Miguel Rodriguez x 4 / Seven


Installed this ceramic piece by Miguel Rodriguez a few years ago at a convention center.  Wonderful sculpure, wonderfully whimsical.  Then some kid climbed on it, broke it loose from its securing mounts, busted it.  Insurance paid my client, who paid me, and I then paid Miguel to sculpt a new one.  He did, shipped it to me (he lives in NV), I absent-mindedly tossed out the box with the trash, and he had to sculpt another.  He did, shipped it to me, and I promptly broke it upon re-installation.  So he had to sculpt another.  He did, shipped it to me, but this one didn’t fit the lipstick body.  So he had to sculpt another.  He did, shipped it to me, and this one fit beautifully.  Client ecstatic.  Yeah, well it only took us six months to get there.

Very nice Father’s Day.  Properly spoiled.  Watched Seven with my sons, wife and a friend last night.  Hadn’t seen it since the 90s.  Morgan Freeman is such an exceptional actor.  Never get tired of watching him do his thing.  Or Kevin Spacey for that matter. 

Excerpt from Cool Nation

This is the eleventh section from the fourth chapter of the novel.� All other excerpts are on the sidebar.

Lives Forming�

��������� On a Sunday afternoon in April Stephanie came home one from the Y, where she and some of her friends had gone to swim in the indoor pool, and flirt, and show off in their bikinis.� Stephanie was now thirteen, and was rapidly becoming aware of her power over boys, lifeguards, and even men.� But that power didn�t extend to my father, as she was about to learn.
����������� We were sitting down to Sunday dinner and waiting for her to come in when she finally did, wearing only a t-shirt over the bikini.� Dad asked her what she thought she was doing.� She sat down and picked up her fork and said, �Eating.�� He said, �Not dressed like that, you�re not.�� She said, �Why not?�� He said, �Because I said so.� Now go get properly dressed and don�t show your face in this room again until you are.�
����������� This was said half in humor, half in sternness.� Stephanie was his favorite.� He�d always felt badly about her dyslexia.� Also her hip had been broken in a playground accident when she was seven, and in her body cast he had nursed her, and cared for her, and watched over her every night in a way that even Mom thought spoiling.� Whenever she rode in competitions he attended every meet; when the year before she won a ribbon in dressage at the American Royal he nearly wept.� On Sundays they often rode together, he on Rex, she on Shasta, both of them going up into the hills to cover the country, and sometimes to race, but mainly for him to try and arrest time before she would too soon grow and leave him.
����������� She stared at him before getting up from the table, then rose and started out of the kitchen, stopping by the stove, where a half-filled pan of water was resting.� She looked at the pan, then at him.
����������� �Dad,� she said.
����������� �What?�
����������� �What would you do if I threw this water on you?�
����������� The shock at the table, the silence as we all turned, the hilarity as we realized she meant it.
����������� With granite-like calmness he laid down fork and knife, resting his hands to either side of his plate, and quietly said, �Why I�d get up and spank your little butt.�
����������� �If you could catch me.�
����������� �Oh I�d catch you.�
����������� She took the pan and said, �Jean, go hold open the front door.�
����������� All of us starting to laugh now, Dad not moving but staring right at her, waiting.� Then she swung the pan, the water sheeted out over him, his chair shot back, and she was gone, he right after her.
����������� Everybody was dying, even Mom.
����������� We knew where she was going, to Nicole Matson�s house a mile away, and we knew that he would chase her the entire distance, limping on his polio-weakened leg.
����������� Mom at first wouldn�t get the car out but we said she had to and finally she did, we catching up with them on Indian Boulevard, Stephanie running in her t-shirt, laughing across the great lawns, with their redbuds and forsythia just beginning to bloom, Dad ten steps behind her, winded and blowing but there.
����������� He caught her on the Matson�s porch as she was trying to get in the door, and turned her and raised his hand but never brought it down.� Then with his arm about her he walked with her back to the car, blowing and laughing.� Mom said, �For God�s sake, get in before you both catch cold.�� But she was smiling when she said it, and it was the way she said it, and the way she looked at him, that told you why she had married him all those years ago.
����������� We went home and finished dinner, Stephanie at the table with us, only dressed this time.

Walk / Review Party


6:30 a.m.  Somebody’s getting tired of waiting for her walk.

Went to a party Thursday night at the offices of Review, a local art mag of unusual sophistication–largely the doing of their editor, Mike Miller.  Good party: free beer.  Several artists have studios in the building.  So I wandered around barefoot and imbibed in the company of friends.  Talked about anything but art.  Sometimes I get so bloody sick of conversation centering on art; so we talked about kids, baseball, French Chateaus, Al Gore, Bloomsday and tattoos.  Enjoyed that.

Friday Tips for Artists: Dealing with Charity Art Auctions


All right, it’s late in the evening, you’re exhausted after working your�day job, and now you’re working your real job–your art.� The phone rings, and some well-meaning dillettante on the other end wants you to donate a work of art to their School Auction, Public Television Auction, or some other kind of auction.� They promise you great exposure, enhanced collectorship, and career advancement.� Should you do it?� No.

At least, don’t do it without setting the following rules:�

1)� You set the minimum bid price, meaning that if the piece sells for $1000 on the retail market, it sells for no less at auction.� If no one meets that price, it doesn’t sell.

2)� You require that they pay you a percentage of the sale price, to cover your expenses (unless you’re already well-off; in which case, donate away).

3)� You make certain the event is established and well-attended before consenting.

Look, these people mean well.� What they don’t understand is how much damage they’re doing to the art world, to artist’s careers, and to the art market in general.� How?� Inevitably, in most of these auctions, they virtually give away the work, undermining the market, making you look like you don’t deserve real prices, and making artists in general look as though they don’t deserve any better.� The exposure you typically�get through this process is insignificant, counter-productive, and�convinces everyone who attends that artists and their work are not to be valued.

Once you establish the ground rules,�these folks will�respond accordingly.� They’ll also�begin to better appreciate the realities of your life, the sacrifices you have to make, and the difficulties you encounter on a daily basis.

Artists basically are among the last people in the world to ask a charitable donation of in terms of money, although they’re often generous with their time.� The dillettantes�want a donation?� Let them go to�a local�car dealership, law firm, medical practice, furniture store, or congressman.� In your case, if they can’t abide by the above-listed ethics, I advise you don’t participate–just be�nice as you decline.�

In my�gallery, the word went out long ago that our rules are as I’ve listed, hence I get few calls for these auctions any longer.� Frankly that’s fine with me.� I give away my share of money, and I sure donate a lot of time to causes and people I believe in.� But this gig of perpetually demeaning artists�out of ignorance or indifference is something I’ll have no truck with.��

From Prague / After the Iron Curtain

Charles Bridge.jpg

Heard today from a reader in Prague.  Magnificent painter.  Here’s his website.  You never know where your book or blog will wind up. 

I went to Prague in the spring of 1991.  Forsythia and tulips were in bloom, the Iron Curtain had recently fallen, and I was over there looking into the idea of importing Bohemian Glass.  This was before Czech art glass had really taken off.

Nothing much came of the business, but I remember how beautiful the city was, since it was not bombed much in WWII.  The narrow streets, the baroque architecture, the optimism after Communism failed, the smell of coal smoke in the mornings, the cheap beer, the jazz clubs late at night, walking back to the hotel across the Charles Bridge (above), and all the restaurants serving ham and dumplings.  Also my driver getting lost in the countryside, and me having to take over; all the great castles, from Karlstein down on into Slovakia; the natives trying to get used to seeing a Yank about; a Russian military convey pulling out down a highway, heading back home.

I could go on, but that’s enough for now.

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Endorsement for Book / New Painter: Dean Kube

Learned today that we picked up a major endorsement for Everybody’s Game; I can’t name them yet, but all in due time.  The book will come out in early March, book tour following shortly after.  Probably 35 cities.  I did 60 on Living the Artist’s Life.  Dug it actually, I mean the audiences and hanging out in places like Manhattan, LA and New Orleans.  But man, racking up the miles: 35,000.  Don’t need to do that no more. 

A new figurative painter of considerable sophistication, Dean Kube (above), will soon be joining our ranks.  Look forward to helping advance his career, but to be honest, it’s pretty far advanced already.

Hot outside: 92 degrees.  Time for a run…


Aspen / Topeka / Not Facing Satchel Paige

The Great Satchel Paige
I’ve got one client coming in this week from Aspen to pick up a Kim Casebeer painting. That’s sounds pretty fancy, eh? Well she’s actually in town on other business; dropping by the gallery just fit in with the trip.

Another client in Topeka is trying to make up his mind about a rather large Allan Chow painting. Something tells me he’ll decide in Allan’s favor. I’ll give him until Thursday before calling. Curious juxtaposition: Aspen/Topeka. All the same to me.

An interior designer is wasting my time.  I’m trying to be polite.

Played a little baseball with the boys last night. Was lucky enough to knock two over the fence. Now listen, the fence is only 300′ out, and I was pitching to myself, so it’s not like I was facing Satchel Paige in old Municipal Stadium. But for Porter Park it felt all right.

Regier Sculpture Installation

Oversaw the installation of an Arlie Regier/Dave Regier piece in stainless steel for a civic client recently.  Simple job: chunk of limestone, drill limestone, fill voids with epoxy, lower sculpture by crane.  Yeah, I oversaw it myself.  Get tired of sitting behind a desk.  Regiers were ecstatic; so was client.  Note combination of found objects and fabricated objects.  And this is one of their smaller pieces.

Patricia Duncan

I met Patricia Duncan in 2001, before she moved to Maine from Kansas City, when her studio was on The Plaza.  I only acquired one piece from her, this one.  The acquisition was made for a large art consultation project I was doing at the time.  The theme?  Prairiefire.  If you look, you can clearly see it, though it doesn’t matter if you can’t.

She and her husband Herb are now somewhere in the vicinity of Bar Harbor; a great place to go in summer, as I did once by motorcycle.  But man you won’t catch me anywhere around there when December hits.  Anyway, I’m sure she’s as good an artist on the Atlantic as she was here.