Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Where are the crackpots of temps perdu?

My opening was lovely! I had a great time. Everyone I talked to was insightful and intelligent and good looking. It was actually a bit strange. I'm so used to hearing odd things about my work at openings that I'm almost disappointed: it's like when the annoying guy moves out of the office next to you and the silence rings through the hallway where your irritation used to be.

My favorite weird opening story took place a few years ago at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, where I had installed this piece, which featured, as you can see, 9 foot tall badgers wearing dresses.

A slightly off-looking woman with a very prairie-ish dress came up to me at the opening and started asking me about badgers. Did I use source materials to draw my badgers? Why yes, I said, I did.
"Do badger stripes look like that?"
"Yes they do, I'm quite careful about the stripes."
"And where do badgers live? Do they live around here?"
"No, sadly, they're a prairie animal. We don't have badgers. They have them in Wisconsin."
"And badger teeth- do they look like that?"
"Well, you know, I couldn't find a reference for the badger teeth. I guess it's hard to photograph badgers with their mouths open, so I just made up the teeth."
"And how large are badgers?" she asked. I made a badger-sized shape with my hands. Her eyes got small and sneaky looking. At this point I knew something was odd, but I was so much in my polite-as-hell opening mode that I was incapable of running over to the wine and cheese table and hiding underneath it as I probably should have."And do badgers wear dresses?" She asked.

I totally didn't see it coming. I mumbled something dopey about how these were made up, metaphorical badgers and she looked at me triumphantly as if she'd caught me in a lie. She stalked off with a spring in her step.

Not one wack job talked to me at Gallery Joe the whole evening. Which is pretty crazy in itself; lunatic comments about my work at openings are the law of the universe, as far as I'm concerned. Thom and I tried to remember another such galactic event; we couldn't. He reminded me of the loon at an opening ten years ago who hissed my initials at me like a demented snake: S! S!

There must be something in the water. After this remarkably civilized opening I met some very nice collectors who bought Suspense, which is one of my favorite pieces. I love it when people I like buy work I like. Yay.

No comments: