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Kelly Klein Finds the Cross . . . Everywhere

October 11, 2000|BOOTH MOORE

Photographer David Seidner sees the sign of a cross in a human face, Martien Mulder in the clouds. Paul Woolf finds the symbol in a New York bridge, Len Price in the banal arrangement of a knife and fork. Although a couple of publishers rejected Kelly Klein's new photography book, "Cross," on the grounds that it might be too controversial, Klein believes her $95 anthology, which contains photos by such figures as Robert Mapplethorpe, isn't what they expected. "It ended up addressing the subject with a real sense of humor," Klein said the other day in a phone interview from Maryland, where she was competing in a horse show.

"Cross," published by Callaway, features interpretations of the powerful symbol by Richard Avedon, Walker Evans, Nan Goldin, Annie Leibovitz, Man Ray, Mario Testino and Bruce Weber--but not Klein, who usually works as a fashion photographer. A photographer for the last four years, the 43-year-old Klein says she's not ready to compile her own work into a book just yet. "I need more practice."

Four years ago, Klein began writing letters to fashion, still-life and architectural photographers, museums and historical societies, asking for photos. "I explained that it didn't have to be a cross in its historical form, it could be photographer's point of view of a cross . . . a street sign or an airplane in the sky, for example. My intention was not to do a history book, but to show the cross in many forms and in many shapes. It is such a powerful symbol and, yet, such a simple graphic shape."

Klein, raised Protestant, said she believes in God but doesn't consider herself particularly religious. She attributes her appreciation for the symbol to her mom, Gloria List, a religious-art dealer in Santa Fe, N.M. List (to whom the book is dedicated) often gives crosses to her daughter as gifts, and Klein's Manhattan apartment is full of them--on coffee tables and propped up against the walls.

She also collects cross jewelry, and the diamond one she wears around her neck (a St. Valentine's Day gift from her husband, Calvin Klein) has become a talisman of sorts. "I feel protection when I wear it," said Klein. "I won't jump horses if I don't have it on."

And speaking of Calvin, and their much-scrutinized relationship. . . . For the record, the couple are still married but live separately, said Klein, who added that they consider each other the best of friends. "We felt there's no reason yet to get divorced."

Klein is scheduled to sign copies of her book Oct. 23 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Rizzoli in Beverly Hills.

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Closed since 1961, the Beverly Boulevard landmark Spanish Kitchen will soon reopen . . . as a hair salon. The eatery was a Hollywood hangout in the 1930s, '40s and '50s. In recent years, developers had hoped to reopen it as a bar or restaurant, but the idea was opposed by neighbors, many of whom are Orthodox Jews. Instead, the tony Salon Prive will move in, relocating from its West Hollywood location.

Robert Salice, who is designing the store, said the exterior will retain the same look, but the interior will be modern. He plans to put a garden in the back and to finish the project, subject to permits and hearings, by January.

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