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  • Judge Brown

"The Magic Returns" - an Ode to Doug Henning

"The Magic Returns" is a mixed media painting I created at the height of the pandemic in 2020.

At first, I wasn’t sure why I felt compelled to craft this. But once the elements came together, it hit me: spent a great deal of time over the last year thinking about how magic can bring a message of hope and inspiration in difficult times.

That’s where "The Magic Returns" comes in: for those who remember it, New York in the early 1970s could be characterized only as hard times. Street crime and violence dominated the news. The nunchuck, soon to be banned, became a popular street weapon and the graffiti tagger - captured here with the TAK 182 tag - would soon dominate the landscape. The idealistic promise of the sixties seemed dead, and politics hit a new low.

And then along came this wonderful wizard - Doug Henning - who through his Broadway show and a national television special - would reintroduce millions to the magic of stage illusion. Maybe that message has become newly relevant.

You can also view this painting, and learn lots more about Doug Henning, at the Doug Henning Project.

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