Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

September 22, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

Holocaust Art

  |   Video
  • A look at the work of Robert Sutz, a Scottsdale artist who sculpts plaster �life masks� of people, many who are Holocaust survivors, and sometimes creates paintings of their compelling memories.
Guests:
  • Robert Sutz - Artist


View Transcript
Ted Simons
>>> The Scottsdale public library is currently featuring the word of artist Robert Sutz in his presentation "Tribute: Honoring Survivors". Sutz is originally a Chicago native. He worked on a project showing Jewish holocaust survivors. He goes further and sometimes paints the stories he hears. Larry Lemmons visited Robert Sutz at his Scottsdale studio.




Larry Lemmons
>> If only they were only nightmares. They are memories. They are scenes from the lives of survivors. These plaster busts are those of holocaust survivors. They, and the images, were made by Scottsdale artist Robert Sutz.

Robert Sutz
>> If they would not put you in the gas chamber right away, they would assign you to a job. A job this man had was to go around on the streets and pick up all the dead bodies. He said that there was always an officer there with shiny boots and a well-pressed uniform that would take meticulous notes about exactly how many corpses. So he's going around collecting all of these bodies. One of the stories, but there are so many other stories that are so unbelievable.

Larry Lemmons
>> And yet real. Sutz interviews his subjects, makes what he calls a life-mask. And then has moved to paint some of the horrific stories.

Robert Sutz
>> I hear the stories and certainly sympathize. You know, I feel that I want to do something, and maybe it's like an outlet or something. It does not bother me like so many people feel that it probably should. How can you paint these unbelievable horrific scenes? And, I don't know, maybe not go nutty yourself. But I don't know, I am doing them and I want to do more. I keep hearing more stories.

Larry Lemmons
>> He didn't always focus on the holocaust. In his early years he was known for urban scenes and portraiture.

Robert Sutz
>> No matter how good a portrait painter paints a portrait, he is going to flatter the person a little or do something, make them look nice or not so nice or whatever. So I wanted to get an irrefutable likeness.

Robert Sutz
>> What we have here is an antique dental chair. When people sit for life-masks, this is where they usually sit. They look like I’m waiting for this to dry good so I can put on another coat with glazing and to finish it up. As a reference, when I paint these, like the eyes and things, these are some shots I took of her when I visited her.

Larry Lemmons
>> Sutz is specifically aware of the difference between art and artifice.

Robert Sutz
>> If I carry the painting too far, it'll be more like an illustration and there will be less of an emotional feel to it. I want to try to save myself from working on it too long. I like to get the impression first, if I can get the immediate impression, to me, that's what makes a painting great. So I am fearful of working on it too long. I have a feeling like this is going to be a barbed wire they wrapped them up in. I can get in there and paint detail in the barbs, and more detail in the rope or detail in the face. So it's kind of like back and forth. It'll go back and forth. You know, how do I want to show this guy? Should I put him -- for a while, I had a real good face on this guy, a German face. I kind of detailed the hands. And then I started thinking, it got to be too important. You know, I had a tendency to look at this, even though this guy's behind. So I had detail in it and I kind of wiped it off because I wanted the detail to be in this area. More sketches.

Larry Lemmons
>> Early in his artistic career, Sutz began carrying cards on which he would sketch ideas. He keeps them all in this file drawer, photographs, memories.

Robert Sutz
>> Here's one.

Larry Lemmons
>> Some are drawn after interviews with holocaust victims. Potential paintings, warnings to the complacent.

Robert Sutz
>> This is what I imagine it looked like in his gunsight, where he wanted that bullet to enter.

Larry Lemmons
>> It would be optimistic to think that in the accumulated history of survivors, a common experience would indicate a reason for survival.

Robert Sutz
>> I think 99% of them said that they survived the Holocaust for one main reason. That they were lucky, that luck saved them. And in addition to luck, that they had a tremendous desire to stay alive, and to do what they could to fight against dying. But the main thing is that they feel it was just luck.

Proposition 102: Marriage

  |   Video
  • This week, HORIZON looks at several of the propositions that will be on the November ballot. Tonight we examine Proposition 102, which would define marriage in the state constitution as a union between one man and one woman.
Guests:
  • Austin Nimocks
  • Kyrsten Sinema - State Legislator


View Transcript
Ted Simons
>>> We begin this series, "Vote 2008: The Propositions," with an expectation of prop 102, the so-called marriage amendment. Prop 102 who would amount the constitution by defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Arizona voters rejected an amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2006. Arizona was the first state to reject this type of measure. Proponents had been trying to get some form of the measure passed all year. Larry Lemmons tells us how it survived to be considered on Election Day.

Kyrsten Sinema
>> The bill was actually introduced in early days, it came to the floor of the house for the first time in April. We successfully amended it in April to include a provision that enacted a domestic partner registry and recognition for unmarried couples in the state. We had a majority of members who’s supported that. Leadership didn't like that so they killed the bill and started over. The bill was a strike-everything in the house judiciary committee. We were able to thwart it then, and they had to do it again in the house judiciary committee, then it went to a vote in the senate. On the first vote in the senate it failed, about a week and a half before session ended. They brought it back at the very eve of sessions sine die for a motion for consideration. It is a motion you use when a bill has failed and you ask to vote again to get another bite at the apple.

Larry Lemmons
>>Two senators of phoenix were engaged on the floor in the discussion of the committee as a whole. The two senators were talking about house bill 2723, concerning special districts and taxation. Republicans suspected the two were actually filibustering, preventing the marriage proposal from returning to the floor.

Senator
>> Well, that's --



Senator Harper
>> One second. I clicked on the wrong thing. I clicked on the clear mikes. If you'd like to speak, push your buttons again. Go ahead, senator, you have the floor.


Senator
>> Mr. Chairman, I move that the bill, this bill and the rest of the bills be retained on the calendar.

Senator Harper
>> You've heard that motion, is there any discussion.

Senator Harper
>> All those in favor say aye.

Senator Harper
>> Any opposed say nay.

Senator Harper
>> The ayes appear to have it.

Senators
>> Point of order! Point of order!

Larry Lemmons
>>Senator Harper would claim that he accidentally shut off the mike and passed the floor to the senator, effectively ending the senator's filibuster.

Senator Harper
>> You've heard that motion, there is any discussion? All those in favor say aye.

Senator Harper
>> Any opposed say nay. The ayes appear to have it. So ordered.

Senators
>> Point of order!

Warde Nichols
>> It's really significant when this came out of the legislature. It had been battled since January when it went into session. We knew what we needed to get done. As the session waned on, a lot of these things had to be put on the back burner until we could get the other businesses of the state done. After it was done, it went back to the forefront. As you're well aware, a couple of members of the senate that were opposed to the measure began to filibuster quit earnestly. We knew that was going happen. The way it played out was a surprise to everybody, as far as getting it to a vote on the senate floor. We knew we had the members needed to pass this.

Larry Lemmons
>> He would later charge that Harper had violated the senate's ethics rules, but Harper was eventually cleared by the ethics committee by a vote along party lines. The marriage referendum became the only referendum to come out of session and end up on the November ballot.


Kyrsten Sinema
>> Well, I think this is something that the voters are going to see, and think, why am I voting on this again? They voted already in 2006, and made their voice known. I think the Arizona voters are concerned about the real pressing problems facing our state, like the economy, gas prices, the mortgage crisis. They are concerned about health care and education. They're not concerned about voting on something they voted on two years ago.

Warde Nichols
>> To put it into the constitution is absolutely critical. We have DOMA, the defense of marriage act here in Arizona, passed a long time ago. We do have laws on the books defining marriage. Due to activist judges going in and changing the laws that are on the books, that's why it's absolutely critical now for the people to decide this issue. Take it out of the hands of the politicians, take it out of the hands of the judges now and let it go to the people and say, do the people in Arizona want these 20 simple words. Only the union of one man and one woman shall be valid and recognized as marriage in the state of Arizona. I think it's critical.

Ted Simons
>> Joining me to argue for the proposition, Austin Nimocks. Here to argue against the proposition, Kyrsten Sinema. As a citizen, voters already rejected a ban. Why are we here again?

Austin Nimocks
>> We're here to provide clarity to Arizona law enforcement, we don't have anything in the Arizona constitution stating what marriage is or is not in this state. Proposition 102 provides Arizona an opportunity to go vote on these 20 clear and simple words. Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage in this state. It's that clear and that simple. Millions of Arizonans enter into matrimony every year. Why wouldn't we want to define it and make it absolutely clear what marriage is in this state?

Ted Simons
>> If the law is already on the books, why this next step?

Austin Nimocks
>> Well, there's a difference between a statute and a constitution. We have a constitution because that's the law that belongs to the people. This amendment we're voting on is going to be voted on by the people. This doesn't belong to the legislature, this is for every Arizonan to go to the ballot box and cast their vote.

Ted Simons
>> Securing the definition of marriage: Why is that a bad idea?

Kyrsten Sinema
>> The definition is already secure. As Mr. Nichols mentioned in the video, in 1976, the Arizona legislature defined marriage as between one man and one woman in our state statutes. The Arizona courts were asked whether or not this law was constitutional. They decided that law was constitutional. So there's no threat to this definition. The truth is that we see politicians here saying that they don't believe that the voters knew what they were doing in 2006. They think they're dumb and they're asking them to vote again. I think Arizonans want politicians to keep their noses out of marriage and focus on the real problems in the state.


Ted Simons
>> The idea that a court could come in, and granted it hasn't happened yet, but the fact that it could happen, does that not necessitate taking the extra step?

Kyrsten Sinema
>> The court has come in and weighed in on this issue. Then in 2003, the court ruled on this very statute and decided that it was constitutional. In 2004 the Arizona Supreme Court denied review, which in layman's terms means it upheld the decisions in the lower court. Our courts have decided the issue.

Ted Simons
>> She says the courts decided the issue.

Austin Nimocks
>> One thing she did say is this issue belongs to the people and not the court. Now they have a chance to vote, and this is such a simple amendment. 20 clear and simple words. Every Arizonan who reads it will understand exactly what it is and what it means. They will have a chance to vote on it. Marriage belongs to the people of Arizona. It's not a legislative issue, it's a people issue. It affects Arizonans in their everyday lives. We should settle the issue once and for all.

Ted Simons
>> There is not an underlying distrust of the judicial system, when you say it has to be secured and protected from the courts?

Austin Nimocks
>> I think it's a matter of principle. It's not the people in the legislature that are using the institution of marriage to do their business. It's everyday Arizonans using the marriage institution in their lives. This issue belongs to the people of Arizona and why they need to vote on it. They have not voted on this amendment. This is 20 clear and simple words that have never been present to the Arizona voters. They got a chance to put this issue to rest once and for all.

Kyrsten Sinema
>> We did put the issue to rest in 2006, when the center for Arizona policy, aided by the Alliance Defense Fund, put a citizens' initiative on the ballot in 2006, and the voters turned that initiative down. They said clearly they did not want to amend our state's constitution. They know the courts have already ruled on this issue. The people of Arizona want politicians in the state to get back to business and focus on the real problems we're facing and stop spending our time debating the definition of marriage, which is already very clear in Arizona.

Ted Simons
>> The 2006 vote did include banning of benefits for same-sex couples and these sorts of things. Was that not mitigating, as far as the vote was concerned?

Kyrsten Sinema
>> A lot of research shows that voters knew exactly what they were voting on. They didn't feel like an amendment to the constitution was necessary or needed.




Ted Simons
>> Are there other laws, statutes, besides this one, that you feel the constitution should be looking at, that we should be putting on the ballot for everyone to vote on? Or this is one special for a certain reason?

Austin Nimocks
>> I think that issue belongs to Arizonans, because the constitution is really the legal document that belongs to the people. We have this initiative process in Arizona. This law happened to be marriage, and it's something that affects all Arizonans. This amendment is not something that Arizonans have voted on. What Representative Sinema is representing is something else. Only a union of one man and one woman should be recognized and valid in this state. Everyone understands what it means.

Ted Simons
>> When you talk about marriage being protected and defining marriage and having marriage as important to Arizonans. It's important to anyone who's married. I’m married. Why is this necessary for my marriage? How is my marriage threatened if a gay or lesbian couple decides they want to get married?

Austin Nimocks
>> That's going to be a question answered by the Arizona voters. If they determine marriage in this state is the union of one man and one woman, that initiative is going to pass in November. This is a judgment each voter has to make for themselves. I think you identified earlier, Ted, some of the threats that could be placed to marriage by virtue of a court or an action of the legislature to repeal the statute on the books. That could happen, and each Arizona voter will make the decision. But what's important is that this belongs to the people. Everybody in Arizona can read these 20 clear and simple words and understand exactly what they mean and cast their vote.

Kyrsten Sinema
>> I'd like to respond to your question, as well. You mentioned your marriage and really supporting and protecting marriage. But the fact is in Arizona our state law already defines marriage and restricts it as between one man and one woman. If this initiative fails that, the state statute will stand. It's protected and has been upheld by the courts. There's no possibility of the definition of marriage changing in Arizona.

Ted Simons
>> Do you want to respond to that?

Austin Nimocks
>> Absolutely. If that's the case, the definition is clear and it's not going anywhere, then why this opposition? Why do we have Representative Sinema coming in and talking about this measure? By putting it in the Arizona constitution, the people have the final say and will settle the question in this state once and for all.

Kyrsten Sinema
>> I think it's very clear why people are opposed to it. We've already dealt with this. By a percentage of 52% to 48% decided they did not want this in our state constitution. Over 1.5 million voters said no, don't change the constitution. It's very clear we don't want to change the constitution. It's also clear that this referendum was placed on the ballot by the actions of 49 legislators who wanted to question the integrity and really the record of the voters from 2006. They don't trust the voters.
Ted Simons
>> The center for Arizona policy had pledged not to target domestic partner benefits. Is this something you're holding them to? Austin, this is something that, once this passes, let's say, is the next step going after domestic partner benefits?

Austin Nimocks
>> This has nothing to do with domestic partners.

Ted Simons
>> This is a stepping stone to define once and for all marriage in this state.

Austin Nimocks
>>It has nothing to do with benefits. It deals strictly with marriage. Representative Sinema, now, she's back to oppose what's going on. Why can't we settle this once and for all? If she's in favor of the current state definition, why don't you tell voters to vote for prop 102 and the issue will be over with finally.

Kyrsten Sinema
>> There are a number of inaccuracies in what he just said, but I'll talk about what I think is important. The fact is that people are comfortable with our state constitution. They want to keep it solid. This was referred to the people by the legislature by a group of people who felt liked voters didn't know what they were doing two years ago. I will say this. I don't believe that the referendum as sent by the legislature to the ballot has anything to do with domestic partner benefits. It's merely an attempt by politicians to meddle in marriage, and to abdicate their responsibility to do what the politicians in the state should be doing, which is solving our problems with the economy, gas price, and mortgage issues. Real important issues facing the state of Arizona.

Ted Simons
>> Really quickly, if this does not pass, what's your next step?

Austin Nimocks
>> That's up to the people of Arizona. This is a constitutional amendment that belongs to the people of Arizona. It's going to be their decision of whether or not to pass these 20 clear and simple words on November 4. If they choose to pass it, the question will be settled once and for all. It's up to Arizonans whether or not they want to address the question again in the future. Arizonans have been entering into the union of one man and one woman as marriage for several years. I think they're going to affirm what state law is and make it permanent in the Arizona constitution so it can never be meddled with.

Ted Simons
>> We have to stop it right there.

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