After the year is over


I was 22 when I met my first curator, he was a Dutchman who worked at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. I met him in Chicago where he was the director of the new contemporary museum which was searching for a building. He bought a piece from me, actually the pick of the litter. I learned early that these curators have an eye. He got the piece cheap, who hasn't got something from me cheap? Other artists had seen the piece which I guess was hung in the bathroom so much for the eternal survival of that one. The next curator I met was A.James Speyer he was the chief curator at the Art Institute of Chicago. He was old but very smart, I was complaining about how a piece I had in the Vicinity show how the piece was hung, I did'nt realize how small the piece was until I saw it in the museum galleries. Museums are big.Speyer was very consoling, it was kinda like a therapist, he's letting you bitch and he listens. Speyer was responsible for the extraordinary collections of modernism and contemporary art. Very few museums can match those collections and in particular the surrealist and dada art. Since I left Chicago in 1967 the collections have gotten better and better as the institution has grown and more eyes are onboard searching for things to keep. In California I met Peter Saul an artist who had fascinated me for some time.He was very helpful in helping me understand the labyrinth of the art world. Peter talked in this rapid fire critical style which was his way of warning me about the pitfalls ahead. I got the impression from Peter that the art world was a pretty twisted place. And that the people were not very ethical, I mean it's obvious that the art world is as much of a zoo as the rest of the world is.