Thursday, September 06, 2007

call me a collector

I am not the type to chat up seat-mates on a plane. I find it awkward, often tedious, occasionally offensive (long story, flight to Costa Rica where I was upgraded about my religion for hours on end!) and difficult to stop once it has begun because umm, where are you supposed to go to end the conversation gracefully?

Somehow and for some reason, I broke this rule on my flight home from Iceland. Much to my and my sister's disappointment, a small man took the window seat at the last minute, just before our flight took off. He slept most of the flight but shortly before we landed we started chit-chatting. To me this is the only time where it is acceptable to engage in conversation because there is a way out - when the plane lands! Well, after I told him I live in New York and that I'm a lawyer (I promise he asked, I don't volunteer that too readily), he got excited, pulled out his bag and rifled through it to extract a stack of postcards and handed me this: He invited us to his exhibit opening and I looked forward to it all week. Earlier today I googled his name and browsed the collection on the gallery's website. My sister and I exchanged a couple of emails commenting on his style and we each emailed a favorite.

I have spent the occasional Saturday wandering the galleries in Chelsea and I have been to a couple exhibit openings - one in SoHo and one in midtown - but I have never been to an opening night like this. According to my friend Brooke who works at one of the galleries this is one of the biggest gallery opening nights of the year as it kicks off the new season of exhibitions. Tenth Avenue is not one of the most populated areas of Manhattan and foot traffic is a bit rare but tonight it was packed. What a pot potpourri of people - hipsters of every ilk, a few post-work business casual types like me, a smattering of what I call the Upper West Side liberal sprinkled with the truly random artsy type who appears to use his body as an expression of his art. Fascinating.

I rode the large industrial elevator to the sixth floor of a warehouse type building on 25th Street and walked into the tiny one room gallery. I made two attempts to invite a companion to share this trek with me and gave up after two people turned me down. I didn't need more rejection. I felt a bit awkward pausing alone in the entry wondering what to say to this stranger from the plane.

But I didn't have to pause for long. As soon as we made eye contact, this sweet little man broke into a wide grin and gave me a huge hug. He greeted me like a long lost friend. Better even. He took me by the arm and introduced me to his wife and son and grandkids who were constantly underfoot, as they were on the plane. It was fantastic. I fell in love with his work immediately. It is full of beautiful clean lines, intriguing texture and one painting in particular grabbed me, the same one I emailed my sister. I wandered around the room inspecting the other paintings with brighter colors but I was continually drawn back to the one titled "Dancing All Night".

I didn't go thinking about buying. I hadn't even considered it but I inquired as to the price anyway. It was much less than I anticipated and he offered me a 20% discount! Before I even thought about it I agreed to buy "Dancing All Night". I love the title and I love the painting. He was sweet and kissed me on the cheek as he hugged me goodbye. All I had to do to "buy" the painting was give the gallery my business card. They will contact me at the end of the exhibit to arrange the transaction.

So, without further adieu, let me introduce you to my new painting:

If you want to see it in person (which you must in order to truly appreciate it), it will be on display at the Amos Eno Gallery through the 29th, after that you just have to come visit my apartment! Now I am just trying to figure out how to rearrange my apartment to find a suitable place to hang it.


tiff said...

What a great story, what a great painting, what a great night. Ryan and I read this together, and he said, "Doesn't that make you want to move to New York?" Mmm-hmmm.

I can't wait to see it in person!

Beck said...

Oh, the What-Ifs this post raised! My husband is an artist, and we made a deliberate choice to stay and NOT move to a bigger city, but now we find that we miss the art community.... sigh.

erin said...

I'm officially commenting. A painting like this deserves no less than a rearranging of furniture to give it the space and atmosphere it deserves to call home. Better have something in a subtle green ready to accompany, maybe repaint your wall (Mom told me). Just don't upstage Dancing All Night, one of my paintings being the only exception.

autumn said...

Just for now, I am going to pretend that it was me that went to an art gallery and bought a fabulous painting.

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