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Saturday 7 January 2012

My First Exhibition

I had an exhibition once,
a hundred years ago
before the advent of the coffee bar
in a palace of a place
art deco on four floors,
a Lyons Corner House.

In perfect truth,
I shared the exhibition:
saw my babies
hung between the tables
("among some porcelain",
as Eliot might have said)
close by the chandeliers
between the longer term incumbents:
lithographs and reproductions -
names I loved and feared.

Amongst the Sutherlands, Man Rays
and Mintons - giants of the day?
My little ragamuffins in amongst those
grand celebrities? How could they make their way?
How did I get that stupid?
Words like "hiding" and "to nothing" came to mind.

I don't know how much tea I drank
in vain attempts to eavesdrop
what chat there was about my work.
Not a lot was being said.
Nothing for a gallon and a half.
Then "Orange Nude" caught someone's eye
who thought it was "The brightest, not the best!"
"Sandy Beach" fared rather better: "I can feel,"
a lady said through apple pie,
"what it was like to be there on that beach -
the colours tell me all I need to know.
Not so "Grey Man in Moonlight": "Cannot stand
Americans - especially Picasso!"


Cloudia said...

Such is the value of most comments, Dave.

As the museum guard told the frowning woman before the masterpiece:

"These pictures are not here to be judged, madam; YOU are!"

Lovely work as usual, sir

Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >


Christine said...


haricot said...

Hmm, maybe some artists feel like to be nude when they exhibit their arts,,, and never content with any compliment and prefer to be criticised as being eccentric.

kaykuala said...

The Corner House, a good reference! Just shows how much eating habits can change the structure of businesses. Steak-houses, fast food outlets tended to make eating as an act to fulfill rather than a formal outcome to enjoy at a leisurely pace.


Monika said...

I really wonder sometimes if the spectator views the art the same way as the artist does, while making it, while exhibiting it. But certainly compliments do no harm!
So wonderful write it is, creating a vivid image out of many- moments, as I say.

Jim Murdoch said...

That’s the thing, Dave. Composers can sit in the audience and filmmakers and playwrights and, as you say, artists can lurk in the background but we poor writers rarely get to sit and watch someone’s reaction as they read and if we do it’s generally our spouses. I’m terrible. I watch her like a hawk when she’s reading a new book but then she’s not one for stroking my ego. When she finished Left all I got was, “It’s good.” And when I pressed her for compliments her response was something along the lines of, “What do you want me to tell you? You know it’s good. You wouldn’t have given me it to read if it wasn’t good.” Tough room my wife.

jabblog said...

I can imagine the sense of anticipation mixed with dread as you eavesdropped. Lyons Corner House, though - that takes me back to my childhood and my sister taking me there for a treat.

Titus said...

My mother's greatest treat, before her father left forever, was being taken to the Lyons Oxford Corner House.

And yes, talking of Michelangelo...

David Cranmer said...

So much in this one, Dave.

Brian Miller said...

ha, it is intersting creating because at some point you have to release it to the wind and let others tell you what they think...that is when you no longer own the art...

Mary said...

I am impressed that you had art IN an exhibit at all. Just to have made it there would be an ego stroke! But I can understand that gallon and a half of tea... I think I could float away though with the comment "I can feel..." I'd mark this poem as a favorite of the poems you've written recently! (And I don't even see you lurking in the background when I say that. LOL.)

Elizabeth Grimes said...

Oh, the insecurities that come out when otter people offer their opinions. I can relate!

Helen said...

Oh how I would have enjoyed your exhibition!! It would have been 'thumbs up' for certain!

Rohit_blogger at http://floating-expressions.blogspot.in/ said...

Amazing read.I loved poems that tell stories too and if that's a real-life poet's experience..its's an absolute delight!Very well narrated.. rhythmic and intriguing..felt like I was myself watching your art-work..as if it was a stroll to the art-palace with a mug of tea in hand!!

Windsmoke. said...

Very enjoyable and rhythmic :-).

BragonDorn said...

I loved this and I am going to send it to my brother as well :)

ds said...

What a wonderful and at the same time terrible experience for you. Love what you've made from it (smiles, smiles), and I doubt your works were "ragamuffins."

Dave King said...

Great come back. Hadn't heard that one. Spot on. Thanks.

Thanks for the visit. Good to have you calling.

t's always great to get compliments. of course, but only sincere ones help the art along. I would have thought that most would like an honest assessment.

Yes, I think you've summed up the change to perfection. Thanks.

Thank you very much for those thoughts. I'm inclined to agree. At art school we used to argue about who was best placed to judge a work of art, the artist or the art lover. The artist because only he knew what he had tried to do, and therefore whether he had been successful. The spectator because he brought fresh eyes - or ears - to it and maybe saw things there the artist had not even suspected.

Yes, you're absolutely right, though I must admit I'd not thought of it that way before. It is so much more difficult for the creators of some art forms to get feedback than for others. And it is necessary to consider the level of understanding of the one who judges. Readers, listeners, spectators bring different levels of understanding to a work - and maybe jointly discover different levels in the work.
My experience has been not unlike yours!

I think it was when I first discovered the benefits of tea!

Yes, I took an early girl friend there, I remember.

Most of what is there for me is happy memories! Thanks for the thought.

W. S. Graham ("What are the words using us for?"), not a very fashionable poet, I admit, has a whole body of work devoted to this very aspect.

A lovely comment to have made. Thank you for it.

A very warm welcome to you, and many thanks for the observation - which fits very well with my experience!

Thank you so much for that vote of confidence!

As marvellous a review as any art-maker could wish for. It is very much appreciated. Thank you for it.

Thanks so much.

Bragon Dorn
Much thanks for the compliment. Hope your brother likes it!

Thanks for that. I think they lacked a certain polish - no, I'm sure they did!

Ygraine said...

I so wish I could have been there at your exhibition.
How I relate to the uncertainty you felt whilst waiting to hear those opinions expressed!
To me, works of art are projections of the Soul, so it is only natural to hope for positive responses.
I am moved.