Thursday, March 13, 2014

Failure Coach XXXIII


Johnny Appleseed was still officially undecided. Undecided but not undeclared. Since he was already planning his course load for his second semester at the University of Miami he told his counselor he was thinking of becoming a Sociology major. So his counselor wrote it down. He was reasonably certain that he would earn 15 credits with a C average or better. He still had some core courses to take. His second semester would likely consist of English composition, American History, Psychology of Drug Abuse (which he heard was pretty much an easy A if he showed up), Photography and Sociology 105. Coach Siena encouraged him to pick a major – any major. The coach told him it didn’t really matter – he should just focus on getting a degree. He wanted Johnny to experience college and experience Miami. Now that the Miami Beach incident was mostly behind him he could go home to Red Bud, Illinois over the Christmas Break with a suntan and impress his home town friends and former Musketeer teammates.

“There’s a party at the apartments at the Villas of Kendall just off campus and since the Hurricanes are away the game will be on. It might be worth checking out. This girl, Sarah, in my contemporary literature class who said she’s help me out with some notes. She’s the one who told me about the party. Anyway, we’re going to have a little pre-game gathering in the dorm. Come to my room around 7:00 or whenever. Go Canes.” The wheels were in motion and a loose plan for the evening was unfolding. There was a frat party they might go to early but the destination was the Villas of Kendall. Beer which was already on ice in a cooler in his room. He knew his suite-mates would have some weed too.”

Meanwhile Daniel Bluestone was back in Miami, staying at his favorite hotel, the Raleigh on Miami Beach. He was sipping a dirty martini by the pool and scrolling through his smart phone for messages, texts and e-mails. He was expecting a friend of his from the Miami Ad School to join him but was not concerned when he did not show up. He was also expecting Martin Margulies, the developer and art collector/impresario. The two became friends during an Art Basel week in Miami quite by happenstance. Daniel was in Miami visiting with friends from Crispin Porter + Bogusky. The Miami Hot Shop principals were invited to an event at the Miami Beach home of the now late fashion designer Gianni Versace. The event was a fundraiser for Best Buddies an organization founded by Anthony Paul Kennedy Shriver for people with disabilities. Sadly the designer was killed in 1997 at age 50. Bluestone and Margulies connected and became friends that night in 1995. The friendship began as they discussed: how art meets commerce in the advertising business; the ideas of conceptual and minimalist art; and the impact of the critic in determining what some collectors buy. They connected, because they were two passionate artists in their own way. So they stayed in touch over the years.

“Marty, so glad you could join me. I would love for you to meet my partner, Jan Abbeshire. She’s taking a shower but will be down in a minute. Jan and I are in a unique position. It seems a client of ours is one step away from being the likely heir to the Victoria Valentine Art Collection. We do some work for the Alan Edgewater Failure First Scholarship Foundation (AEFFSF) which was made possible through a significant charitable gift from a big  lottery winner, Robert Siena of Red Bud, Illinois. Siena is now a retired high school coach with a regional sales contract position in the Midwest. Anyway, Jan and I met through Alan Edgewater and we just decided to join forces.”

“Tell me more about the Valentine collection. Ms. Valentine and I have crossed paths more than once. I have a sense of her collection. As I recall, she was a smart woman. She was, like me, a patron of Contemporary Art. But more importantly, like me, she bought what she liked not what people told her she should like.”   

“That doesn’t surprise me. So it’s our scholarship winner, Andrew Valentine, the grandson of Nana Valentine who stands to inherit the collection. I’m not even sure how this will play out, (or how long it will take to settle this estate), but I’d love your thoughts…”

“Talking shop already…” Jan interjected with a jestful tone. As she joined Dan and Marty at poolside, Jan noted the conversation was already getting deeper into the business of art collections. Marty quickly learned that Jan had a more complete understanding of the Valentine collection than Dan by a long shot. She had done her homework prior to the AEFFSF award and as such was fully conversant in the subtleties of Nana’s love of art and her collection.

“The collection is currently in the hands of Rachel Davis Fine Arts in Cleveland and is currently being cataloged and appraised.” Jan shared, “The initial list I saw was pretty impressive, Marty. Of course your collection is worth ten times the Valentine collection.” This statement was indeed true.

The following day the three went to visit the The Warehouse, a 45,000 square feet of exhibition space established by Marty along with his longtime curator Katherine Hinds established to display Martin Z. Margulies’ growing collection of photography, video, installation works, and sculpture. (In 1999, the first phase of the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse opened to the public with an event to benefit the Lowe Museum at the University of Miami.) Among the artists on permanent display: Doug Aitken, Cory Arcangel, John Chamberlain, Willem de Kooning, Leandro Erlich, Michael Heizer, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Richard Long, Isamu Noguchi, George Segal, Richard Serra, Tony Smith, Franz West. 

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