Sunday, May 11, 2014


May 10, 2014
by Liza Béar
After watching mines explode and lovers find, lose, find each other in Lumiere d’Eté, one of Jean Gremillon’s great Occupation films, on the 17 inch Trinitron, I head to the Lodge Gallery, 131 Chrystie, which is deserted save for the French-speaking gallery manager, tres sympa. On the wall red dots punctuate the works by Peter Fend and Kiki Smith.
I pedal over to the Essex Market’s Cuchifritos
Gallery, deserted, except for the So. Korean
volunteer, also tres sympa. No one is preaching from
the Free Speech soapbox in the corner.
I shoot some frames of Julie Harrison’s Guatemala photo
installation and of Robert Rauschenberg’s handwritten letter
in support of the Loft Law, courtesy Becky Howland; I watch some
of Ann Messner and Laurie Arbeiter’s compilation tape of
food vendors on the side of a regulation food vendor truck.
As I am about to retrieve my bike and target Norfolk
Street, thunder roars and clouds break in torrential
rain, so I stay put and sample the rosemary and olive ice cream 
at a stand by the door, take a seat at a metal table and 
start to read an article on neighborly disagreements over affordable housing.

By the second paragraph, I realize that my camera 
and I have parted company.
I make a beeline for security.

Me: I think I left my camera upstairs.
Male security guard: Go ahead and look.
Me: (after climbing the stairs and looking).
Not there. Did anyone turn it in?
Male security guard: Nope. But there’s another security guard,
a female. She’s around here somewhere.

A trudge around the Essex Market yields no results, so
I return to the security desk. The male security guard
has vanished. Across the aisle, a fruit vendor is approachable.
Me: Would you mind perhaps please paging the lady security
guard ?
Fruit Vendor: (shaking her head) No, I can’t do that.
Me: But I didn’t find that lady!
Fruit vendor: (shrugs her shoulders)
I go  to the Security Desk  and lean over the counter.
An 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of white paper inscribed with widely spaced
handwritten words graces the shelf underneath.
“Camera found in ladies’ room at 3pm.”
I wave the paper at the fruit vendor triumphantly.
Fruit Vendor: (smiling) You see!
Returning the paper to where I found it, I crane my neck and peer
a little further down the shelf to where sheep may safely graze and
my camera is snugly resting.
The rain has stopped, but I can’t stop recounting
the anecdote to the kerbside man who watches me unlock my bike.
When I reach the gallery on Norfolk Street, the person
I was going to see is elsewhere: at the Frieze Art Fair on Roosevelt Island .
But an art world persona I recognize from Rauschenberg’s parties
on Lafayette Street in the 70s is emerging from a limousine.
Her assistant slams the door shut and guides her gently.
“What a gorgeous space, “ she says, high-stepping into the high-ceilinged gallery.
I happily agree with her.

To be continued.
(c) copyright Liza Béar 2014