Chapter 3: Filip Noterdaeme in New York 1987 - 1999

Filip Noterdaeme in NYC, early 1990s
"Williamsburg in those days was populated by poor immigrants and drug addicts. There were old polish delis and shabby bodegas and liquor stores and pawnshops with bulletproof cashier windows. Crime was rampant and sometimes one could see a chalk outline of someone who got shot on the pavement. Everybody's front door was always padlocked and windows had metal bars. The streets were dirty and smelly and at night one frequently passed prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, crack addicts and tranny hookers."

McDermott and McGough's recommendation Letter for Filip Noterdaeme, 1991
"Filip Noterdaeme says that at the time there was no one who came closer to living in a state of permanent creation than McDermott and McGough. The couple was famous for stubbornly refusing to be living a twentieth century kind of life and shunning all things modern. Of course this was not possible without the occasional compromise but, as David McDermott liked to point out to anyone who cared to listen, modern inventions played as minor a role in their lives as old-fashioned inventions in everybody else's. (...) He worked for the duo for almost a year and at the end of his employment David McDermott gave him a lovely handwritten recommendation letter that was backdated as was the duo's habit with everything they signed."

Filip Noterdaeme's "Un-Magritte" Paintings, 1991
"He hired an assistant painter, a young french actor by the name of Dominique Carrara. Under Filip Noterdaeme's directions, Dominique Carrara painted a series of what Filip Noterdaeme called Unmagrittes, Magrittes without the surrealism. They were very funny if one knew the real Magrittes but if one did not, not."

Filip Noterdaeme Drawing his Map of the World, Central Park, NYC 1991
"He was never bored with what he was doing and once caused for much confusion in Central Park after a La Traviata matinee at the Met where Franco Zeffirelli had cast him as a circus clown. He was still wearing his Pagliacci makeup and proceeded to unroll large sheets of cellophane on Sheep's Meadow and kneeling down began tracing with a black marker in great detail what was underneath. Whenever somebody asked him what it was he was doing there he replied to their great astonishment and in all seriousness, I am drawing the first map of the world in the scale of one to one."

Filip Noterdaeme Lecturing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, ca. 1997
"As an educator, he was far from being able to compete with those stupendous volunteering american lady docents, scattered all over american museums, who, prompted by the ulterior motive of self-perfection, managed to infuse innocent wide-eyed museum visitors with a magical knowledge of the arts in an atmosphere of vignettes, sandwiches and decaffeinated coffee."

To continue to Chapter 4, click here.

The Autobiography of Daniel J. Isengart is available in local bookstores and on AMAZON.