Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Single Fare 2: You can thank me later

I flew to New York last week for the opening reception of Single Fare 2: Please Swipe Again, the Metrocard-themed show organized by Jean-Pierre Roy and Michael Kagan (and Alix Sloan) and on exhibition for just four more days (Wednesday through Saturday) at Sloan Fine Art on Rivington in the LES. I will cut to the quick: It’s an incredible show. More than 2,000 pieces from hundreds of artists at varying moments in their careers, the show is eclectic and packed but somehow avoids the pitfalls of being an overhung mishmash.

Roy, Kagan, and Sloan all deserve a great deal of credit for putting the thing together, and I feel a great deal of gratitude to all three of them, particularly to JP and Michael who, for the second year in a row have used this experiment to pull me out of the Roswell doldrums, force a brush into my hand, and set me to work again. It may not have been their intent, but I feel as though it wasn’t the very last thing on Jean-Pierre’s mind. They also let me crash in their studio while I was up there, so that was pretty cool, too. Blankets would have been nice, but I hardly missed them.

Really though, the show is spectacular! If you have not seen it, the gallery is not open today, but the show will be up through Saturday. If you are a collector or are looking to begin a collection, this is a truly wonderful opportunity to pick up some stellar work for next to nothing. At $100, every piece in the show is going for less than the cost of a 30-day pass! But no purchase is necessary. Just see the show. I feel lucky to have been a part of it, and I feel as though I have done someone a favor every time I've told them about it. So…you’re welcome. You can thank me later.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Pretty Satisfying Week’s Work

All right, here they are. They arrived last Monday. I started work on them on Tuesday, and I spent about 25 minutes making some final touches last night. All in all, a pretty satisfying week’s worth of work. If only I had come up with this whole painting on used Metrocards thing seven or eight years ago!

I’m going to put the paintings in the mail this afternoon, and that will be that. The next time I will see them will be on the wall in Alix’s gallery where they will be put to the work of paying for my plane ticket. If I write about this again, it will probably just be once more and after the show has opened.

[Edit: By the way, here are the show details.]

Opening Reception: Thursday, March 17th, from 6 to 9 pm

Exhibition: Friday, March 18 through Saturday, March 26, 2011

Gallery Hours: Noon to 6pm (Closed Monday & Tuesday)

Sloan Fine Art is located at 128 Rivington Street (corner of Norfolk) on the Lower East Side of New York City.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Numero seis.

On Saturday morning, I found an old Metrocard laying under some clutter on my dresser. It expired on Halloween 2007. It must have been one of the last cards either Sarah or I bought before we left the city the first time, just after Nate was born. The first time I remember finding it was last year not long after submitting the two cards I made for the first Single Fare show. Sentiment is probably what kept it with us for the first few years, like the scuffed up playing cards Sarah used to bring home to Brooklyn after finding them on the sidewalk or in the gutter. We still have a handful of those cards stuck behind a magnet on our refrigerator in Roswell. But is wasn’t sentiment that led me to set that Metrocard aside last summer. Whereas a week before, I may have looked at the thing and felt the twinge of nostalgia, when it turned up last year, all I saw was a painting surface. So I set the thing aside on my dresser, where it stayed unnoticed and all but forgotten for the better part of a year. But I found it, finally, the Saturday before the submission deadline for the second Single Fare show, and if all goes well, I will now have six pieces in the show as opposed to five.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

It's on.

Following the initial request I made for them to be sent last Tuesday, the Metrocards finally arrived in the mailbox Monday afternoon. It’s weird, too. As I’ve said, I initially hadn’t planned to participate. JP called a few weekends ago asking if he should send anything, and I pretty much responded with a flat “not interested.” I was a bit more tactful than that, but I believe that’s more or less what he heard. After a months’ long period of steady studio activity last year, it’s been an equally long or longer period of inactivity since, and that’s been okay with me. I haven’t even been thinking about painting, and really, I find that to be a relatively healthy place for me to be a lot of the time, i.e., the place where I can pass by my painting supplies daily, multiple times a day, without feeling the persistent, dull ache of regret.

I don’t know if I can put my finger on what it was that pushed me to recant and ask for the cards in the first place. I still hadn’t really been thinking about painting. I hadn’t suddenly taken up a sketchbook again. My head was not heavy with the weight of images needing to be released into the world. Even as I asked him, I’m not at all sure if I actually wanted JP to send them along, or if I was just saw the request as a friendly gesture (he found my earlier lack of motivation depressing). Still, as the days passed, I found myself growing more and more impatient for their arrival, so much so that I was even a bit distressed when I went to the mailbox on Saturday only to return with two (yes TWO!) Pottery Barn catalogues and nothing else.

In any case, the wait is over. The cards are here. JP sent two last year. This year there are five. It’s a dare. If he were really my friend, I'm not sure he would dare me to do these kinds of things. Anyway, started in on a couple of them yesterday. So far so good. And that's part of what worries me.

More later.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Doctor

My father is Tom Baker. Depending on how much of a nerd you are today or were as a child, or if you happen to have the misfortune of being British, that name may mean something special to you. Some of my earlier memories involve sitting at home watching Doctor Who with my brother and sister, who are both older than me by several years. At the time, the Doctor was played by a British actor with my father’s name (something which deeply impressed my brother and sister, but was lost on me). I don’t remember much about those series, but periodically throughout my life, somebody I would have recently met will learn my father’s name and their face will light up with recognition and nostalgia. Nerds.

When the BBC rebooted the franchise several years ago with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor, a guy I know from England was very keen on it. He went to great lengths to explain why I needed to be watching it, and basically gave me a spoiler-rich synopsis of the finale, in which the Doctor regenerates into David Tennant. I was more or less sold on the idea that it was something I would probably like, but it took until the fall of past year for Sarah and I to actually sit down and commit to watching any of it. By that time, it was the fifth series since the reboot, and the Doctor had regenerated again into the personage of Matt Smith. We were thoroughly won over. Not long after we finished Series 5, we decided to begin a new subscription to Netflix almost entirely for the purposes of streaming the Eccleston and Tennant shows from the beginning.

Sarah is not a fan of Eccleston. I can’t imagine that he’s very many people’s favorite Doctor, but I think he did a noble job of recreating the character and his bowing out opened the door for David Tennant, who has probably come to embody the Doctor as much as Tom Baker did a generation ago. We’re near the end of Tennant’s run, but there are new Matt Smith episodes to come, which is nice. It’s good to have something to look forward to, but I don’t look forward to the waiting.