Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Vignettes from Vermont: Zen and The Art of Changing Lightbulbs On 1929 Chandeliers

How many art gallery owners does it take to change a lightbulb?
(Art Gallery Dude photo)

BENNINGTON -- Art Gallery Dude has taken some funny photos over the years, but that which you see above is one of the best.

Sitting on the couch are artists Chris Smith and Brian Hewitt. Standing on an 83-year-old marble-top counter behind them is Fiddlehead owner Joel Lentzner, changing lightbulbs in one of the gallery's chandeliers. Crouching in front of Chris, Brian and Joel with a camera is Art Gallery Dude thinking "How in the fuck did this situation come to be?"

Like this ...

Last night the gallery phone rings at 5 o'clock. AGD is about to lock up and considers letting the machine answer but decides to pick it up instead. On the other end is a man from West Rupert, Vermont, a pebble-sized patch of farmland in the northern stretches of Bennington County. West Rupert's population is 700. Read more HERE.

So this man inquires when Fiddlehead will open today because he really wants to see Brian Hewitt's oil paintings after reading a story in the Vermont News Guide. AGD has promoted Brian's work but doesn't remember contacting the Vermont News Guide.

Chris showed up at 9 o'clock this morning with this ...

... AGD doesn't eyeball the page at first because he calls Brian to make sure he was on the way to the gallery. Then AGD looks at the photo beneath the words and realizes "Wait, I took that photo." Then he reads the words and realizes "I wrote those words -- how did the Vermont News Guide get this?"

Turns out the words were part of a recent email that AGD blasted to 200 prominent members of the area as a way to invite them to the gallery to 1) appreciate Brian's paintings and 2) explain how Fiddlehead is trying to put together an art gala to showcase the works of Hewitt, North Bennington's Stella Ehrich and Old Bennington's Jimmy Ong.

That's why AGD was surprised to see his email printed word for word above a picture of "Carriage Barn," one of the two new pieces in Hewitt's Park McCullough House series. Not that he's complaining because here's the ensuing chain of events:

AGD blasts an email to influentials. Vermont News Guide is one of them and turns the email into a story for the latest issue. Artist from West Rupert reads that story and wants to check out Hewitt's work. So artist calls Fiddlehead at Four Corners in downtown Bennington. Art Gallery Dude then calls Brian to tell him to show up in the morning to meet this artist, whose name is Chris Smith and who sounds just like actor James Spader. 

And all of that led to this blog entry with a photo of Fiddlehead's owner changing bulbs in a chandelier. You couldn't map out that sequence ahead of time if you tried.

The only thing planned for the gallery today was a Google Virtual Tour photo shoot. It took place after Chris and Brian met. AGD covered the shoot and will write about it tomorrow.

Chris and Brian chit-chatted about art on the mezzanine that features Brian's works. If you're not familiar with Brian Hewitt's unique arc from successful newspaper and magazine advertising director to world-class artist, click HERE and HERE.

Chris moved to West Rupert 7 years ago from Ridgefield, Connecticut. Fiddlehead management checked out his oil paintings and linocuts (HERE) and decided to give him a call to see if he wants to consign his work in the gallery. UPDATE: Chris called and said he'd love to sell his wares at Fiddlehead. They will be on display starting next week. 

And that's the way a go-getter goes and gets.

Here are photos (click to embiggen) and a video of Chris and Brian talking art ...

General chit-chat between Chris (left) and Brian

"Red Silo" is one of the first pieces Brian painted in 2008

Looking at Brian's "Rupert House"

"Greenhouse" is part of the Park McCullough House series

"North Bennington Main Street 1929"

Chris shows Brian his part of his portfolio

A few of his linocuts

Chris Smith's gallery can be found HERE

Back on the mezzanine showcasing Brian's work