[Click all these pictures to ENLARGE them.]
Here on the Sunday morning after all the Halloween commotion in front of his home the night before, Phil Wells – known as Flip to his friends and sometimes mistakenly as Pflip in print – reflects on the 21st oversize Halloween production on Wallingford’s 42nd Street – at 2506 – just east of Eastern Avenue. In the late 1980s Marilyn and Flip moved into 2506, raised two children, a girl first and then a boy. Perfect, and while they were growing up both of them were regulars on the hurried crews for these big fall productions. Sometimes it was raining, sometimes very cold, but it always happened. Last night was teased with rain only. It too was ideal – like having a girl and then a boy.
Below is a portrait of this year’s crew without the children. (The Wells’ daughter Greta is away in college, and their son Peter was off to a party in the family car with instructions to return by 1 a.m.) I asked Flip to caption the group shot and elaborate on the evening. As you will read, this year I, who am normally merely the “recorder” of the events, was also part of the creative crew, helping with the “Forsaken Art Exhibit”. (I will return to this at the bottom.) Here is Flip’s crew followed by his own caption. After that we will include pictures of many of the night’s spectacles that he names.
Left to right – Marilyn, Ann Yoder, Rick Yoder, Jeff Bronson, Flip Wells Jan Standaert with Paul Dorpat’s “Forsaken Art” behind. Halloween on 42nd St 2009 detoured from our traditional theme based productions with the contribution of fifteen priceless paintings from Mr. Dorpat’s Forsaken Art collection of hundreds. The paintings were prominently displayed on a 12 ft wall lined with thirty 3-D Archie McFee place mats. Comments on the display ranged from “does this have something to do with a murder in the Louvre” to “I really must buy that rabbit picture”. Alas none of the treasures were for resale having already been forsaken by their original owners. Other displays this year included a vomiting Al Gore, 4 ft diameter Spider on a zip line, 10 ft long worm with rope light intestines, a plain face with trunk like nose, gory campsite scene, and blacklit cave of phosphorescent creatures all highlighted by sometime functioning smoke machines. Thanks in part to agreeable weather a good time was had by our 350 or neighbors roughly half of which were young trick or treaters.
With neighbor Doug Wilson – sometimes referred to as Wallingford’s mayor by his nearby neighbors – holding a bottle of root beer, Marilyn waves from the front steps. Below her momentarily rests the basket filled with candy. This year these steps were easily sighted from the sidewalk. Some years they have been hidden behind labyrinthine passages that trick and treaters were required to negotiate – most often with the help of their parents – to reach the steps and the candy.
Before the rest of the crew arrived Phil started constructing the basic forms for this year’s sensations.
The American Elm supporting the Lean-2 is also used as a post for this year’s “headline” of masks.
A brief introduction to the FORSAKEN ART EXPOSITION
As noted in Flip’s caption to his crew’s portrait near the top, this year we hauled forth part of my Forsaken Art Collection, as one of the last ditch additions to Production #21. Many things were still needed. This was needed – sort of. Flip was away on business and unable to return until the day before. So I answered the all-points plea with Forsaken Art.
Over the past dozen years or more I have collected a few hundred examples of it, and most of these objects have video interviews “attached” to them. That is, I have bought them all in yard sales and video-interviewed the persons who sold them to me, usually for nothing more than 4 dollars, my limit – unless it is stretched. This small Exhibit on 42nd Street in Wallingford is a prelude for what will be a large covered exhibition with the video production that matches the art to the interviews along with reviews by local critics – critics who may owe me something, and so will give this art some intelligent, sensitive, creative, and above all encouraging review and thereby perhaps rescue these canvases and many others from their forsaken situation.
All my video interviews conclude with this question. “Before we complete this transaction would you like to change your mind and hold on to this art, which you are about to forsake?” Only one of many hundreds has agreed to turn back the sale and keep the painting, and it was much the greater job for me to get her to change her mind again and let me have it. I had the interview and needed the painting to support it.
Note the spirit of his exhibition is indicated by its sign above, which reads, in part . . .”BEWARE Look Aside Look Askance The Critics Knows Forsaken Art Danger to Taste . . .”
The shown art included “Harvey and Friend” the only painting requested for sale. Something about the would-be buyer’s husband wearing a rabbit outfit for some Halloween and handing out carrots to the kids. Unfortunately, we had to explain to her about the video interview and our need to hold onto the painting for the greater show and production. She was sympathetic. Perhaps her interest in the painting was influenced by the bottle of wine she was carrying, and we were acting prudent for her.
Of all the art exposed this was perhaps the most appropriate. Jan hung a sign from it reading “Available to Qualified Buyers Only.” The original yard sale price remains fixed to a small tab stuck to the painting (in the black door to the bleachers). It reads “50 cents”.
If you were raised on Spokane’s South Hill in the 1940s, as was I, you would have been taught that Gainsborough’s “Blue Boy” was one of the greatest of masterpieces. But like me you may have known nothing of his “Pinky.” Below are paint-by-numbers versions (or variations) of both accompanied by smaller copies of the original – for comparison. Somewhere there will be a kind critic who will find the paint-by-numbers examples the better, just what the originals needed, more robust and to the essential points of their subjects, the lovely Blue Boy and the lovely Pinky.
We conclude by noting, again, that there are hundreds more where Pinky came from, and she and the rest of these were merely taken from one accessible side of this collection – with very little selection. As they lay. Might it be that this little Halloween exposition at Flip and Marilyns will someday be remembered like the French Impressionist’s Armory Show, as the start of another great movement in the history of Western Art, the Forsaken Art Movement, supported and even promoted by a new CWC: Critics With Compassion. And finally for this trick or treat of Halloween 21, does anyone recall what was the old CWC?