On July 4th, 2006, I embarked on a quest to become the pre-eminent American portrait painter of the 21st century. This blog chronicles that journey. With apologies to Joan Didion, I call it THE YEAR OF MAGICAL PAINTING.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Click click click
Do you remember the scene in Fatal Attraction where you first realize Glenn Close is certifiably insane? It's the one where she's just lying in her bed, clicking the light on and off, ad, presumably, infinitum.
Click click click.
I'm 57 today, although you can see that I look like a far younger man...
What am I doing for my birthday? Lying in my bed, listening to my Cowboy Junkies/Portishead playlist on repeat, clicking my Lehman Brothers security pen.
A woman walks up to me in front of Sotheby's. We talk a bit. She's an ex-Lehman person. She signs the painting then walks away. I turn my attention elsewhere. She then returns and says, "I think you should have this."
"This" being this:
It's a Lehman security pen. Every time you click open the pen a new message appears related to corporate security. They read, in clickable order:
--Don't e-Mail confidential information --Guard client info as your own --Don't share your password or PIN --Secure or shred confidential info --LehmanLive keyword: InfoSecurity --Avoid laptop "shoulder surfers"
These are tips we should all live by. Yes they are. That said, I'm not comfortable with the capital M in e-Mail. Nor am I. But don't let that ruin the moment for you. I'm not. Good. 'Cause that pen's now a collector's item. Prolly worth a lot of money someday. Prolly more than the painting. Prolly. What's that gross thing on your finger? A Band-Aid. I cut my finger cutting a tomato the other night. Ouch. It hurt a good bit, but there is something to be said for that moment of crystalline clarity that you experience when the knife has stopped cutting the tomato and is instead cutting you--that half a second right before it starts hurting like a son of a bitch. There's prolly some larger message about art in there, don't you think? Yes I do. Damned if I can figure it out, though. I hear you, brother. Great pen, though. Yeah.
If you find yourself here because you heard about The Liquidated Fuld, I would call your attention to my other site: annotatedpaintings.blogspot.com. This contains all my annotated Wall Street images, including all four Fuld paintings, and you won't have to wade through the miscellaneous nonsense that makes The Year of Magical Painting what it is. For good or for bad.
The first thing the guy from the BBC asked me was, "Did they ask you to move?"
"They always ask me to move," I replied.
That said, the security people at Sotheby's are far pleasanter than those at Merrill Lynch. As if that's saying much. When I explained the importance of the juxtaposition of my painting and the front door of Sotheby's, they nodded a little bit. When I then told them I do this all the time and explained the pertinent law to them, they tasted defeat and moved away.
Hey, you gotta give it a try. They couldn't have been pleasanter. Nor could yesterday afternoon have been.
This is The Liquidated Fuld on Day Three. My favorite comment? Three women in their mid to late sixties, I would guess, after having seen the exhibit upstairs, came out the door and asked what was up with Big Dick IV. I explained.
Then the first woman wrote, at about the 2 o'clock mark, "$ can't buy U love". Which was wonderful, since I always like a Beatles quote on my painting. Then her friend took the marker and, just inside where the first one had written, scrawled "But take the money and run, you prick".
Which was also good.
The third, feeling, I guess, that everything that had to be said had been said, demurred when I offered her the marker.
Something new today. Don't usually find myself on the Upper East Side anyway, and certainly not with a painting. Nonetheless, Sotheby's calls, and I (using the present tense) pick up the phone.
All of which is to say that I'm gonna take The Liquidated Fuld and stand in front of the Sotheby's office this afternoon hoping, all the while, that somebody with a higher net worth than I decides to: a) write something on my painting, b) buy my painting, or c) all of the above.
On a sleepy September Wednesday this strikes me as unlikely. But Saturday morning, God willin' and the levee don't rise, I'll be standing in the same place, watching streams of swells enter and exit Sotheby's, all in the process of attending the Lehman Bros. auction.
And it will be then, dear friend, that I will have baited my hook for Leviathan.
Quick final note: the selection is, to my mind, not that fabulous. But go to the auction site and check out Lot 16. It's a work by Glenn Ligon, a man who is clearly drinking the same Kool-Aid as me.
First, I'm not sure what I think about wrapping the annotations around his head. On one level, it's a giggle. And, given the general lack of graphic skills possessed by the annotating public, it's an opportunity I don't usually get (all the annotations you see here, other than my own, were taken from the web--mostly Dealbreaker--and transcribed by me). Plus the whole halo thing, which didn't really work with Chris Dodd, seems a bit more organic here.
I mean, the man was a saint. Right?
Second, you can read my annotation in the lower left corner. It's a long one and begins with the words "A note from the artist...". I think it says everything.
Are you familiar with the plan?
Okay, the plan is to exhibit it once on Wall Street, to service my public, and then take it Saturday morning to show outside Sotheby's during the Lehman Brothers art holdings auction. It from this event that the title Liquidated Fuld springs.
The operating assumption is that somebody, perhaps an ex Lehman person, is going to exit the show frustrated at his inability to beat out Figby in M&A for the Renoir, clap eyes on The Liquidated Fuld, and ply me with amounts of money that haven't been seen in these parts for a while.
In the meantime, I'm holding a mid-annotation sale of sorts. First bid over 15K takes it home (with some pesky details).
Had a tornado last night. Does it make me a bad person to say that I prayed the electricity wouldn't go off and I'd miss the Mets game?
Not bad, really. But deeply shallow. Deeply shallow? Yes. Wow. That's me in a nutshell. I was thinking about going with profoundly vapid, but it seemed mean-spirited. Thank you. But I'll take deeply shallow. Then it's yours.
Anyway, here's a video of the tornado. I can't quite pick out the landmarks, but I can tell you that, in the larger scheme of things, this is EXACTLY where I live.
And this morning? Walking the dog? I was reminded of the tropics--the mother of all storms passes through and the next day, amid the carnage, the weather is almost surreally beautiful.
Several Items, not the least of which is The Fuld Monte
I was eating my oatmeal this morning and thinking it would be interesting to dice a cooked beet and put it in. In lieu of blueberries, which are prohibitively expensive.
Second, there's this:
The fourth and final installment in my series of Fuld paintings, I painted it to acknowledge the 2nd anniversary of Lehman's bankruptcy (which is today) as well as the upcoming sale of Lehman Bros. art holdings at Sotheby's on September 24th. I'll be exhibiting it in front of Sotheby's during the auction period (including the viewing hours).
Between the four of them (The Annotated Fuld, The Reexamined Fuld, The Indictable Fuld, and now The Liquidated Fuld), I think I've achieved a narrative arc that speaks not only to the Lehman Brothers experience, but to the last several years on Wall Street.
Also worth noting: I'll be releasing a special set of signed prints titled "The Fuld Monte" on October 1st, which will include all four Fuld pictures reproduced at a slightly smaller size than my regular prints, plus a nice letter from me. Cost for the set will be $599.99 (plus shipping and handling). If you pre-order the cost is $500.
Been to the US Open lately? Well, it's a lot like this:
I was there yesterday but, mercifully, missed the fight. It's a big place. Best line from the video, by the way, can be found just after the 2:00 mark and goes something like this:
You da one dat shit got jumped!
Translation being something like "You, sir, despite suggestions to the contrary, are the one who was attacked."
Actually, we (I go with some friends from Hollywood every year) used to buy the tickets that included admission to one match at Arthur Ashe Stadium. And this footage is shot from about where our tickets used to be. Fact of the matter? Tennis from that far away is shite. Who's got time, unless you are obsessed with the thing?
These days we get day passes that let us roam the courts, no reserved seating, but don't get us into the stadia. Among other things, I watched, in two sections, a five set, five hour match. In the middle of which we left, lay on the grass, ate lunch, drank some Ben and Jerry's smoothies, then went back to the match. In all that time we missed about one set total.
The beauty of the outer courts is that, instead of being ten levels away from the action, you are potentially ten FEET away. During a women's match I spent some time chatting with the baseline judge. I was sitting right behind her (she on the side of the court; me on the front row of the bleachers).
Nice woman; big head. From my vantage point she got every call right.
I will say this: By the end of five hours of tennis in a merciless heat (I was schvitzing, if that's how you spell it, before I even got IN the car), the fifth set of that match was one of those real gut-check moments. I saw a high-end women's match (maybe Kim Clijsters, if that's how you spell it) in an unbelievably hot Australian Open a couple of years ago, and by the end they were literally staggering around. Other than that, this is the most gassed I've ever seen two tennis players look.
Some guy named Nishikori beat some guy named Cilic. Half way through the fifth set the Open medical staff was treating Cilic (who was seeded 11th, so he wasn't a piker) for heat exhaustion and cramps.