Two girls, possibly running away from Riss’s husband.All photos courtesy of Linda Riss
Dan Klores’s effective Crazy Love PR machine keeps chugging right along. Last week’s installment brought in the shrinks; this week’s endeavor veers toward the sentimental: a gallery show of tabloid-star Linda Riss’s paintings and etchings, created while she still retained 10 percent of her vision (though after her husband, Burt Pugach, threw lye in her face). Riss tells New York’s Rachel Wolff that she has some training: She studied art in high school, though the ever-popular gal admits that she often outsourced her work to male admirers: “I asked this one boy to do a finger, that one to do a head, and I got by without so much as touching a pencil to the paper.”
Post-attack, Linda joined a friend for an art class at the Jewish Guild for the Blind. “When I showed my teacher my first painting, he told me I should take up sculpture,” Riss says. “How’s that for an answer?” Riss kept at it, painting and illustrating birthday cards (“I was big on poodles and pussycats”) until her vision fully gave out in 1990.
Klores and Steven contacted gallery owner Andrew Edlin, pitching a gallery show in conjunction with the film’s release — complete with correspondences between Riss, her lawyer, and her incarcerated suitor. The artwork is for sale, much to the control-freak Burt’s chagrin. “My husband’s not too happy; he doesn’t want to sell anything. Isn’t that kind of nice? What we have is all we have left; I can never redo it,” Riss says. “Listen, I’m not another Vincent Van Gogh, but Burt thinks my work looks like Van Gogh. He tends to get carried away.” —Rachel Wolff
Linda Riss at AE Space, 529 W. 20th St., 212-206-9723 [Andrew Edlin Gallery]