THE NEW COLLECTORS
Sitting in the back of the shul, hens clucking softly, the occasional rooster squawking and chasing a lone hen across the floor, the smell of feed and shit up my nostrils, I've been spending my time reading. I finished AS I LAY DYING by Faulkner and am well into WISE BLOOD (again) by Flannery O'connor. Gritty Southern lit. seems to fit perfectly in my fly swatting, cooler on the floor, pistol in my pocket, back room. These days I find it hard to read. The TV, computer, internet addiction all seem to get in the way of my concentration. But at the shul there's none of these distractions. I don't have a cell phone and there's no electricity. So between spacing out, picking up the guitar once and a while, the occasional patron asking questions....I read.
My demographic is all local- 4H (Homeys, Hassidic, Hispanic and Hillbillies). My homeys that showed up for the opening have not been back since, to pick up their adopted birds. Be forewarned- if you do not come to pick up your chicken she will be dropped off at your door. I have your names and know where you live. But the other 3 H's have been in full effect. Of course my clientele has been over whelmingly Hassidic and Orthodox. But amongst them are the rough trade poor white, and the hardworking Black and Hispanic. Put out a FREE sign and what do you expect? These are my collectors. Some get it right away. A free chicken? Thanks or no thanks. But then I start to flesh out the piece. "No it's not a chicken coop. It's an art work." Puzzled looks. "Look here." I say, sliding the adoption certificate across the desk. "With your chicken you get a stamped cardboard carrier, and a signed and numbered certificate of adoption. It is a limited multiple that you get for free. You just have to deal with your chicken in order to get it." I might as well be explaining it to the chickens.
Don't think I'm being superior or talking down to my audience. I have so much more respect for them than I do for almost any level of the art world. At least these guys are showing up. The art world is the very definition of myopic- festive decorations but no food for hungry guests. They are so involved in gazing at their own belly buttons that they miss anything that doesn't have the corporate stamp of approval. Here I am giving away a sweet little multiple. And all you have to do is deal with the fact that you have to kill your own chicken dinner. You'd think those blood thirsty billionaire collectors would be down. Instead my collectors are hard working, hungry and more than happy to wring a chicken's neck and toss it in the pot. Lets hope they don't just toss that certificate. When me and that chicken are long gone, it just may be worth something.