The Art Dealer

Jan 21 2012

The Art Dealer despised nothing more than to find himself a victim of some or other local craft fair. Urban or suburban these events were all alike, with their trestle tables laid out in imitation of value, proudly creaking under all of the hokey creativity of the stifled housewife or the desperate schoolteacher. But as there appeared to be no escape from such symptoms of cultural poverty and dereliction, one inevitably discovering onesself to be once again in the very midst of it all, it seemed that there must be no solution but to submit to the exhausted rituals of such affairs with all possible dignity. And deep within, The Art Dealer flattered himself with the fantasy that he might find himself The Discoverer of The Next Big Thing. A moment of Eternity! is all we are looking for; and after all, even when nothing else remains, always remains hope.

And today it tentatively seemed possible that he may have come upon such a Big Discovery. Ranged along one side of an immaculately maintained mobile home (so antique as to suggest the absence of horses) were displayed a series of oils. All represented the usual subjects that might be expected – still life, landscape, portrait – there was even a nude! but they seemed to draw the eye inward, closer and closer, as though by a vacuum, until a sort of terrifying abstraction could be determined in the delineations of the medium – perhaps some suggestion of – yes; yes; – the ravenous infinite – which resonated outward through the composition, and projected its tendrils even beyond the canvas. And yet, at the crucial moment the forces expressed appeared to hold back, and to do so in a manner which might only be described as – yes; coy.

With some sense of urgency – an insistently rising irrepressible excitement – The Art Dealer hurried around the other side of the van, where he discovered a person in a rocker by the trailer door. This person, unremarkable person, tidily and unfashionably well presented, gazing into the horizon over the ocean, turned towards him its blank empty stare in its bland female face framed with its dully clean hair. “These are your works?” he demanded. “My works,” she replied flatly, inconclusively, with no change in demeanor.

“But there must be more!” he cried, without knowing what he was saying. And almost imperceptibly it was as though a veil was drawn aside from over the artist’s eyes, and something surprising could be apprehended emerging from within.

(For he is handsome, our Art Dealer; growing older now but with threads of silver in his iron grey hair, with his creamy skin, and muscles that have retained all of their youthful power as though through sheer force of will. Or at least I think he’s handsome, at least today, as I am feeling an unusual fragility, a sentimentality, a vulnerability to attacks of tears which sometimes comes over me.)

And within these humble artistic eyes there appeared from concealment some electrical spark of Knowledge which ignited The Art Dealer’s nerves and coursed to his heart. Her posture relaxed almost imperceptibly, and a selection of almost imperceptible muscles twitched in the suggestion of a smile. “Those are nothing,” she said, “Child’s scribbles. You should see my real work.”

“Your Real Work? Yes!” he all but shouted, “I would dearly love to see It!”

“To see it?” she all but teased.

“Show Me It!” he shrieked. Demanded. Unreservedly.

For a moment she was silent, as though in consideration of some matter, as though in assessment, as though in judgment. And then, without ceremony, “Well come on in,” she said, and opened her trailer door. And he danced up the steps, eager for what was within. and a black hole sucked him in

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