Steve (SAS) Schwartz

Subject: Steve (SAS) Schwartz
From: Dvorah
Date: 21 Apr 2015

Dear Steve and Viveca,

This is a very difficult letter to write. I suspect it will also not be an easy one to receive. I’m including Viveca because she needs to know this. When I last contacted you to affect a resolution to a problem we had in the past you threatened me; my guess is you are really afraid of the truth coming out.

I remember a painting you did while I lived at the loft in DUMBO; it was of a hunter shooting down a bird in flight. I always felt that I was that bird and you the hunter. If it had ended there would be no issue, but it has continued for almost 30 years and I can’t function any more. I never really understood why you had such a problem with me; before we moved into that space we had been friends, I thought. Nevertheless, you started a campaign against me which included putting drugs in my food – and no, I didn’t know it at the time, I thought painting was driving me crazy – drilling a hole in the wall and watching me in my private space – again unbeknownst to me. I’m guessing that whatever you saw, filmed?, has ended up on the internet. I remember you took my glasses because you thought they were what I based my personality on. And so what if they had been. Who appointed you to judge the world? I remember things going missing from my studio. Paintings. How many of my paintings do you have? I can’t go anywhere without being met by contempt and mockery. It even affected my lawyer’s decision not to file the insurance claim when my 30 of my paintings were stolen and that many more damaged in transport from New York to Germany, not to mention the hundreds of drawings. $300,000 worth of artwork. No one from Columbia will talk to me anymore. They mention you, and say they don’t want to get involved. My own friends have walked away. People I meet now seem to have an idea about me that has nothing to do with who I am, but everything to do with who you perceived me to be. You set out to destroy me. You have succeeded in destroying my life, but I am intact. And now you have to make it right. I can’t live like this. I cannot earn a living.
You didn’t know me. You said I was a bitch, whatever that means; I remember withdrawing from contact with you because I didn’t have the energy to deal with your games. I remember you coming to my door after Mark Fisher bought those first paintings and demanding a commission. I remember saying no because you hadn’t introduced me to Mark and we had no such agreement. It should have ended there, but it didn’t, did it? I’m really naïve about people. Probably still proving that with this letter. One of the reasons I became a painter was because I had no way of connecting to the world around me. I’m high functional autistic. Not big on interpersonal skills, but with an above average intelligence and an intensity of internal experience that other people find difficult to understand. It makes me an original thinker, good in the arts and in need of a medium with which to connect to the world. Without it I float suspended, without means of access to life. I think that was what made you so curious. You yourself did everything in a very calculated way, while I was just exploring and manifesting what was in my own head. I’m very limited in what I can do beyond being an artist – which includes being a musician, composer, poet and actress – and am utterly unable to earn a living outside of this narrow range of abilities. Get a job? Someone has to be willing to hire me and pay me without the necessary skills. You’re an employer; would you hire someone who has no experience, no aptitude and is over 50 years old? Can you think of a reason why I shouldn’t be allowed to have a productive life doing what I do best? I guess you have a lot of reasons. You can embed them in politics, religion, psychology, or social theory but any way you look at it they are just your dissatisfaction with yourself and the competition my work presented to you. Ego.
I have no way of knowing what my life would have been like if you hadn’t done what you did. The drugs you administered weren’t the only reason I was doing well – I was smoking 3 packs of cigarettes a day, painting 15 hours a day, and was in the final stages of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which caused a whole range of health problems and imbalances. Still, I think the drugs were what pushed me over the edge and caused me to stop painting. I’m still being harassed because I stopped; someone won’t let it go. Who. The drugs are also at the root of the personality changes I went through during this time. Changes which vanished without the influence, though people always remind me of how I behaved, as if it were the 'real' me. Another reason they snicker and sneer at me. When I was being raped the guy actually said to me ‘don’t you want this?’ and all I could think of is how what you did follows me. Not to mention that everywhere I go people still spike my food with drugs. Don't you want it. I am a basket case from it. It costs me $150 a month in Chinese herbs and vitamins to reverse the damage from them. Maybe you should be the one to pay for this.
My father was a successful, professional singer/actor. He had no other job. Here he is for a moment on you tube, on the left with the arms crossed. When I was a child he used to take us to the set at NBC where he worked. I loved it. Being on set is still the only place I feel at home. I’ve wanted to be an actress since that time and at the age of 10 when I got the lead in a school play. I went through the drama program in high school, but was too shy to pursue it and started painting in college. My mother was an artist. Her sister was an artist. My uncle, Hank Sylvern, was a famous composer, conductor, and multi-instrumentalist. He conducted his orchestra at the white House for the President. Here he is on set My father made sure we all had piano lessons starting age 5. He supervised my practicing. I remember how frustrated he used to get with me because of how many mistakes I made. When I stopped painting it was to go back to doing music, which I loved, and acting, which is still the thing I do best - it doesn’t require manual dexterity, always a big limitation for me. I remember lines easily and adapt myself immediately to the needs of the character.
The people who loved me most in my life were my father and my Uncle Henny (Hank). They died when I was 8 and 9 years old. They were big, impressive, and demanding men who wanted the best for me and would have done anything to make sure I was protected and happy. When I was 6 years old Hank gave me a pin, gold, in the shape of a seahorse with a big pearl in place of its belly. I think he understood even then that there was something different and fragile about me. I miss them so much. I have so much to live up to to be worthy in their eyes. Everything I do I do for them, so they can be proud of me. And now no one will give me the chance. Look what you’ve done to them. Look at the shame and humiliation you have brought. You’re a father now, a father of daughters, how would you feel if someone did to them what you’ve done to me?
I don’t have to ability to try to get revenge for what has happened, nor can I live with it, so I am writing to appeal to whatever part of you still has an ounce of humanity in it to turn this around. Take whatever is on the internet off. Return my paintings. Get a hold of Mark Fisher and tell him to contact me. If you know who it is who is hacking my email and phone tell them to stop. Tell me. Do everything you can to make sure the damage you have done is reversed. Take responsibility for the financial problems you’ve caused me. And learn how to accept that other people don’t have to live by your self-imposed limitations. Learn to accept that you don’t have the right to make decisions for other people. And remember, he who makes the decisions pays the bills.