“The artless are in charge of the arts.” Lance Rodgers
The adventure does seem to continue………
I delivered the drawings to the gallery for the two-person show the day before the opening. The owner and I discussed how they would hang (as usual) and we agreed on the arrangement.
Perhaps you can imagine my horror as I walked into the gallery about 15 minutes before the opening just 24 hours later, and gasped. All 18 of my drawings and one large painting had been crammed onto two small half-walls. Some of the drawings were upside down or sideways. I sort of just stood there in partial shock. The owner walked in and said: “Hi, looks good doesn’t it?” “You are joking of course,” I responded. “This is not what we agreed upon, there are drawings upside down and sideways, and it’s all thrown onto the wall, crowed together without a thought.” “Well, it’s as good as it gets, it was a bad day.” He said shrugging his shoulders, “Which ones are upside down?” he smiled?
Had he gone insane overnight? Surely not! Aware that I was purposefully being insulted for what reason I could not fathom, my anger swelled and I could not speak, so I went outside to calm down as people were now filling the gallery. Twenty minutes into the show I realized there was no price list for my work. When I advised him and asked if it would not be too much trouble (yes when I get angry I become terribly sarcastic), he said he’d get to it when he had a chance, as he was busy at the moment. He was chatting up invites of the other artist, a retired Sandia Labs engineer now turned photographer whose work was hung perfectly. I have nothing against photography, I know quite a few real photographic artists whose work I admire and respect; but these photos were the “same old same old” of the mountains, rocks, pueblos, flowers and animals. Work done a thousand times before with the same classic Ansel Adams effects. Copycat production at best.
Icing on the cake was towards the end of the opening as I was speaking with a very interesting man who just bought one small piece, a book and several note cards. (Yes, in spite of the badly hung wall, I sold work. The photographer did not.) The gallery owner approached, joined in the conversation and then said, …”What are you going to do next? Women and Guns? …and what is it with the dead fish in the painting, you really want people to believe a fish can breathe out of water? …you really are weird!…and that dog, what does that mean?” I smiled at him as one would smile at a deranged idiot and said nothing, I did not want to come off as a Diva and create a scene. Those standing around became uncomfortable and turned away as he continued this deriding monologue. My buyer thanked me and left.
I always knew this was not a “real” gallery, just a little mountain gallery with decent artists. I knew my “career” per se was over; this was just a good place to keep my art alive. Matters not the whys of what transpired that evening, I will probably never know. But what I do know is that I will removed myself from the gallery at the end of the show. These days’ people only get once chance with me, my tolerance for the baseness of what our society has become, no matter how much money or power they have, has reached it limits.
Which brought me to a terrible awareness, a question that plagued me for a couple of days then passed. If I was a good as I think I am would I be in this situation? Has it all been ego and hubris? It this the reward of 25 years of hard work, honors and a bit of fame? Then I shook my head, knowing that there are millions of me out there in this world. I am not unique. Each of us use to be something or somebody, people who had a purpose, a plan, people with ethics and vision, honor and responsibility. Taken away, destroyed by the greed of others who possessed everything anyone could want and wanted more, eliminating what was left for the rest of us.
A brave new world indeed.
Just to reaffirm once again how the universe works, a few days later I received notification one of my pieces had been accepted in a notable exhibition where I had never been accepted before: in Albuquerque.
Then Home Depot called, they found my paperwork, I have a job.
See how amusing life can be? Some doors slam shut while other open quietly……. I am most grateful.