Here we go. I have just made final arrangements with the Frank Gordon Trio, ordered the new element for the oven, purchased fresh flowers at a steal, weathered an all-night wind storm and gale off the lake, and am ready for art lovers and friends of art lovers to meet the inspiration of Lena Ulanova.
I have planned a menu for the opening. Please don’t tell me what you think now, just come in on Friday and break pounds of bread with me in the flesh, and Lena in spirit.
Palatable menu for expressive paintings to be exhibited:
Chocolate chip cookies
Double chocolate cookies
Peanut butter cookies
Fresh picked empire apples
Spiced almonds, pecans, cashews, maybe pistachios
Smoked salmon with capers and dill
Butternut squash soup
New oven element roast beef
New oven element roast turkey
Vegetables and multigrain breads and rolls for sandwiches
Coffee and tea
Many beverages including sangria
And an autumn night filled with space.
First, a song about Andy, followed by a great autumn song:
Or vice-versa. Two serious clowns—one struggling the anonymous existence and the other trapped in the poisonous web of mega-celebrity. Serious and intense clowns—there are no other types.
One of these is on exhibit and available for purchase, now if you want, Friday if you wait. I’ll give you a hint. It’s the one honoring the man who said “vloek!” not “shazbat!” when nobody bought his paintings.
And it’s for sale at $150 U.S. Metal frame, under glass.
6 days until the opening. I want to give all and sundry a taste of work available for sale. You can place your red sticker dot on today to ensure painting goes home with you on the 19th, or mailed out on the 20th for those out of town and state. All paintings are matted and under glass in a metal frame. Please remember, there is no middle man here. There is reverence, and I am king of that castle. All purchases minus frame cost go to Lena to buy paints, substrate, and perhaps fresh flowers set in the window of her flat on a winter’s day. I’ll post one or two a day, an image of the painting out of frame. I look forward to seeing old friends and new faces on the 19th! Meanwhile, think holiday cheer and loved ones overjoyed to receive modern taste and éclat from the great north of Russia!
I have woken each morning since August with this exhibition in mind, and before that, sporadically, but just as intense when imagined. I wonder often if I should have went to divinity school to become a preacher. A veritable Vernon Johns selling vegetables out of my pick up truck on the side of the road after Sunday service. I say this because I feel lately that artists and their art, when taken together, exemplify the human spirit far better than any Middle Eastern Bible can, repetitively citing another used parable about a flock of sheep, a wife to lay with, and a regular threat of a high and mighty smiting. And I realize that a Christian life would be nice, but very stale, following the same old example of a Jesus who never painted a picture, or sat on a train, or read a book about black bears in the wild.
Artists suffer and abandon, accept and howl as good as any bigoted patriarch of Canaan. It’s been so since the compiling of the good book of whichever religion your grandparents pretended to obey, and passed down to you after the atheist slaughter of the modern wars and rise of the nuclear age. Every generation since Job and Jesus has had the artist and the poet to imitate and/or reflect joy and suffering, and every age does to them just what the mighty Lord often did to his abiding flock.
And it often ain’t pretty.
There are artists like Lena Ulanova who are humble to the core, and give back in spirit and wonder so much more than what life offers. I look at her paintings throughout the gallery and am comforted that spirit and harmony with nature and man is in tact as it ever was. I see improvements made to a suffering world, joy expressed, and original compositions of the eternal human condition. If you knew Lena like I imagine to know her, you would see how I see a modern-day St. Francis of Assisi—with a palette of paint and substrate of the forest. No creature fears her presence. All of nature is her monastery and mankind is connected as before, now and always. She is a mirror of the lust of life, as any religion must be if it is trying to remain human.
I made this painting to revere the artist in woman and man. Nobody expects her to perform the healing miracles of the saint, and yet my soul is free and the birds alight on her shoulder.
As you may have seen in the last couple weeks, Lena has taken our photos of Danae in New York and made them art history. If this exhibition is not entrainment—verve, gusto, passion, spunk—then we cannot help the lost art world find its way home. And the oligarchs have won with all the money in the world.
Lena has done this kind of thing before, back in Moscow a couple years ago. However, these were not any Greek gods and goddesses. Just regular people on the street thinking of a hot lunch. Here are a few:
The other day at Sotheby’s billionaire playground, cubicle artist Banksy self-destructed his art as soon as it sold for a million dollars to an idiot. That crazy Banksy showing the world what art is and is not while he improves his brand tenfold and private planes still land in his plan. What a clever outlaw! To be made by the finance mob and then laugh at your makers, fooling them to impress those whom you think you were once like, long ago, as a younger man, when time did not exist, either for future peasant painters or deep-pocket dilettantes.
This photo is art and the person painting in the photo is an artist. Sothebys and Banksy are not art and artist.
I want to bundle up in my Salvation Army coat and walk beneath the gray skies of a Moscow autumn. I’ll stop across the river and have a smoke with Ulanova and Stepanov, and then a coffee somewhere, and a soup on the stove for dinner. We made some paintings and we talked about them, and other things.
Banksy and Sothebys are counterfeit. The Rupert Murdochs of art banking and media. Antithesis of art.