Statement of Ken Kimmelman, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker & Aesthetic Realism Consultant
The lies about Aesthetic Realism and Eli Siegel are also attacks on my professional reputation. I am an award-winning filmmaker, and received one of my Emmy Awards for my anti-prejudice public service film based on these powerful and kind words by Eli Siegel, which are so much for life and respect for people: “It will be found that Black and white man have the same goodnesses, the same temptations, and can be criticized in the same way. The skin may be different but the aorta is quite the same.” This film has been shown all over America and the world, including by the U.S. Department of Defense; it has affected people deeply and well, and continues to do so.
Many of my films, including those produced for the United Nations, are based on my knowledge of Aesthetic Realism. I studied with Eli Siegel from 1966 to 1978, and in that time, I saw in him honesty, great knowledge and kindness, and beautiful humor. In Aesthetic Realism he described the aesthetic structure of the world—which can be seen in this principle: “The world, art, and self explain each other: each is the aesthetic oneness of opposites.” I have studied that principle—as a filmmaker, husband, son, citizen—and have seen that it is true.
As a consultant on the faculty of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, and as a teacher of film at New York University, School of Visual Arts, and the Pratt-Phoenix School of Design, among other educational institutions, and as a speaker on film and the solution to racism and homelessness at many schools and universities, I’ve seen the large and useful effect of Aesthetic Realism on the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds.
Throughout history there have been persons who have spat at, mocked, and tried to destroy what is true and beautiful. Think of what was done in St. Peter’s in Rome out of fury at the beauty of Michelangelo’s Pietà—a man attacked it with a hammer. This, I believe, is the state of mind of Michael Bluejay, who sees the beauty and goodness of Aesthetic Realism as a threat to his ego.