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Peeks and Piques! Reminders of a Special Time

By Raymond J. Steiner
ART TIMES Fall 2014

A WHILE BACK an art dealer/gallery owner — and good friend — was walking through my home, taking in my wall-to-wall "art collection" which I have been accumulating over the past 35 years or so, many of them gifts (I refer to them as "retaliations") from artists I've written about; some "trades"; some purchases; each one from a personal connection I've shared with an artist who chose to grace my walls (space, incidentally, that we are soon running out of with downstairs, upstairs, halls, foyers, and even bathrooms...the 'chosen' spot since you have a captive audience!..jammed side-by-side with paintings, prints, pastels, etc., that keep coming rich I am to be thusly surrounded!). Anyway, at the end of his promenade through my house, my friend/guest turned to me and said, "You have a lot of sh-t on your walls, Ray." Well, my friend was a dealer in 'modern' — mostly "pop" — art, so I knew what he was getting at — there is a noticeable...very noticeable...dearth of self-styled 'cutting edge' "art" displayed in my home, and, that I admit, is by choice since everyone who ever picks up art times knows of my conservative biases by now. Hardly surprising, then, that my 'living space' is filled with art that comes from artists that I have befriended, wrote about, or emulated... artists that have generally hewed to the 'classical', traditional representational, style. I gave my friend the benefit of the doubt, however, and let his remark pass as just one more attempt by a host of 'experts' that have been attempting to broaden my horizons over the years. Still, the adjective kind of stung a bit when I followed his meandering and considered each individual "piece of sh-it" after his departure. To me, they were physical reminders of a special time — an hour or so in a studio sharing an artist's intimate thoughts, a 'buddy' who shared a beer now and then or a pleasant "Walk 'n Talk'.....or simply a person I met whose work I really appreciated. Each "piece of sh-t" holds a personal memory, a personal bond... (and with the exception of those who have passed away...and over the past 35 years of writing about artists there are all too many) still hanging there, ready and waiting for the moment to be shared and the memory re-visited when they come to visit me.

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