It drew a huge crowd. The gallery owner said this was the largest attendance he's had for a show. It was Opening Night for an exhibit of Art Shay photos. This was new and different, the first time for his color photos. He is represented in two galleries with his black and whites but he always felt the color pictures deserved an audience too, and The Thomas Masters Gallery here in Chicago agreed absolutely. I mean, a photo of JFK talking to a Native American in full regalia needs every nuance of color that is flaunted here. (It had the red dot – Sold.)
I had seen all these pictures way back when they were merely little color slides so I let the attendees get close up to view all 90 of them, and to read the sometimes lengthy caption that described the history of the event pictured on the wall, while I mingled. I recognized many of the visitors, but sometimes it took about seven minutes into a conversation until I could place them. It seemed more discreet than to say blankly, “And who are you?” Or to put it another way, we were all a bit older and sometimes the resemblance faded. I am awful at remembering names, and now I find I can’t put that elusive name to this elusive face. Friends assure me they are all suffering from the same overload amnesia. Some tell me that in social situations, they stick out their hand and announce, “I am (John Brown),” and the other person automatically recites his own name. It doesn’t work when someone greets me enthusiastically, “Hi, Florence!” Pleasantly, their opening line this night was, invariabley, "Wonderful show!"
Alas, traffic into the city was even worse than anticipated. Art, as The Man of the Moment, had left ahead of us to assure he would be on hand even earlier than the scheduled 6PM opening. A good thing, too. People were arriving at 5PM! So when we hurried in at a rather late 7PM some of the Big Names had been there and gone. I can drop one name because Art was having his picture taken with her as we walked through the door – Christie Hefner. And another name, her husband Bill Marovitz, prominent Chicago lawyer, who is movie-star-gorgeous.
An interesting moment of the show was the appearance of a frail little lady who was represented in one of the photos on the wall. The picture had been taken in Africa 54 years ago. Art had been photographing Marlon Perkins doing his animal series for TV, and this woman had been Perkins' writer. The hanging photo shows a very young lady in a makeshift outdoor bathtub. A very sexy picture. Ah youth. Oh time.
The show will run for a month. I will return. I should mention, if I have provoked your interest, that the galleries selling the Art Shay Black and White images are The Stephen Daiter Gallery in Chicago, and the Albert Loeb Gallery in Paris. My pride runneth over.
However, the Very Best Part of a special event is that family flies in to share the party with us. So for too brief a weekend we had the joy of their presence. Happy time!