So, I've been gone a while. Don't get your hopes up for my blog return. It's too soon. However, I think I should share a story because some people deserve an honest explanation. I find that when life throws you a lesson, it's best to learn from it at the moment rather than procrastinating. Let's get to it...
Last year, at the height of Covid, I visited a gallery and hit it off with the non-mask-wearing gallerist as he really liked my work. His words, not mine. Particularly "the lines", referring to Interspersions and Multidimensionalities. He offered me a show in 2021. We agreed to wait until later in the year to see if Covid fades a bit before we set a concrete date (I was the concerned party). That gave me some time to thoroughly think things through. What kind of exhibition would revolve around philosophy if thought wasn't a primary factor? At the end of May 2021, he asked me if I would like to add a couple of pieces to his summer show that opened at the beginning of June. Of course, I accepted! I attended the opening; they usually run for 3.5 hours here, so I was told and so this exhibit proves. At the opening, I sensed an air of apprehension from this gallerist. I asked if he was sure he wanted the September show to go on. I was willing to cancel as no announcements had been made about September and no physical substantial amount of work created. Endless hours of thought, sketching, sleepless nights and such, but people don't often care about things unless they're concrete. Physical. The irony, right? In any case, in June it wasn't too late to turn back. The cancelation opportunity was presented by me and rejected by the gallerist. He insisted the September exhibition was a go with the impression that it would last as long as previous exhibits, 3-4 months. Based on this premise, I created a museum-worthy exhibit specifically for this space. The wall color was the perfect contrast and I immediately fell in love with the space!
The physical work turned out more beautiful than I even imagined, because once you see a series of works together sometimes it's true a WOW! I designed the art around the architecture of the gallery space. It has many concrete walls that I didn't want to drill into so as to not ruin structural integrity, despite his okay to do so. Planning wasn't without its challenges. Five rooms, lots of corners, interesting nooks, and so on. I utilized them thoroughly. I created material interest, subject interest, connective threads throughout. Meticulous! I was quite proud of how it all came together. I sketched the layout and reiterated it to perfection, and kept him in the loop. I wrote all the artist statements, press releases, designed invitations, social media announcements, literally everything that a gallery should also be doing. I don't do subpar. I won't. I even designed the refreshment table to work with the artwork! I was going to bake sugar cookies for the opening reception that mimicked my work to tie it all in. Flawless. (And delicious.) The cohesion was extraordinary! Yes, I'm tooting my own horn because I know what I put into this in great detail. It would have been one hellova party, one hellova show that the whole community could enjoy! I designed it so that even people who had minimal understanding and interest in art could discover relatable pieces. I don't like to leave people out, ya know? It's not nice and I simply don't like it. To arrive at such detailed cohesion, can you imagine how much time it took? I sent my kid to live with his dad for the summer so I could focus on this show. I bailed on every family event. My parents are old. How long can they live? I squandered precious moments of our lives on an exhibition I thoughtfully created with abundant love and goodwill because I was led to believe it would be a professional experience.
Nope. this is what happened instead... I was originally told this show would last from September through around Thanksgiving. Approximately a month before the show, he told me the closing date would be seven days after the opening. 7 days! Are you kidding me?! I reminded him of his promises at which point he conceded to November 1. Less than I originally expected, but still substantial, so I compromised. Less than two weeks before the scheduled opening, he posted an invitation on LinkedIn with a closing date of October 11. When I respectfully asked him to stay true to his word as it was unprofessional to keep bouncing this way, he flew off the handle and canceled the show! He blamed it on Covid and said he was closing the gallery in September. For the record, in Nov 2020, at the height of Covid, he wasn't wearing a mask at the gallery and the gallery was open. He had a family member who had Covid earlier that year and was on an oxygen tank during months of recovery and he was still lackadaisical about the virus. He specifically stated that he didn't plan on closing. Of course, he's entitled to change his mind, but to do so with such short notice is inexcusable! People traveled up from distant states to see this exhibit and he hurt my reputation with his inconsistency and unprofessionalism. At first, I went with his Covid lie. I thought it was the professional thing to do. However, upon further deliberation, I realized that ultimately my silence is the more hurtful thing. I don't want others to lose as I did. Thus far, this man has cost me countless hours of my life, my relationships, financial expenses, my reputation, and even my health. Let's not pretend stress doesn't do damage. Additionally, it cost others their time, their effort, their willingness to help me see this through because they believed in me. So many people lost as a result of his actions. Did I fail to mention that certain guests could have altered the course of my career? He may have cost me that, too.
This was going to be my last connective exhibition. I don't have time to curate my own anymore and it's not something I would entrust to others as the curation is part of my art (in these types of shows). I make my own. Period. Anyway, I'm sure you can derive a slew of lessons from this post, and I hope that you do.
As if all this was not enough, he still has two of my works from the summer exhibition (above) in his possession. We had scheduled a pick-up date and time for September 2 at 11. I was running late due to Hurricane Ida's aftermath, circumventing abandoned cars and endless traffic. I kept him posted on my whereabouts and eta the whole time and he remained unresponsive. I texted him to follow up again. Nothing. A woman from a local establishment came out to greet me as I had been lingering for an hour waiting for him to arrive. She said he was close by and should be here within minutes. No such luck. I left at 1:10 pm and received incomprehensible texts from him an hour later. It looked to me like he just wanted to waste even more of my time and there was no way I was turning around at that point. It took another four hours to get home.
Lessons learned. The last time I deal with a failed artist pretending to be a professional gallerist. Anyway, now you know what happened and I'm terribly sorry that you had nothing to see when you arrived from your respective states. (I am flattered as hell that you did though! Thank you!) I posted social notifications as soon as I was certain of the cancellation. I had some hours of denial because who does that?! What kind of flakey character cancels out of nowhere? Whatever happened to honor? What a world :(