Monday, April 19, 2010

What, exactly, is my legal responsibility to the Post Office?

My guess? Zero.

More to the point, consider this pallet that I found in a trashheap on 16th Street:

It measures 40" x 48" x 6". The nine indentations you see, which serve as "legs" of a sort, I suppose, are responsible for the six-inch depth of the thing.

You can see them better from this angle, as well as the strangely rosy glow of the thing:

I love that weird, beaded border. I think when I paint the painting (I suppose this would be a good time to inform you that I plan on using it as the "canvas" for a portrait), I'm gonna mask everything from the border out and just paint the inner rectangle.

I should also add that the thing is filthy.

I am proud to plant my flag in the continuum of painters who grabbed things from junkheaps and painted on them. The list is extensive and I'll spare you the details. Jean Michel Basquiat, for the record, used to steal pieces of molding and use them as stretchers for his paintings. He would just overlap the things, nail on the canvas and gesso the thing til it was of a piece.

This would be one of those:

Also consider, on a related note:

So enough with Basquiat (although it is worth noting that I wandered into a show in Chelsea--maybe one of the Pace galleries--and saw an amazing illustration of the relationship between him and Dubuffet, with some Rosenquist in the middle).

This Dubuffet is quite Basquiat-like, I think. I'm not sure why it's indented, but there it is regardless.

Anyway, the real question has to do with this bit of embossing:

It says something to the effect of: "The penalty for theft or misuse of postal property is punishable by blah, blah, blah..." At some point the words "$1,000 fine" and "3 years imprisonment" are mentioned--either of which certainly take the edge off the string cheese and vegetarian chili (with bacon) omelet I ate this morning.

But hey, I didn't steal the goddam thing. It was discarded, for all I know by the Post Office itself, and left to be picked up this morning by the guys who take away the cans and plastics. I mean, it's not my job to return stuff like this to the P.O. My job, as I understand it, is to make the world a more lovely, better understood place through the gift that is my talent.

At least that's gonna be my defense.

The thinking is to paint either this:

or this:

on this:

Most likely the latter. Both the photo and the pallet share the same rosy glow. What I can't quite figure out is how to deal with what will, no matter how I slice it, be a huge hole right in the middle of the face (the center indentation, above). One theory says I fill it in with crumpled up canvas or something. The other theory (which is currently in vogue with at least me) says paint the goddam thing and let the drips fall where they may.

Plus, and I don't mean to complain, but I wonder if the paint is even gonna stick to the thing. It's got a kind of greasy plastic feel to it. And because I like the tone of the surface I am less inclined to gesso first. I just want to have at the thing.

I'll keep you posted.


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