New York, New York

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Personal / Stories / pk by Age / Art Publisher /
@ K. 2008 08 24

Coming Home

Starting PK Fine Arts. Ltd around the summer of 1974 I was determined to cover as much of the country as an art wholesaler as possible by Christmas. In September I made a trip to Chicago, then to Boston. Fall was upon me and I still hadn’t started west. I’d told Gail Bruce I’d try to have her graphics on display in Lost Angeles in time for Christmas sales: how inexperienced I was! But I tried. I started south: Trenton, Philadelphia … DC, Virginia …
I’d had hints of autumn on the way back from Chicago in early September. The seasons were muted in Boston, as they are in any large city: I didn’t get any grand New England display of deciduous chromaticism, not that year. Autumn followed me south. Tennessee displayed darker colors, but still beautiful, rich. I struck out in Knoxville, got a check in Oak Ridge, got to Nashville in the middle of Vanderbilt football hysteria, all the galleries closed by Saturday noon: I pressed on through Arkansas to Dallas, Houston, Corpus Christie, San Antonio, El Paso, making little sales here and there, putting food in my stomach and gas in the tank, but certainly not paying the artists or making a profit. I found a customer or two in New Mexico and in Arizona. By the time I got to LA Christmas decorations had been up, galleries were selling, not buying. Still I made some key sales: especially Gail Bruces and Gatja Rothes and Ed Sokols: my main offerings.
I camped with Holly Hire, Gail’s sister, a casting director set up in business by Gail, the ex-model and film star, got taken to Hollywood holiday parties. My girlfriend spent Christmas day with her family in NYC, her husband probably showing up for a full five minutes, then going back to his sixteen year old mistress: disgusting, my poor dear Martha, and her poor wretched daughter, but then Martha flew to LA for New Year’s with me. We saw Hollywood together, Beverly Hills, then drove north, saw Big Sur, did business in San Francisco, made an important potential customer on Fisherman’s Warf. (I placed the Bruces, Martha was unveiling a big new Calder lithograph: a phony edition I feel sure.)

I put her on a plane home, poked around one or two more California galleries, but was champing to hit more cities west to east and get home in order to handle reorders from the customers I’d already found. I hit Salt Lake City, Denver … Got sick as hell in east Colorado and crept into Kansas City to sleep for a week. Made a bit of a sale there, and rushed back east: just touching at St Louis, Lexington …
Now: I’d always been a New York chauvinist. Hilary, my wife, was born in London and had traveled and traveled long before I met her when she was entering her junior year in college. A war child, she’d been all over Europe once it was over; I’d gotten where I wanted: NYC: and I stayed there. I didn’t understand my friends gadding off to Paris: Birdland is here, the Whitehorse Tavern is here. MOMA is here! Hip people, chicks … here!
By my early twenties I couldn’t breath, I desperately wanted virgin country. I moved to Maine to teach: polluted, dreadful, benighted. We toured the country: Canada west, San Francisco and back east. The great northwest was polluted, dreadful. My hopes for a clean, innocent world, where a little nature still existed, were crushed. But this late-1974, early-1975 crisscross of the country had allowed me to see for real what of course I’d assumed: that New York, whether or not it was the best city, was not the only city. I’d found things to like about all of the cities I’d visited. I’d become fond of some of the smaller ones: San Antonio with its underground downtown, restaurants floating on the underground river, all lit up for Christmas …
So: in a short time I’d grown much less inexperienced, and a bit more travelled. It was February by the time I was nearing New York and my home-office again. New Jersey — I needed no introductions there — was unavoidable. Ah, but suddenly, past three o’clock after midnight, I was perched on the Palisades, crossing the George Washington Bridge, and turning south onto the Henry Hudson Parkway.

I believe there is a rational order to the universe; except in certain parts of New Jersey.

Woody Allen

And there, spread before me, was Manhattan in night silhouette.
Man, oh man. And Houston, and Los Angeles, and San Francisco … were forgotten.

I’m home!

Unfortunately: my apartment hadn’t been cleaned since I left in October. My plants were all dead. But a couple of cactus I’d taken from the pass west of Tucson jumped back to life with just a little soil and water.

My wife had done what I’d asked: she’d deposited checks from the mail into the bank for me: but she hadn’t recorded who the checks were from! The business never fully recovered from the no-bookkeeping of its beginning. Hilary had made sure that everything else was 100% neglected. What the hell. I slept, amid the dust, and slept some more.

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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