by John Rabe

Detail of Philip Stein painting.

Siquieros and "Estano."

Courtesy Anne Stein

Siquieros and "Estano."

Philip Stein painting

John Rabe

Philip Stein burned to show the struggle of the little guy against power.

John Rabe

Philip Stein's always morphing painting of his wife.

Opening night at A Civil Defense: The Paintings of Estano (Philip Stein) at Gary Leonard's Take My Picture gallery in downtown LA.

John Rabe

Opening night at A Civil Defense: The Paintings of Estano (Philip Stein) at Gary Leonard's Take My Picture gallery in downtown LA. Hey, that's filmmaker Stephen Seemayer (Young Turks) in the light sportcoat and Joel Schroeder (Dear Mr. Watterson) in the blue checked shirt.

Painting by Phil Stein at Take My Picture Gallery.

John Rabe

Painting by Phil Stein at Take My Picture Gallery.

Gertrude and Phil Stein

John Rabe

Gertrude and Phil Stein


Muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros couldn't pronounce his young friend's name. So Phil Stein became "Estaño." Phil Stein was a painter who lived a long and fruitful and fighting life, burning to tell the story of the little guy against the machine.

In one, from a distance, you see the canyons of New York City, the buildings tall and imposing, like a shield wall or a fort, impenetrable, menacing, inhuman. Move closer, and there's the Guggenheim museum down at the giants' feet. Shapely and sexy, but still dwarfed; art v. the machine. Then, way down there, a little group of angry people, churning. That's quintessential Philip Stein.

Many of his paintings are now on display at Gary Leonard's Take My Picture gallery in downtown Los Angeles, where Off-Ramp host John Rabe talked with Estaño's daughter Anne Stein.

(A Civil Defense: the Paintings of Estaño (Philip Stein) runs through December 31st at Take My Picture Gallery, 860 S. Broadway LA CA 90014.)


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