Saturday, April 13, 2013

Molly Crabapple Part Two



I  mean, Molly Crabapple's The Shell Game installation is a lovely confection of....


Look, if you want a review of her show (bubbles! fat cats! whimsy and devilish details!) I'm sure there will be a dozen artful reviews of them... soon. Probably already, and the opening night won't be over for another 20 minutes as I'm typing this sentence.

But I don't know the craft well enough to judge hers, and I'm a terrible judge of characters anyway, so I'm just going to tell you what I saw: Large winking women, representing everything from the American Dream (painted like a delicate clown, fat cats tempted mice to climb her ladder and step off her hand... and drop to their deaths to make more gold for the machine) to Liberty Square (wooo!)... I saw the People's Library and the food tent in her skirts...

From a distance, it's easy to see the rhythms as repetitive... but standing there it reminded me of tarot cards, actually, because sure there's the big obvious image but there were enough references and in-jokes to make you stare for a while, trying to suss out the symbols and their meanings... if not for your own life, then for the past two years which became history much faster than I can articulate, or one of her images can express.

So anyway, what I came away with was a glass of lemon ginger gin and tonic (yum!) and glee because not only did I see a fellow Occupier there (I raise my plastic glass to you, A!) but it felt like I made a new friend--

See, mostly it was images of arch ladies, but there was also a wheel of (mis?)fortune (I so wanted to see if it could turn, but I clasped my hands behind my back and was a good little consumer of art) and also a mostly-naked woman in a bathtub.

It turns out the mostly naked lady's name was/is Stoya, and we shook hands because I can't very carefully not stare at a mostly naked lady in a bathtub, after staring at a bunch of images, without feeling uncomfortably hypocritical. If she was art, I should experience it, but I also don't feel right consuming a person as objectively as a brush stroke.

So I sat down next to her bathtub and made sure she wasn't cold (she wasn't) and we asked about her wig-- I knew going in that she was styled as Marie Antoinette, and my covert glances indicated that she was lounging in a bathtub filled with fake money--but the wig was fantastic and slightly pink, with tiny protest signs in it.

What caught my attention was the red, chopstick-like things stabbed into it, but as soon as I asked I realized that it was The Big Red Thing at Liberty Square/Zuccotti Park, and that made me so happy that I suddenly felt quite comfortable chatting with a beautiful mostly naked lady in a bathtub, and I told her about taking food to the protestors and she laughed with me as I told her stories about ProtestKid.

Maybe she was a consummate actress, and she didn't find him totally enchanting (though, all motherly modesty aside, how could a person *not* find stories about ProtestKid delightful?), but I'd like to think I didn't totally bore her and that we *did* make a connection of sorts. (I didn't do quite all of the talking, but I also don't feel right revealing what she said-- it was a conversation and it was nice and that's all.)

See, not only did she sign a copy of Molly Crabapple's book for us (woot), but as I got up to leave her to her soak, she grinned and gave me one of the crumpled bills she was surrounded by.

Later, !ProtestDaddy and I giggled as we read it-- as you may have guessed, it too had lots of details (it had printed very clearly on it "not for legal tender, you dope" and it was signed by "Rob Anybody" not the current head of the US Dept of Treasury)-- but mostly we were delighted then and now because on this special night, a professional naked lady gave *me* a tip.

I shall be dining out on this story for weeks. The other professional moms are going to be sick of it... tee hee hee...

Dear Stoya, may you never be cold and may you always have something to smile about. You certainly made me happy tonight.


  1. Doh, this wasn't the first opening night. Turns out there was another opening night last night. Oh well, I don't care it was still fun. :)

  2. Woo! I had the same thrill when I realized it was the Red Thing in Stoya's wig!

    It was a memorable evening. I've been looking forward to it for a year, and I feel sufficiently happy at the completion of the project.

    I was pleased that Molly seemed quite genuine. I loved seeing all the paintings; I wish I head read all the descriptions more carefully when she sent them out, though. They are so richly detailed.

    Smart you to get Stoya to sign your book!

  3. Did you get a chance to chat with Molly? I was too shy to interact with her. :)

    Yeah, getting Stoya to sign it just seemed like a respectful thing to do-- but then two of the professional photographers came over and started snapping away-- I guess we made a great photo op. ;)