What can I say about the opening of the Blogger Show? As Stephanie said to me a few days before, it was an awful lot of trouble to go to just to hang a bunch of useless objects on a wall and throw a party about it. But it was a good party! Or anyway what I consider a good party, which is probably boring as all hell for almost everybody. Basically it amounted to meeting a bunch of people who, by the selection criteria of the show -- artists who write, or writers who art, or however you want to express it -- are more expressive, articulate, and conversational than most. Which made it perfect for me: I could finally meet some people I'd only known online; I could introduce people to each other who had never met; and I could stand around and listen to myself talk for three hours.
I would list all the people I saw there but it'd pretty much be the list of participants, so you might just as well go read that. Instead I'll tell you about my disappointments at the people who didn't show up. I wish Charlie Finch had been there. I hoped Jerry Saltz would show, although I didn't expect him (I personally sent him a hand-painted postcard inviting him); and I really thought Ed Winkleman would be there. Another disappointment was seeing Christopher Reiger there but not getting to talk to him. Somehow by the time I remembered I wanted to snag him, I couldn't find him.
The opening was packed but almost entirely by people who were in the show or somehow related to them, like my wife (who you can see sitting Sphinxlike next to the door in the opening shot of James Kalm's video) or Tracy's husband Doug. Very few people wandered in off the street, with the striking exception of the woman in the paint-stained bathrobe. Oh, and Mark.
Mark was standing outside the gallery when I got back from getting some air.
"I'm Mark," he said, extending a hand.
I shook it and asked, "Which one?" I assumed he was one of the Marks in the show.
"Do you have a last name?"
"Yes, I do. Are you going to tell me your name?"
"I'm Chris. Chris Rywalt."
"I'm Mark [some name I'd never heard and can't remember]."
Aha. Not Marc Snyder or Mark Creegan, then. That explains his cagey attitude.
Mark was very interested in people's clothes, although he claimed to be a freelance journalist. Nancy Baker came up and introduced herself to him and he complimented her coat.
"Cashmere," she said.
"I'm a terrible dresser," I interjected. "Maybe I should have you dress me."
"Burlington Coat Factory, baby!" Nancy enthused.
Mark pointed at her with a flourish. "Two hundred dollars!"
"Exactly! One ninety-nine!"
"And I bet it was originally five hundred!"
"I wouldn't know."
Meanwhile Mark was rubbing my shirt fabric between his fingers. "This shirt is very nice," he said.
Luckily we were interrupted -- conversations at art openings rarely end properly, they just get suspended indefinitely -- and Mark moved on to discuss other people's clothing.
Danny Scheffer was at the opening. He blew me away by being the only really honest and thoughtful person that I spoke with. Under my painting he leaned in and said to me, "So what made you choose this piece? Because you know it's not your strongest work."
Which it isn't, I suppose. But given the pieces I had to choose from -- this was a small works show and my best work recently has been large -- this one struck me as a good representative. Also, it's a sentimental favorite, since it's based on a drawing I like so much I've drawn it three or four times.
The opening was over very quickly, or felt that way. Afterward a number of us repaired to Two Boots for pizza, generously paid for by Tracy. If I'd known beforehand she was buying, I'd've suggested sushi.