A while back, at a very crowded opening in our Bethesda gallery, one of the persons in attendance was this huge man, dressed like Neo from the Matrix movies (all in black in some kind of Father Sarducci leather outfit). Long hair and a huge Satanic ornament around his neck-chain completed the costume, although with this dude, you could tell that he dressed like that normally.
Anyhoooo... As this Neo-wannabe is swishing around his huge six foot five frame in his leather skirts; drinking our Sangria from one end of the gallery to the other, he knocks down a small framed piece under glass.
It hits the floor, and because it's fairly small, the glass doesn't shatter. Neo-wannabe attempts to re-hang it as I approach him.
"That's OK," I say, "I'll take care of it," and as I re-hang it, I notice that the glass is chipped in one corner. No big deal, the art is OK, and after all, it was an accident. I wave off to the alarmed artist, who is on the other side of the gallery, but has noticed that her work was in harm's way.
Neo sees me notice the broken glass and says: "The glass was already broken."
I turn around, look up to his face, and say: "No sir, I framed these myself yesterday, and the glass was not broken, it just broke when it fell; that's OK we'll replace the glass."
Neo says: "No man, the glass was already broken."
I breathe deeply, trying to control the Brooklyn streets side of me. "The glass was not broken... all you had to say was 'I am sorry.'"
"No way!" says Neo, "the glass was already broken," and he starts to walk away.
I grab his leathered arm, and say to him: "Get out of my gallery."
He turns and looks at me a bit confused. "Get out of my gallery," I say again.
"Look man, OK, I am sorry," he mutters.
"Get out of my gallery," I say a little louder, and people are now nervously noticing the confrontation. He starts to walk away towards the door, as he gets by the front desk, he actually turns around and offers me his hand. "No hard feelings," he says.
Brooklyn is barely under control now, raging in my chest and scratching and itching to get out. Catriona Fraser, behind the desk, looks incredibly alarmed. "Please get out," I growl to Neo, "you don't know how close you are to an ass kicking."
He swishes out. I turn around to face our opening crowd of white-faced, silent art lovers, and try to find the place inside me to again try to sell some art.
Another day in the life of an art dealer.
Friday, July 08, 2005