My aunt, when she first moved to New York City from Philadelphia landed a job at the Museum of Modern Art working for Alfred Barr. Over time, my aunt got to know pretty much everybody in the New York art scene. Consequently, my aunt was at one of many parties on a winter Saturday night on the upper Westside. It was a who’s who of the New York art scene. Around midnight Jackson Pollack walked in, alone and very drunk. He walked up to the fireplace, pulled down his pants and pissed on the logs until the fire went out. I wasn’t there, but based on what I have heard, the party stopped for a long pause. He then grabbed my aunt (then 21) and took her into a closet where he tried to seduce her. If I believe my aunt, she screamed at the top of her lungs and ran out of the closet with a falling Jackson Pollock behind her. I wonder if that stuff still happens?
When I was 16, I was visiting my uncle in Rhode Island where he had a summer home. My uncle was an established artist and knew just about everybody in the art world. I was 16 and didn’t really care a whole lot. My uncle always took me to all the great exhibitions in New York since I was a child, most of these people were his friends. We would go to MOMA, the Whitney, the Metropolitan and for me I just liked hanging out with my uncle. I learned a lot about history and art, but I had plans to do other things. Well, when I was visiting him at 16 and I was leaving to go back to the city, he asked me if I would deliver a package to a friend of his. I quickly replied that I would be happy to do that and asked for the address. Upon asking for the address, he quickly snapped at me, saying that I can only deliver the package if I knew who the recipient was. So, I asked who it was and he refused to tell me. Instead he spent an hour telling me that this was an important delivery to an important person and that if I was too ignorant to know who they were, there was no point in delivering the package. I still didn’t know who I was going to bring the package to. It took 5 years and a whole lot of debate to learn that the intended recipient was Fernand Leger a longtime friend of my uncle. It could have been so much simpler.