Monday, March 1, 2010

brushes with fame

I just returned from a field trip with students in my Museum Gallery Practices class to Fort Worth and Dallas museums. My friend and colleague, Leanne Gilbertson, joined me with her Warhol class. On Saturday, after spending two days with students, we slipped away to visit my friend Charles Dee Mitchell who lives in an Architecturally Significant Modern Home.

Dee has a new blog, Potato Weather, and is trying to recruit followers. Leanne is a guest blogger for Art:21. So, in conversation with Dee and Leanne about blogs, I mentioned that I had a blog but that I hadn't posted anything in over year. The conversation inspired me.

I'm back to the blog. Thinking of you.

In Fort Worth with the students this weekend we saw Warhol: the last decade at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. At the beginning of exhibition, there is a wall of photographs of Andy and the people he was around. I moved to New York in 1986 to be in the Whitney Independent Study Program. I stayed in NY until the mid 90's. Warhol died in 1987 while I was working at the bookstore at the Whitney Museum. The day he died, I was sitting in the ticket booth selling admission tickets. ABC news came in to film the announcement of his death in front of a coke bottle painting. A month or so before, I had come to work and in the office there was a stack of Interview magazines that Andy Warhol had autographed. My boss said that Andy had come by and autographed these for the bookstore staff and that I could have one. I declined. "I don't need that," I said. "Andy Warhol will sign anything."

I hope I grew smarter during the following years in New York while I worked for museums and galleries and wall street banks, hanging moving and taking care of art.

Seeing the wall of photos and the works in the exhibition brought back a flood of memories from my time in New York.
One of the photos at the Warhol show was of a young Jeffrey Deitch. It made me recall that I had hung a Man Ray coat hanger sculpture in Deitch's apartment in the Trump Tower. I remembered that another time when I was working for Jeffrey, I had met Basquiat's father. In the Warhol show, there were a lot of paintings that were collaborations with Warhol and Basquiat. I remembered that I had built stretchers and stretched some of Basquiat's paintings that had been painted on unstretched canvas. The flood of memories from this period continued.

Not only have I turned down Warhol's autograph, I have
had sushi with Basquiat
been in an elevator with Keith Haring
seen Liza Minelli in her pajamas
talked to Cindy Sherman in her street clothes
received studio visits from Barbara Kruger
talked to David Salle's mother on the phone about his show
looked at art with Meryl Streep
peed with Matt Dillon
felt a tingly attraction while talking to Francesco Clemente
been kissed by Larry Kramer
had a chat with Robert Gober
given Jean Beaudrillard advice on where to buy a camera
been chased by Willam Wegman's weimaraners and told by him that "they never chase anyone"

and I met a lot of people who died during the AIDS epidemic who probably would have rather lived to become famous.