Sunday morning, I woke to the sounds of birds chirping, a cat clawing at the door, and my neighbors blasting salsa music and kicking a soccer ball across their front yard. For a second, I wondered what country I was in. The sun shone warm through the window. Outside, people were wearing shorts. Everyone, it seemed, had caught Spring Fever. So I did what any self-respecting person would do: I went back to bed for another hour.Upon waking, the bastards were still at it, so I threw on some clothes and made my way outside, eager to start the day. "I'll sweep my porch," I thought. Forty-five seconds later, I was looking for something else to do (my porch is rather small).
In the end, I decided on some exercise with purpose. I needed some new artwork and pictures for the hallway of my duplex, and I was also jonesin' to do a little record shopping. Luckily, the Charlotte Antique and Collectibles show was in town, and a few hours strolling around that place always leaves my legs sore.
Not long after I arrived, I found a treasure trove of old pictures from the 1920s, 30s and 40s, all of which featured a single individual alongside an animal of some sort — an elephant, a horse, a Great Dane. I brought them to the person manning the "booth" — it wasn't so much a booth as a bunch of boxes sitting on the ground — and he referred me to "Bobby," who was his "paper and periodicals expert." Bobby, clad in a Rusty Wallace shirt and the owner of one the best, un-ironic mullets I've seen in years, delicately fingered each picture, and made a point of carefully reading the watermark on the back of the paper.
"I'll take two for 'em," he said. "Two?" Two dollars? Two hundred? Bobby held up two fingers, as he must have done thousands of times in cheering on his man Rusty. "Deal," I said, and set about looking through some record albums. Some were sun-warped, but I did happen upon a box of fresh vinyl, which included a weird assortment of B-list Southern Rock artists. I took a handful back to the vendor, who carefully meted out a price of a dollar apiece. All, that is, except for Molly Hatchet's debut record. "Thatn's two," he said. "First record."
"Two much," I replied. Even ironic record-buying has its limits.
The always-reliable Jerald Melberg Gallery is currently hosting an exhibit entitled The Monoprint in Three Directions, a wonderful showing featuring Robert Motherwell (using inks), Romare Bearden (oil paint), and Wolf Kahn (water-soluble crayons).
The monoprint process goes like this: one paints an image onto a nonporous surface, and then transfers the image to paper by means of pressure. It is something of an improvisational art form, owing to the medium chosen, the pressure used, and loads of other factors. Kahn, Motherwell and (especially) Bearden seem completely at home in the style, and the exhibit, while small, is definitely worth checking out before it ends this Saturday.
Do not read this last sentence, as it contains no witty punch line nor moral truth.