What a miraculous day and evening yesterday. We woke with the excitement and opportunistic intrigue of small children on the first day of school and ended the day laughing at the unbelievable course that the day presented to us. Truly a comical error of a day. It was if our lives were temporarily transformed into a horror movie.
Starting with a snow-filled morning… It wasn’t just snowing a little, it was a massive storm of we flakes. Not exactly the most conducive Enviroment for transporting work. The ride into the city was uneventful, but massively gorgeous with the trees coated with layers, upon layers of white fluff. We were full of anticipation, excitement and opportunity, riding on a high that you only get from the unknown.
We ended up in the city at the Hotel, just as we needed to be there. Kurt parked around the corner and went to go sort out the details of valet / parking so we could safely get his work in without the concern of the wetness and snow. Apparently the hotel didn’t know we were coming and couldn’t get a hold of anyone from the organization we were working with to verify, so we were unable to park at the hotel. We were left shuffling the work in and just leaving it. STRIKE #1.
We got to the hotel and checked in. By this time it was 1:45pm and I had a 2pm conference call. Kurt left to go to the Armory Show and I took my call which was less than enthusiastic or promising. STRIKE #2. I was done around 3pm and headed out to get lunch. I was so hungry. I found a vegan restaurant down the street and sat down. Thrilled to be in a place. Kurt texted me and said that he had just gotten to the show, so it had taken him about an hour to get there drudging through the snow. Yikes. STRIKE #3.
The restaurant, after sitting down, alerted me that the kitchen was closed from 3-4pm. It was 3:15. But tea was available. STRIKE #4. I suppose I could have run out the door and gone to another restaurant, but honestly I was so tired of roaming around in the snow and rain that I didn’t want to go anywhere. I waited until 4pm to order and 4:15 to grab my food and choke it down. I was out the door by 4:25 and off to the races to get back to the hotel by 4:30 to meet Kurt so we wouldn’t be late to his opening at 5pm.
I get back to the room and how lovely, the key doesn’t work. STRIKE #5. Awesome. I ran downstairs and the conceirge gave me another key which took eons because of the silly British man in front of me who wanted a detailed report of everything he had spent over the last week. He wasn’t even checking out… he just wanted to go through it ad nauseum. STRIKE #6. So, I head up and get to my room and it doesn’t work again. STRIKE #7. The conceirge had said if there was an issue to use the phone next to the elevator and someone would help me. I picked it up, it dialed the receptionist and it was like she worked for a different hotel. She had no idea what I was talking about. STRIKE #8. Kurt by now had just gotten back and was coming through the elevator. He heard me on the phone and turned around and went downstairs to sort it out. I waited. He came back up 5 minutes later (it was now 4:45pm) and he tried the new key. It didn’t work again. STRIKE #9. He had saved his other key and he tried that… it worked. Thank goodness.
We gathered our things quickly, changed and headed out for the night. We get outside and asked for a taxi and waited 10 minutes. No dice. STRIKE #10. So, we began our walk. It was now 5:05 and the show started at 5. No stress on either of our part because at this point it was just too comical for words. What a day. We headed up to the Flatiron which was roughly 12 blocks away (about a mile) and got there around 5:30. I’m slow.
Walking in there wasn’t a sign anywhere. We waited at the elevator with the button pushed, but it seemed to never come. 10 minutes later it showed up and a disgusting number of us piled into it. The elevator stopped off in the basement first (we were due to show in the Penthouse) and three workers got on. I guess they recognized that we had the PH button pushed and they said that this particular elevator doesn’t go there. We would have to get off at the Mezzanine level and transfer to the other elevator. Great. STRIKE #11. What was funny was that there was a very short staircase up to the Mezzanine level from the entrance, so we could have all avoided this 13 minute excursion. We get off at the Mezzanine level and there is a coat check lady there. She tells us that it is mandatory and $5/coat. We said that we were in the show and A. she didn’t understand us because she was French and B. she certainly didn’t care. STRIKE #12.
While waiting for the new elevator, we peeked around the Mezzanine’s very large fish tank and in the corner is a table set up with admission tickets for the event. Way to put it front and center. There is a very young boy with a hat on and a sleeveless shirt. He introduces himself to us as the guy who we have been dealing with throughout this mess and you can imagine that Kurt’s blood pressure was about to sky rocket. Lucky news that we were able jump on the elevator just in time before he said something terrible.
The door opening and it was like we were entering a mini dollhouse. I would say it was roughly 300 sq ft of space with mostly windows. Kurt’s work was front and center in the middle of the windows with great presence. It was a shocking disappointment to say the least STRIKE #13. The work that was there felt like a smattering of a high school show. Complete with a variety of mislabeled pieces. STRIKE #14. And the evening droned on. People came in and out throughout the evening. There was quite a good turn out, but most seemed to be friends of the guy who was running the show and were certainly not interested art buyers or collectors. Kurt had some interesting conversations with some random Frenchmen. It kind of felt like they were there to support their country and less to support the arts. I had a blinding experience with the overwhelmingly white environment and crazy bright lighting.
By 7:3o I had totally had enough. I went down to the Mezzanine and Kurt followed so we could get something to eat. Apparently there was to be food at the event, but there wasn’t. We walked down to the restaurant on the 1st floor out of instructions from the folks at the bar on the Mezzanine level. We get down there and yet again it is an overcrowded disorganized mess. We can’t find a place to sit and when we ask the hostess, she sends us back upstairs. STRIKE #15. (Yikes… I am running out of numbers!) There is no place to sit, so we stand and wait while they haphazardly pull together a couch of some kind. It is all IKEA outdoor furniture. It was insane to watch these people maneuver and worked the space. There was a whole group of people set up with masks and fancy dress clothes… mostly asian. It was surreal. The lighting was purple with dark splashes in the corners and the house-band was playing a terrible set of 90s songs, but with a sort of new age twist.
We eventually order something off the menu 10 minutes later and then decide that Kurt should go back upstairs and make sure he is there while I wait for the food. He heads up.
15 minutes later the food comes and just as I sit down to eat, a flood of people come out of the elevator. And then another flood. Kurt is amongst the second group and he said that the event had gotten shut down. It was nearly 8pm and was due to conclude at 11pm. We were both slightly shell shocked and Kurt came and sat down and said that there was a fight between the manager of the hotel (who by the way was a man who was beautifully dressed all in white and toted around a small dog under his arm… certainly a hilarious sight – which only could happen NYC) and the strange masked people were due to be there at 8pm so we had to vacate. Huh? STRIKE #16.
Just then another artist came by and she said that she was going to pick up her artwork to make sure that she had it. Obviously we knew that we didn’t have a car and were going to have to tote it around in the snow, but at least it would be in our possession. Kurt went back up to get it. Apparently it was all off the walls and the guy that we were dealing with was carrying around Kurt’s work up on the Penthouse. He grabbed it, of course, and then brought it back down. There was no place to put it, so we moved our lawn furniture from the wall and placed it behind our IKEA couch. We sat and ate in peace as people ran around like mad people. Eventually one of the organizers came by and asked if we were still mad. What a strange entry-way to a conversation. She said that there had been an email sent around that stated that we were to take our work at the end of the night (what we had said the next morning) and that this was exactly when the event was to end. Certainly that was not our understanding. STRIKE #17. She was perfectly nice to us in her lovely French accent, but it left quite a bad taste in our mouth about the disorganization and general way it all came off.
We finished without conversation from the organizer or any discussion, left the event with our work and got into an SUV taxi. This is where it gets interesting. 🙂 I sat up front and Kurt was smooshed in the back with all his work. Clearly I couldn’t have sucked it in if I tried in my pregnant state. He starts in about his injuries and how hard things have been with his planters factitious. I guess it wouldn’t have been so bad, but he kept going on and on and on in such detail that he missed the turn for our hotel. Then when he helped us out of the taxi, he actually got out of the cab to show me his shoes and how he had determined that they were part of the problem with their big tongues. “Why do shoe companies have to make tongues that are so large?” He asked us. Insanity. STRIKE #18.
We got the work in the room safely and then headed out for the rest of the evening to various shows to make sure that we got our fix for the art events going on and networked where we could. Nothing else went wrong and we were home, in bed and lights out by 11:30 to our hotel. Great night sleep and a brilliant Saturday and Sunday to follow. Honestly, we couldn’t have been prepared for Friday’s events if we tried. You know those days where you wake up and everything is stressful and goes wrong? It was simply one of those days. Not much any of us could have done about it. I don’t hold anyone or anything accountable. It was certainly an experience.