“Mom–Look at the Boid!”
“It’s not a ‘boid,’ son, it’s a BIRD.”
“But Ma…it choips like a boid!”
– Overheard in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.
My pal, Tony Judge, is an avid birder; a bird watcher. He is serious. He has traveled to Iceland to see birds the rest of us will never see. He recently bunked at my place for a while and nailed up a bird-feeder to my back porch. I will forever be grateful for this. Every morning, the congregation of starlings, cardinals, purple house finches, and all varieties of sparrows adds color and light and music to my day. I often tell people that my version of retirement will be making bird pictures–birds and naked women. Probably mostly birds since they’re less trouble. I’ll let the pointy-heads and the MFA’s worry about being “relevant.” The theory geeks can wait tables, wear trucker-hats, drink shitty beer and think great thoughts. I’ll draw birds and naked brunettes and be happy doing so.
I did go to an opening last night that I liked; a group show at Zolla-Leiberman Gallery that was unexpected in its humor and ferocity. A good bunch of young artists put on a show worth seeing. I bought a couple of things by young artists I’d never heard of and was really happy to see a rebellious, funny and fierce show in this town.
I also recently got another piece by Duncan Robert Anderson–who is not a kid–he is in his early 40’s and has been making art for a long time. His work is informed by funny, other-worldly, sci-fi touches and found objects as well as hand-made things that I really like. They are poignant, absurd, human, and geeky in the best way. Duncan loves Star Wars and King Arthur-type stuff I find unfathomable but it is his lingua-franca and in his work it really works. He is an odd creature for Chicago. He is from east Tennessee, and is a for real, no-shit, Southern gentleman. It’s not an act. He refers to my house keeper as “Miss Claire,” even though she is half his age. He is unfailingly polite and a genuinely good guy. He works at the MCA and the next piece he installs there ought to be one of his own. I have two of his things and can’t wait to get another. He is the goods. What is exciting in Chicago right now is that right around the periphery there are a bunch of wonderful artists. I’ve bought 30 pieces by young Chicago artists in the last year and I feel like I’ve scored. I don’t have a lot of money and for what I’ve spent, I feel really fortunate.
My pal, Ton hy came in my studio one day really amped. I thought he’d won the lotto. He told me, “At the feeder, we got purple house finches. I just saw’em. . .purple house finches.” Every day since then Ive been grateful for that feeder. I sit there in the morning, wearing my nicotine patch, gnawing on my tooth-picks and drinking my coffee and I watch them and listen to them.