Friday, June 23, 2006


It has taken until now jun 2006 to be able to collect the following into a narrative (such as it is)

The story starts in the late 90's, I was living in a cottage in the woods of Sag Harbor, after having lived in various rentals in Bridgehampton and East Hampton, the area affectionately and with a touch of pessimism referred to as 'The Hamptons' by people whose parties I was NOT invited to. As a housepainter and artist I had left the urban area and was working and living in this rural part of Long Island, loved and revered by the indians back in the day. I was basically very happy (if a little bored) and was able to forget alot of the aspirational worries and career drive ie rejections of the art world of the previous 5 years or so. I had had success and youth in the 80's and had started on my way, but that was then, this was now...but it was a good time and I was able to make what was for me a lot of money working in the country homes of the rich for over 6 years. It was in that cottage though that I hatched an idea to start making art again after a period of complete block,I had not created anything of my own for 6 years except decorative objects which I sold at silly home decorating shops to bored, rich women that they could then impress their well to do friends with by giving it as a house gift, a $300 hand painted waste paper bucket, my cut was $70.
I said to myself......I'm going to make what to me would be the craziest work I can think of, the stupidest colors, the dumbest abstractions and by their very nature and form completely NOT me. I got some cheap poster board and colored tape, office supplies really, everything about the exercise was to go against what I had done before in a fine art context, the word that I kept hearing in my mind was STUPID. You have to know that I had no one interested in my work no one to please not even me.....I wanted to push my artmaking mind out there away from any seductive artform into regions that were alien to me......because I had nothing to lose and the boredom and available time was right, so I began to make wall sculptures that to me looked like activities period at a psychiatric hospital, very detailed with hundreds of parts all taped together like a family tree or a kabalistic tree of life. I made a few works and then a few more and photographed them. Then I got a chance to move back to NYC, one I could not refuse, so I moved and took everything with me to a good size one bedroom apt. on the 20th floor of a highrise at 90 Gold St. in lower Manhattan, 4 blocks east of the World Trade Center, the year was 1999. At first I missed the cottage in the woods and the deer that would come right up to the window but I was VERY lucky to get that apt. and when I first saw it and the view from the terrace I knew it was a gift from god and I never took that gift for granted ever.
I continued the work I had started in the cottage, and before long I got the idea to send pictures of this work to a well known art dealer I knew was always showing nutty work and so not what I thought myself to be. I sent them as a joke, to amuse myself - knowing full well that an avant garde gallery like this would reject this work like all the other times in the recent past that I had been rejected, I had become used to it - almost amused by it, even while it hurt as anyone can know. I was out there in a boat without a paddle.....drifting, with nowhere to go. So what the hell.
You can quess can't you, I recieved a note from him saying that he liked the work and wanted to make a visit to see it. The visit went well and I found myself included in a summer 2001 group show with a good number of pieces. This, with work that started out as a joke and for me still was, I in no way took this work seriously, but everybody else connected with that show and that gallery DID, the show had a dopey title and all the work in it was STUPID. He sold a wall-size work right away to a Boston collector for $4000.00 and he was saying things like 'we are going to do more with you' I was really floating, One day he handed me a bus. card and note from the curator of a big museum that said his favorite work in this show was the stephen aljian work. The show ended and it was the end of the summer of 2001 and there was hope and possibility and happiness.

to be continued......


Blogger Murph said...

I'm reserving comment until I see what the last five years bring to your story...

2:07 PM  
Blogger middleagesteve said...

It's a long story and not an easy one - hang in there, a big bang is comming up - but I have to work and I'll be tired I know, so it will take a little while to write the second and third parts.

6:43 AM  

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