Donor Story

The Day I Met Palo (Psst, It Was One of Those Stand-Out Days!)

By Mary Oishi

Posted August 15, 2014



Editor’s note: A version of the following article by KUNM Development and Marketing Manager Mary Oishi originally appeared in Zounds, KUNM’s monthly newsletter and program guide. Detailed information about KUNM’s upcoming raffle of Palo Klein Uber’s painting, as well as viewing opportunities, is at the end of this article.

Some days just stand out—they stay with you for the rest of your life. Sometimes they are historical days like September 11, 2001 or November 23, 1963. Sometimes they are memorable for the personal impact they have on you: like the day your child is born, your wedding day, or the day you meet a biological parent—or a very important person.

Such a day happened for me on February 14 of this year. It was the day I spent a few unforgettable hours getting to know Palo Klein Uber, a painter with a life story so fascinating that Steven Spielberg (who collects Palo’s art) wanted to do a movie of his life. But Palo said no, not until after he’s dead. I was incredulous. “Why not?” I asked him.

“Because I don’t want people to buy my art out of pity,” he said in his lovely British English. “I want them to buy it for the art, you know?”

That’s Palo. See what I mean? How can you not be fascinated by a guy who resists a commission from Mick Jagger? “His people were calling me. You can’t say no. Nobody says no to Mick Jagger,” said Palo. He finally caved and accepted the commission.

Palo and I had an instant rapport, both being children of World War II, of opposite sides of the war, in fact. My father was an American soldier and my mother was a Japanese civilian. With a name like “Klein Uber,” you might be able to guess his disparate World War II heritages.

He spoke of his Avanti-driving mother from a Jewish family in the high art world of Milan, Italy and of his leftist German architect father who was snatched directly from college to design bunkers for the war effort. And there was, as you can imagine, so much more for him to share!

I could have listened to his stories all day, but he had to catch a plane to London, where he lives. Well, some of the time he lives there, and some of the time he lives right here in Albuquerque. And sometimes he e-mails me from an undisclosed location where he is being entertained by a certain Beatle, who shall remain nameless, but is (hint hint) newly re-married. Yes, many of the greats seem to include some of Palo’s art in their collections.

His artworks hang in the MGM Boardroom, Los Angeles; ESPN, San Diego; Bentley Motorcars, London; the Berlin Museum of Contemporary Art, Berlin, Nestle World Headquarters, Geneva and Tesco Corporation, London. It’s also collected by Sheikh Salim Abu dah, of the United Arab Emirates and many other luminaries who require confidentiality.

So what was he doing hanging out with me? It all started when he called in to find out which roofer underwrote on KUNM. Then, he said he heard that we ended our fall pledge drive a little short of our goal. He wanted to help. So he decided to donate one of his paintings, “English Green Wall,” Number One in his Isolation Series, which is an examination of the form surrounding an object. It is 48” x 60” Acrylic/French Crayon on Board and is valued at $20,000.

The back of the painting shows his preliminary sketch, his handprint, and an explanation of what he was doing with the piece. It is characteristic of all of Palo Klein Uber’s work. Here is the explanation on the reverse of “English Green Wall.”




“An examination of – form surrounding an object”

“It was with this piece, I realized the paramount significance of the form surrounding the object. My conclusion is the surrounding form is of greater significance than the complexities of the object itself. When viewing my past works closely, examine the area surrounding the form, and my future works will be antithesis of this now fundamental truth. While the chair is comprised of many layers, as I see all things in layers, the single surrounding layer has greater emotive visual dynamics through the multi-layered object itself.”

“The additional question of, at what point does a line become a form to itself? is also apparent in all works at this point in time, as portrayed by the French crayon.”

–Palo Klein Uber

You may buy a chance to win this amazing painting through September 30, 2014; KUNM is selling raffle tickets at (click “Support This Station”). The drawing will be held on September 30. Tickets are $89.90 for one, $150 for two, or $500 for 10. Some tickets were sold at the raffle’s launch at the Albuquerque Museum on May 16 during the KUNM Members-FREE event. But there are still plenty for you, if you’d like to take a chance (or several) on winning this painting from a fascinating and brilliant artist with works in some of the most prestigious collections in the world.

KUNM will show Palo Klein Uber’s English Green Wall at the Jewish Community Center on Saturday, September 6, 2014, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. with cheese and fruit trays courtesy of Season’s Rotisserie Grille. No charge to attend and raffle tickets will be available there. A Santa Fe showing is slated for Thursday, September 11, 2014, 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Zia Diner in Santa Fe.

All proceeds from the raffle benefit KUNM-FM.

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