Archive for July, 2006

Once again…

Today we bring you a special encore excerpt of a blog entry from last month. The same man visited the gallery today, and had essentially the same conversation with me. Thus, I feel justified in re-posting essentially the same blog entry. I hope you enjoy your second encounter as much as I did.

Well I used to work in the New York State Juvenile Corrections Department for thirty years and I was working with the worst kids in New York City so that means I was working with the worst kids in the world murderers drug dealers rapists and my dad he had this painting by blahblahblah and he gave it to me in 1978 and it was worth only five thousand dollars but I got it reappraised in 1990 for eight but then my lawyer said he seen one of these for ten times that so I took it to this other guy who appraised it for eighty thousand and offered me seventy and I said no but then in 1997 I got in this car accident and almost got killed and had serious brain trauma see here’s the scar and I had two daughters to put through college and so I sold it for ninety-five thousand but I wish I hadn’t because now it’s worth like four hundred thousand yeah I like buying and selling paintings blahblahblahblahblah…

The Penis Dialogues

How the conversation actually began:

Woman: “Is that a penis?”

Me: “Huh? Uh, where…do you mean?”

Woman: “Right there. It looks like he tried to draw a penis.”

Me: “That? I…uh, I think that’s her leg.”

Woman: “This? Right here?” points “But it kind of looks…I don’t know, I think it looks like…”

Me: “Let me move it where you can see it better” removes painting and leans it on a chair “Yeah, I think that’s just the shadow where her leg is foreshortened.”

Woman: pause “Weird.” pause “It kind of looked like a penis.”

Me: polite pause “Yeah, I…uh…I see what you mean, but I think it’s just…uh, you know—perspective.”

Woman: “Yeah. I thought he just tried to stick a penis on her or something.”

Me: “Heh, yeah, I don’t know.”

Woman: “It’s like he wanted to make her a transvestite or something like that.”

Me: “Heh heh, wow yeah” politely joking “Jeez I can’t look at this any more.” lifts painting and re-hangs it

Woman exits to browse back room.

 
 

Several alternate responses suggest themselves.

Alternate Response Number One:

Me: “Yep, that’s a penis all right. It’s not a complete penis, you see, but it is a penis all the same. The painter’s just trying to show it’s all part of God’s creation, and that, like all penises, it’s a thing of beauty, even if by some weird twisted freak of nature or closet pervert culture it’s become attached to what is otherwise an anatomically normal and even downright buxom-looking female body. It’s a beautiful, bold statement about the aesthetics of the hermaphroditic physical form.”

 

Alternate Response Number Two:

Me: “Actually, you’re half right. The artist is trying to fool you by making the woman’s foreshortened thigh look like a penis. He’s making a statement about male domination and the objectification of women. In fact, if you squint a little, you can see that the figure’s entire body is nothing more than a collage of penis-shaped blobs of paint.”

 

Alternate Response Number Three:

Me: “No, it’s not a penis. It’s a leg, not a penis. It doesn’t even look like a penis. Do you even know what a penis looks like? Have you ever SEEN a penis? Doesn’t look like it.”

 

Alternate Response Number Four:

Me: “No that’s not a penis dummy THIS is a penis HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA just kidding get the fuck out of my store.”

 

How the conversation actually ended:

Woman: Turning to leave “Is there a liquor store in this place?”

Me: “Uh… Well, your best bet would probably be the supermarket, I guess.”

Woman: “What, you mean there’s a supermarket?”

Me: “Yeah…just a mile that way…”

Woman: “Wow. Thanks. I need a drink after looking at that photograph.”

Me: “Heh heh” it’s a painting not a photograph what’s wrong with you

Woman: “Ha just kidding.”

Me: more awkward laughter until woman leaves

wrist-slashing prompt #4,796

Potential customers #497 and #498: Tall-ish man wearing cross around neck and possibly in need of a shave; short-ish woman, sun-tanned/burned complexion, long black hair, denim mini-skirt.

Words spoken by couple during their entrance to, and traverse of the first room of, the gallery (in response to “hello”):

“Hello.”

Words spoken by couple during their traverse of the gallery’s second room, in which I sit:

(no words)

Words spoken by couple during their traverse of gallery’s third room, which, to reach, requires walking past three to four dozen paintings, many of which possess visible brush-strokes, impasto, and signatures, and many of which bear prices in the mid- to upper five figures, and most of which, in fact, are so obviously original works of art as to make the following statement border on the farcical and indicate that said couple either a.) are both partially blind, or b.) have seen only a miniscule number of actual paintings in their lives:

Woman: “Do you think these are originals?”

Remaining words spoken by couple during their traverse of gallery’s fourth room, their return through the first three rooms, and their exit through the front entrance (quietly):

“Thank you.”

Emotions felt by gallery staff in the aftermath of couple’s brief perusal of inventory, especially considering they were two of only a very meager handful of customers to enter the premises that day:

Annoyance, frustration, incredulity, despair.

The Fork of July

The party is clearly strategic entertaining. Aperitifs flow freely. A small cheese and cracker colony exists briefly in the living room and tries to change the world. Sinister bowls of something called “gumbo” infiltrate the crowd, with instructions to escape rapidly the next morning.

Dessert is bread pudding. A line forms in the kitchen. My dad is handed a helping and, not atypically, appears to be reaching for it with his fingers.

“You need a fork!” I exclaim, rhetorically. He needs a fork.

“Fork!” exclaims our hostess (apparently standing behind me). She extracts an arm from her present task, snakes it six feet down the counter, retrieves a plastic fork from the fork jar and hands it to me, saying, Texasly, “here y’are.”

My dad already has a fork. He got it with his pudding. I missed it. Now I have a fork too.

“Pudding?” the caterer hands me a plate of pudding. With a fork. Now I have two forks.

I pocket one quietly. It doesn’t pay to draw attention to yourself around here. My stewpidity may be the death of me; I need forkitude to survive.