WRITINGS & MORE
Dobry's Newest Release, En la Lona
to purchase a copy of En la Lona
Dobry's 'Kingdom Come'
- To Purchase, Click here:
Dobry included in
'The Art and Aesthetics of
"This more recent tradition, in which the realist and the caricatural
meet, was continued, as we see in chapter 5, in the work of George Bellows and
is also visible in other artists of the late nineteenth and early twentith
century period, for example, the early watercolors and pen and ink sketches of
Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957). It is also continued to the present day in the work
of contemporary artists such as Sergei Chepik (b. 1953) and the ex-boxer Gary Dobry." (page 149)
Art and Aesthetics of Boxing
By David Scott, Roger Conover
What separates the chaos of fighting from the coherent
ritual of boxing? According to author David
Scott, it is a collection of aesthetic constructions,
including the shape of the ring, the predictable
rhythm of timed rounds, the uniformity of the
boxers’ glamorous attire, and the stylization
of the combatants’ posture and punches. In The Art
and Aesthetics of Boxing, Scott explores the
ways in which these and other aesthetic elements
of the sport have evolved over time. Scott comprehensively
addresses the rich dialogue between boxing and the
arts, suggesting that boxing not only possesses
intrinsic aesthetic qualities but also has inspired
painters, graphic designers, surrealist
poets, and modern writers to identify, expand,
and respond to the aesthetic properties of the sport.
Divided into three parts, the book moves from a
consideration of the evolution and intrinsic aesthetics
of boxing to the responses to the sport by cubist
and futurist painters and sculptors, installation
artists, poster designers, photographers,
and, finally, surrealist poets and modernist
writers. With distinctive illustrations and
photographs in nine short chapters, Scott
creates a visual as well as a textual narrative that
supplements and concretely demonstrates
the deep, dynamic relationship between the
art of boxing and the world of art and literature.
The Art and Aesthetics
By David Scott, Roger Conover
Contributor Roger Conover
Published by U of Nebraska Press, 2009
ISBN 0803213867, 9780803213869
Dobry's Rock 'em Sock'em Elvis
included in George Plasketes' IMAGES OF ELVIS PRESLEY IN AMERICAN CULTURE,
1977-1997: THE MYSTERY TERRAIN
Gary Dobry is now writing for Chicago Fighting Arts Magazine and
Chicago Fighting Arts OnLine. You can read his latest piece by
Dobry featured in Gallery
Magazine. holiday issue, 2000
Setting up an interview with ex-boxer/trainer/artist/writer Gary Dobry via his website
chatroom, he relayed the warning that I may be contacted by certain people looking to
slander his reputation. Seems that Dobry had testified against the mob and had given
information to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Dobry provided the name of the SEC
agent I should contact, if I needed to.
A week later, in the north suburbs of Chicago my cabbie got lost and dropped me off at the
wrong strip mall, in a different suburb, about a mile away from Dobrys gym. Lucky to find
a pay phone, I left a message for Dobry, saying I was walking down Algonquin Road, the
four-lane highway that cuts through Palatine, a suburb notable mainly for the Browns
Chicken massacre of several years ago.
Walking, I cursed all of the north suburbs, until an SUV pulls up in front of me with
vanity plates: PUGS TKO. "Hey, you Zak?" asks the driver. To say Dobry is
barrel-chested would be a gross understatement; his arms look like barrels and his upper
body resembles a Volkswagon. "Glad I caught you," he says, offering a meaty
hand. If I were a psychotic, murderous hitchhiker, my luck had just run out.
Dobrys gym is in the corner of a quiet strip mall. None of the typical descriptions
of smoky air and sweat stank and the hum of jumping ropes seem appropriate since the gym
is closed on for the day. Usually, Dobry oversees the room and paints behind the counter
near the front door. When hes not painting, hes working on his two novels, Kingdom
Come and In Good Faith.
Dobry, who quit fighting this past year, grew up in Chicagos Uptown neighborhood, an
area notorious for raising kids who needed to be tough. "Me and my buddies would take
the Lawrence Avenue bus over to Broadway and go see movies at the Uptown or the
Riviera." Between the two theaters was the Northside Gym on a second floor above the
Green Mill Tavern, which still proudly brags of it most famous patron, Al Capone.
At the age of nine, Dobry began fighting amateur. "I still always tell my guys
dont go pro," says Dobry, who followed his own advice. "At amateur, you
can fight every week and you can always have fun. Pro is only about money. Theres
two kinds of fighters when youre pro, guys like David Diaz who won everything and
went to the Olympics. The average guy who doesnt go that route, hes going to
fight David when David comes to town."
When Dobry was sixteen, his mother moved to the north suburbs of Chicago and her son was
quickly labeled as a bad influence on the other kids, being from the city, being a boxer.
Off and on throughout his life, no matter what else he was doing, painting, writing,
busking in the Paris subways, hes been boxing. When the Northside Gym was
threatening to go out of business in 1994, Dobry put his money up and became a partner.
Within a year, his partner backed out and Dobry moved the gym to Palatine, closer to home.
At a young age, it seems that there isnt much that Dobry hasnt done. As he
offhandedly mentions, "When I was in medicine..." I have to stop the flow of his
story to learn he studied at the University of Paris, at the Sorbonne and had worked as a
physicians assistant for several years. "I quit medical school," he says,
"when I came back from Paris because I didnt want to be a resident."
Instead, he went to finish his art degree at the Art Institute of Chicago. When he says
hes writing two novels, its easy to believe this isnt a guy who sits in the
coffee shop talking of what hes going to do, someday.
I ask about the mob guys. "I cant go into great particulars," Dobry
shrugs, "because of the deal I made. They keep harassing me with lawsuits. We made an
agreement that I wouldnt talk to anybody, but I can talk in general terms... You
know what short-selling is with stocks? Theres a penny stock, a bulletin board
company, and the company was going to do a private placement with this guy who also goes
under these other names and he was a fugitive from the law... Anyway, I lost money in
another investment. I got cocky and wanted to know why I got ripped off. I followed the
trail and all these names came up who were connected to this guy..." At this point
the story gets complicated with lawsuits, removed stock ledgers, 40-day restrictions,
kiting schemes, death threats... While holding back on certain facts, Dobry rattles
through the shell game that belongs in a Mamet movie. "What they were doing was a
reverse merger scam. A pump and dump. They issue themselves a lot of stock, then they go
into the boiler rooms and onto the internet and pump the stocks up." Because of his
testimony and evidence given to the SEC, Dobry was facing defamation lawsuits that he has
since been quelled. "Its a pissing contest," says Dobry.
We head over to Dobrys house and its not what you would expect from one whos led the
pugilistic bohemian life, whos been threatened by mobsters, whos working on
two novels while training amateur boxers. The house is bright and cheerful, more
appropriate for someone who would be selling Mary Kay cosmetics, except for the fact
Dobrys paintings overwhelm the living room. The figures on canvas are almost
luminous, the colors liquid and seeping like the reception on old, dying television sets.
The boxers seem stuck in time, where or when they fought is impossible to judge. A
portrait of a smiling man tipping his hat wouldnt be so eerie if it wasnt
Three dogs wait for Dobry as he opens the front door and tells me to wait a second.
"Simons a little nuts. If he doesnt know you... Hes a Chart Polski.
Theres only about 300 of them in the world," Dobry takes the dog, which looks like a
stout greyhound, by the collar. "These were the ones Stalin tried to kill off because
they were too bourgeoisie. Theyre loyal. Theyd die for their owners."
Simon eyes me for a while, then follows me to the kitchen where Dobry and I take seats at
a glass-topped table centered with flowers. The Polish guard dog sits behind my shoulder.
"Hes watching you," Dobry laughed.
The interview quickly, and gladly, takes an informal tone. Dobry switches subjects, from
blues to literature to medicine to art, with the ease of a channel surfer, except the
transitions are sensible. "Theres a pathology," he says of artists,
boxers, and writers. "A normal person wont sit in front of a canvas for eight hours a
day. Its an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Theres not much separating the axe
murderer from the artist. Some guys go down into the basement to chop people up, some go
to paint..." For Dobry, creating art is an individualistic urge that cant be
taught or learned.
"In school," he says, "they do their best to teach you how to draw and
paint like everybody else. In fact, when I was in school youd walk down the hallways
and see these kids, theyre all militant, either militant lesbians, or militant
Afrocentric separatists, or theyre carrying Maos little red book and they got
buttons all over their leather jackets... Everybody in groups looks the same, walks the
same, paints the same, but theyre all nonconformists.
"I got kicked out of the Art Institute because I was in this multicultural painting
studio. I thought, Wow, thisll be cool." At the time Dobry was reading Jack
Henry Abbott, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., and several books of race and societal ills whose
titles he can rattle off. "... I thought I was going to take this studio and apply
all these things I been learning. I showed up on the first day and it was like an Islam
rally. And all the reading... I didnt know there were so many guys named Muhammad.
Everything was Muhammad this, Muhamad that... So, it wasnt really multicultural,
it was denouncing the white man.
"There was this visiting artist- his name was Joe Louis-- I figured Im gonna
get along with this guy because hes got a boxers name and were gonna communicate...
In The Belly of the Beast, Abbott talks about the word nigger, right? Where he says
everything ugly, vulgar, and negative about the word nigger should be attributed to the
white man who created the word. Its no reflection on the black man.
"So, I did this painting of Mike Tyson with the word nigger tattooed on his
forehead... And Joe Louis gives this big rap before the critique, saying how he no longer
has a studio because he no longer has a need for a studio because all his artwork is in
his head. Everyone applauds this academic rap..." When the time for Dobrys work
came to be critiqued, the visiting artist protested, "Im not shocked."
Dobry tried to explain the Jack Henry Abbot connection and the teacher chipped in, "
Perfect example of white Eurocentric thinking. You even want to steal the word nigger from
us... Well, you can have it." And when the time came for Dobry to write his final
paper for the class, school security promptly escorted him out of the building.
There is something weirdly dichotomous about this guy. Hes a PA who could clear out
an Uptown barroom and quote Picasso and Jack Henry Abbott at length. His paintings evince
the most delicate touches of the brush, but his knuckles are callused from years of
hitting the heavy bag. The pages of his novel, still in manuscript form, are flooded with
blood and sperm poetry, more than any established author would dare to attempt.
Illustrating how cultures retranslate art, Dobry enthusiastically hums two different
versions of "Messing with the Kid,"- the white version and the black one- while
tracing the melody in the air with his hands. Evidently, he even has perfect pitch and a
musicians ear. He can talk of Picassos Dora Marr and theories of abstract art as
well as tell the best of shaggy dog stories.
After our visit Dobry drives me back to the Metra station. We circle construction sites,
follow and trace the tracks along the side streets of Palatine. It seems the one thing
Gary Dobry cant do is find the damn train station. And the one accusation that will
never stick to him is that he fits any sort of stereotype.
by Zak Mucha , Gallery Magazine , Holiday Issue , 2000
MURDER & INTELLECTUALS by Gary
"An abandoned child manifests evil instincts in his early childhood. He robs
the poor peasants who adopted him. Though reprimanded, he persists. He escapes from the
reformatory into which he had to be put, steals and plunders more than ever and, in
addition, prostitutes himself. He lives in squalor, committing petty thefts and begging.
He sleeps with everybody and betrays everyone. Nothing can discourage his zeal. This is
the moment he chooses for devoting himself deliberately to evil. He decides that he will
do the worst in every circumstance and, as he has come to realize that the greatest crime
was not the doing of evil but the manifesting of evil, he writes, in prison, abominable
books which stand up for crime and which fall within the provisions of the law. Precisely
for that reason he will cease to be abject and squalid and will get out of prison. His
books are printed and read. A stage director who has been decorated by the Legion of Honor
mounts one of his plays which incites to murder. The President of the Republic nullifies
the sentence he was supposed to serve for his latest offenses, precisely because he
boasted in his books of having committed them. And when he is introduced to one of his
former victims, she says to him: 'Delighted to meet you, sir. Please continue.'"
Jean-Paul Sartre's Distillation of the Life of Genet
Jack Henry Abbott heard, from his prison cell, that Norman
writing a book, Executioner's Song, about executed murderer Gary Gilmore.
Murder was something that Jack Henry Abbott told Mailer he knew something about.
Abbott even described to Mailer, in gruesome detail, how it felt to stab someone to
death and to watch him die. Abbott insisted that if Mailer was going to write this book on
Gilmore,murder and the American judicial system, then he, Abbott assured Mailer,
was his man. The compilation of Abbott's letters to Mailer became, entirely
due to Mailer's valiant effort, the 1981 bestseller, In the Belly of the Beast,
and Abbott, a self-proclaimed murderer, became the darling of the New York
At the age of thirty-seven, Abbott was paroled from the Marion
Federal Prison in Illinois. Mailer got Abbott out of prison on a work-release program. His
release coincided with the release of In the Belly of the Beast, which was
being heralded, at the time, as a major literary achievement. Jean Paul Sartre
said that an "intellectual" is someone who "meddles outside their own area
expertise." Abbott, except for a short-lived escape from prison in 1971, had
been incarcerated in one institution or another since the time he was thirteen
years old. Abbott's "area of expertise" was exactly what he told Mailer it was,
"murder," "crime," and the "American Judicial
System".Mailer, the classic
intellectual, was, in dealing with Abbott, "meddling " in an area that was
apparently "outside his area of expertise"!
In 1952 Sartre wrote:
He decides that he will do the worst
in every circumstance and, as he
has come to realize that the
greatest crime was not the doing of
evil but the manifesting of evil, he
writes, in prison, abominable books
which stand up for crime and which
fall within the provisions of the law.
Precisely for that reason he will
cease to be abject and squalid and
will get out of prison.
Sartre was writing about Jean Genet, The Distillation of the
Life of Genet.
Sartre was Genet's Mailer! Sartre was a Parisian intello and literati.
What I find most striking is the fact that Genet got out of
prison because of
Sartre, just like Abbott got out of prison because of Mailer's "meddling".
Genet defined his homosexuality as his "Hell." Genet
said, after reading
Sartre's Saint Genet, he felt a "kind of disgust." He said he "saw himself
naked and denuded" by someone other than "himself."
Sartre saw Genet's homosexuality as a latent function of his
life in prison. Genet adored and fantasized about murderers. He freely admits to
committing crimes with the sole intent of getting back into prison so he could, once
again, be close to
the murderers he so much desired. French law stated that if you committed over
20-something crimes, you were deemed a lifer.
Now, in In the Belly of the Beast, Abbott talks about
all the philosophers he
had read in prison, Nietzche, Kant, Marx, etc. Could it be that when reading
Sartre, Abbott read that the "greatest crime" was not "doing evil" but
"manifesting of evil"? Could Abbott have read about writing "from prison,
abominable books which stand up for crime" but "fall within the provisions of
the law"? Could Abbott have read about "getting out of prison"?
What Abbott needed was an "intellectual"! Abbott needed
"meddle" outside their own "area of expertise," like Sartre did with
so he, like Genet, could get himself out of prison.
It was Abbott who started writing to Mailer, and it was Mailer, Mailer the
intellectual, that was apparently conned by the knowing Abbott. There's a
reason they're called "cons" you know? But, there is also a reason guys like
Mailer are called "intellectuals" too. They dabble outside their own narrow
areas of expertise. The guy on the street would've been too hip to fall for
Abbott's game, but not an intellectual.
Abbott, in my opinion, knew exactly who he was writing and for what
reason: to get out of priso.
Abbott was released from Marion in 1981. Mailer got him out of
prison on a
Mailer: "This guy isn't a murderer, he's an artist!"
Even though Abbott described in chilling detail how it felt to
kill a man in cold blood, Mailer, the intellectual, got Abbott freed from prison.
Just six weeks later Abbott stabbed to death Binibon Café night-manager Richard Adan,
a twenty-two year old kid, on Manhattan's Lower East Side.
Last I heard of the persecuted Abbott, he had converted to
* Caveat : Since I wrote this essay, after multiple
failed attempts to again get freed from prison, Abbott committed suicide, in his cell, in
prison, by hanging himself.
MURDERING CHRIST (and
the Death Penalty)
by Gary Dobry
In the case of Murdering Christ', this essay
(which was originally a compilation of
stream-of-consciousness notes taken from
sketchbooks) came before any of the drawings in
the series. I had seen some Mexican drawings,
woodcuts and paintings of Christ and the Virgin of
Guadalupe at the Mexican Museum of Fine Arts
in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. These
works inspired me to finally express my own
feelings concerning the suffering and the murder
The Murder of Christ, as I see it, is still taking
place. Every time the headlines announce another
member of society being murdered by the State
in the name of justice being done, I feel nails
being driven through flesh to stake. Every time a
self-proclaimed Christian advocates murder of the
poor and "meek" in America for their crimes
against society, I feel the jaundice stare of Judas
and his kiss of death.
This was written stream-of-consciousness and it required some
polishing before publication, but here it is:
In Jean Paul Sartre's essay on Vietnam, he asked a rhetorical
"Why did Hitler kill Jews?" Sartre qualified the question by asking further what
a "Jew" had to do to be marked by Hitler for death? In truth, he didn't have to
do anything. It was what he was, a Jew, that marked him for death.
"Why did Hitler kill Jews?" Because they were
It was said that Hitler was never absolutely sure he had no
coursing through his veins. There are psychoanalysts that will suggest by
Hitler's attempted genocide of the Jewish race, and the murdering of millions
of Jews, Hitler was murdering the question of his Jewishness.
"How can I be Jewish? Look at the million of Jews I have murdered!"
The leader, the governor, the king,
the fuehrer -- is an expression and
tool of people's ways of life. One
Ivan the Horrible cannot make into
passive creatures two hundred
million peasants, but the
appropriate number of peasant
mothers can. And these two
hundred million silent, enduring
peasants CAN make the reign of
Ivan the Horrible last.
Who murdered Christ and why? What is truth and what role
does it play in
the murder of Christ? Christ never said he could "save" anybody. It was his
flock that invented this idea! Much that has been attributed to Christ was the
invention of his followers. The followers of Christ were not believers by faith,
they had none. Christ ending up on the cross demonstrates, irrevocably, how
little faith his followers had in him. Did Christ ever say he would "destroy"
temple? He did say the "temples would be destroyed", but to Christ, in
my opinion, this was self-evident.
The followers, the murderers, of Christ truly expected
to see miracles.
Miracles that they, themselves, could attribute to their Christ. They wanted Christ to be
exactly the way they wanted him to be. Christ never claimed to be the "King
of the Jews," yet his murderers nailed him to the cross to prove to all, especially
to themselves, that he was.
As Christ hung dying from the cross, those who had once admired
shouted his praise, chastised him, "Let the Christ, the King of the Jews,
come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe."
Christ was murdered for not being whom his murderers wanted him
to be. He
was nailed to the cross because his murderers wanted miracles. They
had no faith. Gone were all Christ's followers, friends and admirers. He, who
they called the "Son of David," hung dying, nailed to a cross.
Where were the choruses of "Hosannas" these murderers
use to sing in
praise of Christ? From the cross, Christ heard only, "Come down from the cross
so that we may see and believe." "We".
His murderers got the State to proclaim the death sentence.
Pilate asked them, "What wrong has he done?"
"Wrong"? Christ did no wrong. This is why
Christ was chastised. This is why
Christ was tortured. This is why Christ was murdered. The cruelty, like that of
a Nazi physician's, was well calculated to make Christ suffer with as much
agony as was humanly possible. Nails were driven through flesh and tendon,
live flesh, Christ's flesh. Nails were driven into his feet, feet that carried him
through gardens, forests and sands. Christ was murdered for not being who
his murderers wanted him to be and Pilate, with no choice except to execute
the people's will, Christ's murderer's will, sentenced Christ to his dog and
pony show, the crucifixion.
Atop the cross they hung the words "King of the Jews."
words, dying, Christ pleaded with God the Father, "FATHER, FORGIVE
THEM: FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO." Like the Nazi murderers
who plead ignorance to the death camps and the mass murder of the Jews,
Christ's murderers also, "Know not what they do."
The murderers of Christ, like the Nazis, sought to make Heaven
here on Earth
and, in doing so, in their drunken desire for power and miracles, sinned.
They sinned against all humanity.
Proponents of the Death Penalty in the United States are quick to
point to the
atrocious acts of violence and murder committed by those murdered by the
State. Everyone knows that American justice is bought with one coin, or
another, and those murdered by the State are too often the black, brown
and/or the poor.
Who is without doubt that justice has been served through the
Who is murdered by the State? Do innocent men die? What miracle
does the State see in the murder of its poor, it's "meek" and its condemned?
Marx said that members of society look to the State for an "example." How
can the State murder members of society for murdering members of society?
Particularly, like in the example of Christ's followers, murder is the will of the people.
If one innocent man is murdered by the State, the State continues
on with its
murder of Christ. The Christian Right supports the death penalty in the United
States. Those who nailed Christ to the cross, because they wanted miracles,
power and Heaven on Earth, are the very same ones committing murder in
the United States today. They murder the poor, the black and the brown.
They murder those who were taught, by example, by the State, that we
murder because we are without faith. We murder Christ because he told us,
"The meek shall inherit the Earth."
'Murdering Christ' & 'Murder and Intellectuals' are both
* go to "projects" on the menu, then
* go to the "Pointing to Prisoners" link
* then to the link: 'Gary Dobry'
Dobry on Henry Boxer's website;
Dobry @ Packer Schopf Gallery :