"Solace " 4" X 6" oil/paper 2001
This website was launched at 7:00 AM EST on October 30, 2001.
Even if I had the money to do otherwise, my desire is to launch it slow. I believe that organic growth is the best kind.
So the first thing I did was to take my envelopes to the Post Office. Most of them contained all three signed cards. The envelopes all had "It's beyond what you think" stamped on the back flap. I signed my name underneath.
I mailed something like 400 of them. They all went to friends, family, collectors of my art and people who have been on my mailing lists from earlier projects.
I took down the three small paintings on paper (the one's that are on the announcements) from my studio wall and placed them in a small white folder I had made earlier out of foam-core. In between each painting was a sheet of rice paper. I laid the letter to Mary (see Screw 7) on top and sealed it shut with white tape.
Everything this day took on the feel of religious ceremony.
I then put it in a large manila envelope along with three envelopes containing the announcements. They were addressed to Mary Boone, Ron Warren and Eric Fischel.
I went downtown on the subway. I don't even remember being there. I walked to the gallery.
I took a deep breath, said Heavenly Father (a Moonie throwback) and walked in.
There was a new reception desk up front. Two guys were there in crisp suits. The one guy was the receptionist I had met on the day I brought my collected postal series to Mary's Fifth Ave address.
I just walked past and into the gallery. I was really wired.
There were big black and white photos of a nude woman, who seemed to be flung about interiors and landscapes, hanging on the walls. I hardly noticed them. I walked straight to the back where Ron was sitting at his desk.
"Ah yes. Naked people. You never get tired of looking at naked people", I said.
"It's a classic", said Ron.
I asked him if he remembered me, and raised my sunglasses to my forehead.
He said yeah.
"So I have something for Mary", and I handed him the envelope.
He peered inside and asked if it was all for Mary?
I told him the large white one was for Mary. She should also get one of the small envelopes. The other two are for you and Eric Fischel. It's Christmas. I have presents for everybody.
He smiled, and said okay.
I asked if I could use his restroom as my coffee was hitting home.
He made a funny face that said more than enough. That's okay. If it were my small paintings sitting in racks behind closed doors, I wouldn't want some guy with a bag walking back there either.
He told me where there is one in a hallway in a building around the corner.
I told him that's the best thing about being a New Yorker. You know where the bathrooms are.
I told him thanks, and walked toward the front.
I stopped at the front and put my shopping bag on the table. I asked the one guy if he remembered our Fifth Ave encounter.
He said no.
I told him a little bit of what it had been about, and that this visit was a continuation of the same project.
The guy sitting there said "What's that?" pointing to my bag, as if a plastic shopping bag sitting on a table was a very strange thing indeed.
I thought to tell him it was a bag of anthrax, but he seemed kind of tightly wound, so I told him it was a bag of envelopes. I then gave each of them an unadressed one, and left the gallery.
You know how people who go through violent situations talk about how everything slows down and they see themselves as being in a movie? That's true. I got beat up pretty good once, and it was just like that.
This was the reverse of that. Having left, I hardly remembered being there.
I went to the building with the restroom, but the door was locked. I went into a gallery and asked for a key. A very nice woman gave it to me. When I returned it, I gave her an envelope too. I told her it was a Thank You gift.
I then went to deliver two large stacks of envelopes to NYPress and WNYC. Both of these are mentioned in the "Thank You" writing located in the Essays link. As representative media outlets, I like these two. In some ways they are very different, which fits this site, but both are relatively small and friendly. That's closer to what I feel in launching this site.
I was going to mail them. All the WNYC ones were already stamped.
But then the anthrax thing hit, and people seem afraid of their mail. I wanted to try to make it friendlier.
I went to NYPress first, as they are just uptown and a few blocks over from Boone. There was a white kid at the reception desk. He wore a tight black tee shirt, and was a young guy, kind of a hard guy for me to figure in that situation.
I told him the rap and handed him the stack. I also gave him a stack of unadressed ones for others on the staff whose names I did not know. I told him I loved their newspaper.
He said he would give the announcements to them, and I left.
I wondered if he would throw them away as soon as the elevator door closed.
I don't mean to disrespect the guy. Maybe he's perfectly friendly, but this is an alternative newspaper in NYC, and there are a lot of moody kids out there with attitude. I figured there was a 20% shot he'd ditch them.
So while waiting on the elevator, I stuck my head back in the door and said, "You won't forget will you? I have a lot riding on this, including my financial survival" hoping to appeal to his own probably bleak financial situation.
He said he wouldn't forget.
I got on the elevator and thought "I'm fucked" as I didn't think that last gambit worked at all.
I walked all the way down to WNYC, which is located close to the WTC site.
Along the way I found myself in front of a Copy Shop owned by the sister and brother-in-law of my first NY art dealer. I dropped off a few cards. I miss Joseph.
I stopped and talked to a cop directing traffic along the way. I've always thought cops were cool, even before the WTC thing. The biggest change I see is that now the cops are much more open about chatting; whereas, before, back when they were always getting bad press, they were very standoffish on the street. We all be good buddies now.
Getting into the building was like boarding a plane. Everything was x-rayed or scanned.
The receptionist at WNYC was a young black woman with a friendly smile. Whew.
I went to the WTC site, or as close as you can get to it, which is about a block away in any direction. It's all pretty heavy duty. The smell of the smoke hangs in the air like incense in a church. The crowds gather at every cross-street, staring, and taking pictures. Little shrines and message boards are everywhere. Deep sadness and fear permeates all in attendance.
There is still a lot of smoke coming out of the wound. The charred and blown-out buildings still standing, are the most impressive. One has its top part arching out and hanging down.
As sculpture, it is powerful.
My body was beat. I'm getting old. I went to an Irish Pub and had a couple of beers.
I found myself sitting across from a "Wanted Dead or Alive: Osama bin Laden" poster that had been on the front page of The NY Post a few weeks ago.
It was taped to the mirror.