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Waking up to New York, From New York Magazine

I love these vignettes of well known artists writing about their first experiences in New York.

Waking Up to New York

Mary Boone
Arrived: 1970

I remember that the first exhibition I was part of was by Chuck Close, and that he sat in my office during the opening listening to the World Series. That was at Klaus Kertess’s gallery, the Bykert gallery. Lynda Benglis, who was my teacher at Hunter College, said, “Oh, if you need a job, my boyfriend owns a gallery.” Because I thought I was gonna come here and work at a museum, but I did that, and it really seemed so lifeless.

Klaus closed the gallery after ten years because it was getting to be too successful! He said it was too much of a business. It’s so different now. In the early days I remember Brice Marden had seven one-person shows and never sold a painting. Even when I showed Julian Schnabel, it took me two years to sell the first painting.

Julian was the first artist to leave my gallery, and I was heartbroken. It was like the spring of 1984, and I was sitting in my office, crying. In his explanation at the time—you know, it’s like anything, probably things change with the telling every time. But in those days, what he said was that he wanted to be separated. He said, “How many artists do you have in the Carnegie International?” And it was basically the whole gallery. And he said, “Well, if I go to Pace, I’m the only artist from that gallery in the Carnegie.” He wanted a kind of separateness from me, but also from his generation. He wanted to be seen as an individual. We’re still good friends; I think he’s a fantastic filmmaker. I also have a different perception of this, because I think that life is about shared experiences, and if you have an experience with an artist, you never lose that. It’s like if you’re married and you have a child with somebody, you’re never, ever really separated. And the child is the art. So anyway, I was sitting in my office crying, and Jean-Michel Basquiat comes in. And he was so sweet! He was so upset I was sitting there crying. He put his arms around me and he said, “Mary, don’t worry. I’m gonna be much more famous than Julian.” And then he walked out, and he came back in with a huge watermelon, which he plunked on my desk, and we ate.

Lauren Hutton, actress
Arrived: 1964

I came to New York for two things: to get to Africa and to find LSD. In those days it was legal. You could get it from this Swiss chemical company, and I met six guys who were very willing to give it to me. But I didn’t like any of them enough to take it, so it took me a few months. As for Africa, I was supposed to meet a friend in New York, and we were going to take a tramp steamer to Tangier. It was going to cost $140. Once I got there, my plan was to take a bus for ten cents to the outskirts of town and see elephants and rhinoceroses and giraffes. I was as ignorant as a telephone pole.

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April 23rd, 2009

Comments:

Comment #1 by Super Amanda on April 23, 2009 - 3:41pm

Hi Rebecca, Greetings from the Apple store on The Strand in London on St. George's day. this was a holiday that the BNP attempted to hijack but all the colors of the rainbow are celebrating around the giant lions in Trafalgar today. Thinking of you, love Amanda

Comment #2 by Peter on August 9, 2009 - 9:28am

Sorry to hear about the BNP screwing with you day in the UK.Unfortunately they are here to stay in the UK,they have easy targets.Such a shame

Comment #3 by Ryan on August 20, 2010 - 12:41am

Sounds like you have had an eventful journey over the past years! There is some great content on this blog, you have done a great job - keep it up!:D

Comment #4 by Ivaneide on July 1, 2015 - 10:11pm

You hold special pleacs in our hearts too, more than we can ever show! Just look at these four, they love doing this with you! You have captured and saved a moment in time, one we will have forever! They grow and change so fast, but having these to look back on, will always keep this time in our lives close to our hearts!!!! We love you!!!!!!

Comment #5 by sabir on October 22, 2016 - 4:30pm

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