By JAMES SALOMON May, 2021
We've all experienced the One that got away at some point in our lives.
Back in 1994 I was 19 years old and traveling alone in Australia, I stumbled across an art exhibit in an old airplane hangar in Byron Bay. There, I stood in front of a dark black and white painting of a tightrope walker in a village square, it was from the performer's perspective. I've been chasing that image my whole life. I wish I could somehow find that painting (believe me, I've tried), but it's gone.
A few years ago, I thought I had a bright idea of putting together an MFA Fair. I called up an old friend Max Fishko who immediately came on board and we gave it a college try, so to speak. What started out as an earnest and worthwhile project wound up getting snuffed out before it happened, for reasons that I shouldn't get into. But it's gone. It sent me into a deep dark funk for a little while, but I crept out of it. Failures build character, if you can learn from them.
In our marketing campaign, Adam Abdalla, a PR wizard, set us up with a WSJ article on a moment's notice. I dropped what I was doing, put on a jacket and hauled my ass over to the New York Academy in Tribeca.
A photographer was on the way so Peter Drake at NYAA quickly showed me around to see where we could set up. I came across Anna's cubicle studio, which stopped me in my tracks. Memories of that dark painting in Australia come flooding into me. I'm also looking at Cecily Brown, Francis Bacon, everything I love about Scott Hunt and Trevor Guthrie's charcoals... all in Anna's very distinctive voice.
I said "Peter, THIS is EXACTLY what I want to represent the Fair!" We ran around the building looking for her. 10 minutes later we were all hamming it up for the camera.
Well, the fair idea is gone, we've all moved on, and Anna has taken flight (to no surprise). I'm proud of her though she doesn't even know me. I should have played more heads up that day and asked about acquiring a drawing since I was so moved by them. Another one got away.
I often think of her work as chaos creeps in.
Let it go. WM