Paintings for Sale | AntheaMissy
In the Manhattan D.A. Race, Arguing for a Fresh Point of View

In the Manhattan D.A. Race, Arguing for a Fresh Point of View

Weather: Clearing as the day goes on, but periods of showers or storms. High around 80.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until Saturday (Juneteenth).

One of the candidates for Manhattan district attorney, Eliza Orlins, has been a public defender for at least a decade. Another candidate, Tahanie Aboushi (above, center), has been a civil rights lawyer. A third candidate, Dan Quart, is a state assemblyman.

None of the three has any experience being a prosecutor. And that, they say, is a good thing.

Ms. Orlins, Ms. Aboushi and Mr. Quart have argued that true change in the criminal justice system — making it less punitive, for example, or less racist — can only come from someone who hasn’t been tainted by the establishment.

But they are having trouble raising money, and distinguishing themselves from one another and even other candidates with prosecutorial backgrounds.

[Over the past 45 years, the two men who have led the Manhattan district attorney’s office have come from the establishment. Some candidates say such experience is a bad thing.]

There are eight Democratic candidates vying to replace Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the district attorney, who is not running for re-election. Aside from Ms. Orlins, Ms. Aboushi and Mr. Quart, they are all former prosecutors.

Among the leading candidates, Alvin Bragg has been a prosecutor in the state attorney general’s office, and Tali Farhadian Weinstein has been a federal prosecutor and general counsel for the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.

Mr. Bragg has pledged to reform the Manhattan district attorney’s office, saying he will work on reducing the number of people behind bars, create a unit to investigate police misconduct and overhaul the sex crimes unit. While Ms. Weinstein has staked out more moderate positions than other candidates, she has championed changes including forming a specialized unit to address gender-based violence.

Ms. Orlins and Ms. Aboushi have both said they will cut the size of the district attorney’s office in half and decline to prosecute many low-level crimes.

Ms. Orlins has also spoken in favor of decriminalizing the buying and selling of sex. (Mr. Vance stopped prosecuting prostitution this spring.)

Mr. Quart has taken a more moderate position and recently emphasized his commitment to public safety.

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The Times’s Sandra E. Garcia reports:

Observers of the art market have referred to the rising demand for work by contemporary African American artists in recent years as, among other things, a “furor” or “surging,” and the work itself as “a hot commodity.” Ten years ago, it was relatively rare to see a Black artist’s work set a record at auction.

Now, such sales are routine, boosted by numerous high-profile lots, perhaps most famously Kerry James Marshall’s 1997 painting “Past Times” (purchased by the rapper and music producer Sean Combs for $21.1 million at a Sotheby’s sale in 2018) and, more recently, Jean Michel-Basquiat’s “In This Case” (1983), which sold at Christie’s in May for $93.1 million — an astronomical price, but still only the second-highest ever paid for a Basquiat.

Given the hype surrounding such figures, it’s surprising that one of the more interesting collections of contemporary African American art is housed inside a fairly humble Manhattan two-bedroom apartment on Madison Avenue.

It belongs to Alvin Hall, 68, a broadcaster, financial educator and author who, through good timing, taste and a bit of luck began collecting in the 1980s and has been able to buy masterpieces by artists whose work is now worth much more. At a time when art — and Black art in particular — has been inflated and commodified to the point of a quasi bank transaction, Hall is a model of best practices for non-billionaires hoping to amass a world-class collection. His apartment also illustrates some of the realities of how to live with art when you only have a minimal amount of space: He owns 377 works, 342 of which are in storage.

It’s Tuesday — stop and look.

Dear Diary:

Walking up University Place toward Union Square, I saw a man coming out of a hardware store.

As I walked by, a gray-haired woman holding a dog approached the man and asked whether he worked there.

He tapped a cigarette out of a pack and nodded.

“If I brought in a machete,” she said, “Could you sharpen it?”

— Cindy Augustine

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