Disappointments and Rewards

The owner of the gallery where I worked never loved the business side of running the place and wanted to just be an artist again. Who can blame him? The director/curator has an opportunity to work more intensely with digital media art (her particular field of interest) in Bordeaux, France. Who wouldn’t want to try that? So I no longer work at a gallery, and it was a sad day when I relinquished my key.

At almost at the same moment when I found out about the decision to close the gallery, I received an offer for a very different kind of job. I couldn’t turn it down. I also couldn’t leave the gallery with only two months left. There was a lot to do that fell under my jurisdiction: press releases and e-mails to write, mailings to design and send, social media to manage, the website to update. I wanted those things done right, our farewells heartfelt and carefully managed. So I negotiated to keep working at the gallery and took the new job. I may have spread myself a bit thin. It was emotional and exhausting.

I hope that, now that the gallery is closed and the work I have left to do marginal, I will have time once again to work on my art and update my blog.

Working at a gallery, and being an artist in general, requires that you ask people to spend money on objects that are in no way necessary for life. Art feeds the soul, and shapes human culture (no small thing, that!), but it does not feed bellies or build houses. I believe that the buying of original art is important, even if the “gallery system” is flawed. It’s easier and more accessible to buy art than most people realize.

It’s something we talked a lot about toward the end, as the date of closure drew near. Our last show, the grand finale, consisted of process murals painted throughout the exhibition directly on the gallery walls. The work was the work in progress, unfinished until the last two days. It could not leave the space and would end as we left. We let that be our final note. Interpret it as you will.

From all this work work work the last few months, I managed to earn some extra money, and I bought myself some art. I plucked it off the wall of a store specializing in mid-century modern furniture, and I’m very pleased with it. It’s one of those things that I had to have, that I was afraid I’d think of longingly and regretfully forever if I didn’t buy. (There is another work I had a similar reaction to that I did not buy, and I do indeed still think of it.)

Untitled figure by Leonard Baskin
Illustration for Titus Andronicus, Act V scene ii, by Leonard Baskin

Leonard Baskin is one of my favorite artists. His art books have had a huge influence on me. Look at this print (try to ignore the glare from the glass): isn’t it wonderful? I love it. It’s hanging on my wall, to my left when I’m sitting on my bed. Owning it feels like a small triumph.


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