Every Gift Should Come With An Adventure

The title of this post comes from something my partner said as we were discussing the ongoing mini adventure connected with an early X-mas/Birthday gift he bought for me which arrived on Friday…

Which I opened right away as instructed by my wonderful gift giver.

It’s a book.

I love books.

From the moment that books and I met, a long love affair began, a deep and lasting friendship was formed, they offered me sanctuary, companionship, acceptance, travel, adventures, information, learning, inspiration, treasures to have and to hold in a place no one could get to and steal them away.

Others could take the books, but not what the books had imparted to me in whispers within.

This book is slightly different from the usual books I’m interested in.

It’s one of those coffee table art books…

I came across it while doing one of my online searches for my father.

I’m not looking for my father the human being – he’s not lost, not that kind of lost anyway.

I only do these searches intermittently, to see if any new work (as in which I haven’t seen before during my previous searches) of his has been shared, if there are any new articles or items of interest about him.

During one of these searches I came across a recently published book of artwork, and my father was included – which greatly surprised me since the art world decided a long time ago to pretend that my father didn’t exist.

That’s partly his fault for pissing off a lot of big art world egos who take revenge on rebellious artists by wiping those artists off the face of the artistic world earth.

There’s this story, an anecdote, told by someone who worked at Architectural Digest… if a home they featured had one of my father’s paintings on the wall, it would be removed for the photo shoot because someone powerful had written a memo that my father’s work must never appear in the magazine.

The art world as I knew it was full of pompous, pretentious and petty little brats and bitches who made themselves big by stomping on others… which is partly why I adore Banksy, for giving them all a very clever middle finger, and playing them at their own game, making them run around in a circle chasing their own tail, showing them up for what they are rather than what they pretend to be, ripping off the facade to reveal what’s behind it.

Yes, I can be a petty little bitch brat too.

The book featured artwork which my father had done very early on in his career, when he was still a struggling artist working his way towards his goal, blood-sweat-tears spent on his dream, whose mother kept whining and nagging him about his choice not to be a respectable bus driver. She never got it even after he succeeded and she benefited from his success, she still whined and nagged like a broken record about the same thing.

The curator of the book said he put it together to celebrate this particular type of artwork. He was very passionate about it, wanting to honour and pay homage to some great, yet often unknown, heroes of that particular art form. Cool, right!

I got rather excited and babbled about it to my partner… who decide to track it down and get me a copy as a gift… even though I had said somewhere in my babbling that it was expensive, out of print, and I didn’t want it even if it was available, I was just enjoying the knowledge of it existing.

I was thrilled when I opened the gift and saw the book!

I quickly flipped to the section with my father’s work, and then I flipped to the section which had photographs of all the featured artists and…

That’s when things got weird, and the mini adventure within the gift began.

The photograph they had above my father’s name was not of my father.

I did recognise the person in the photograph though… it’s of someone whose face and name is seared into my mind’s eye.

It was of my father’s nemesis.

That doesn’t really narrow things down since he had several nemeses.

My father was a narcissist and they always have several mortal enemies whom they are fighting at any given time… it keeps the drama triangle of victim-perpetrator-rescuer going and going. Narcissists love that drama triangle. If one drama triangle breaks, there’s always the others to rely on. If those break too… create a new one.

Not all of a narcissist’s nemeses are real villains… but this particular one definitely was.

My mother was one of my father’s nemeses too. It wasn’t her in the photo… she’d have loved that, finally she would have seen herself as recognised for being the real power behind the throne.

She was always harping like a harpy about how my father refused to acknowledge that she had made him who he was… perhaps that’s because she was always harping on about it like a harpy, and he found that annoying, but also useful… he knew exactly which button to press to make her explode thanks to her informing him of it with her harping on about it.

Or maybe it’s because his talent and hard work made him who he was and she refused to give him the acknowledgment for that which he wanted – so why should he give her the acknowledgment which she wanted?

She did support him… but she also did a lot to undermine him. She’d never acknowledge that, it doesn’t go with her narrative of saint, martyr, perfect muse and wife of genius troubled artist. Nothing was ever her fault.

The pic was not of another artist but of an art dealer, one of those people whom artists used to have to rely upon… not so much these days thanks to the internet giving artists more freedom and control over their work and career. Artists can bypass art dealers… but the art dealers aren’t too happy about that, so they may cause trouble if and when they can.

I’m not sure what my father would have made of the error…

My guess is that he would either have been furious – once again the art world and everyone in it had shunned him! Fuck them, fuck them all!

Or found it funny in a twisted way – the nemesis won, ha… ha… ha… but the nemesis will never know since he’s dead too!

My father’s relationship with that nemesis, the guy in the pic, was in many ways a classic abuse dynamic. My father kept being cheated and screwed over by the art dealer, he’d put up with it until it was too much and break away… then the abusive art dealer would “make amends” which were not sincere, but enough to make my father come back… who else would take him after the art dealer spread the smear campaign word about working with my father!?

It was more complicated than that… always is.

Or maybe he would have not given a shit because everyone was an asshole and could go to hell – the latter was a version of him I experienced most often because I was born just as he was getting more frustrated and depressed by the art business, his career, life, people. He hated everyone by then and it only got worse as he got older and more cynical.

When I saw the mistake… I was a bit saddened but mostly I was kind of used to that type of mistake in connection with my father and his career.

Besides I’m not the keeper of his career… I was for a while an apprentice keeper of his career, him and his career dominated my childhood and beyond, my life was all about him and his life, and my mother’s life as his muse, wife, and keeper of his career.

Then there was his long term mistress… who also took on the role of keeper of his career or person who helped destroy it if you listen to my mother and her crazed rantings as a harpy still harping on and on about an old drama triangle from which she’ll never escape and keep trying to suck new people into to it.

My part in all of that… broke me, and I’m glad it did, that was not a good path for me.

Still…

My partner decided we should let the distributors of the book know about the error.

I kind of shrugged about doing it… eh… meh… not my battle…

If whoever had the job of finding photos of the artist relied on Wikipedia… my father’s Wiki entry doesn’t have a photo of him, but a quick Google Image search does come up with several photos of him, including the cover of a book of his work which has his name printed on it in bold with a photo if him underneath. He looks nothign like the guy in the photo they used… but… whatever.

I haven’t checked to see if the other artists featured in the book fit the photos of them which were used…

But my partner’s right, so we did, or he did email them about it…

And the book had been slightly damaged in transit (or perhaps was damaged before transit…?), the corner was very dented… so we should let them know about that too.

We haven’t had a reply yet… wonder if we will.

Thus far I’m imagining them trying to come up with ways to avoid dealing with it… ignore the problem and it’ll go away, doesn’t exist, never happened, etc.

It’s kind of interesting to see what happens…

What do you think will happen?

13 comments

    • Thank you, Sadje πŸ™‚

      In an ideal world that’s the ideal scenario, but in a very human world… we’ll see. He did get a very nice write up about him in the book in his segment, and the work they included was his work, the only error was the photo. If they didn’t know about it before, I’m guessing knowing about it now that most of the books have been sold will be problematic for them and they may want to ignore the mistake and hope no one else notices. If my mother noticed the existence of the book and discovered the error… I’m glad I’m not them! πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome Ursula. It is not an ideal world but somethings are important and being just is one of them. Even if they can’t or don’t recall the books they can make a correction in print or electronic media. I am sure they would have a Facebook page and /or a website.

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  1. Hey Ursula,

    Interesting error with regards to the whole plagiarism discussion.

    And what a weird moment that must have been to see a face that wasnt your father… A Keanu Reeves “Whoa!” is what I imagine.

    If you even get a reply, I image that it will be full of words and little substance… It was someone else’s fault… It is too late to fix it… Thank you for your interest… We have a very mean lawyer, dont even think about it… Dented corner? It was pristine when sent (mean lawyer)… Will you let us know what, if anything, happens?

    Books are such treasures! Your new book is a double treasure.
    A coffee table art book with a puzzle to solve. Or not? Hmmmm…πŸ€”πŸ“šπŸŽπŸŒ»

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    • Hey, Angie πŸ™‚

      Puzzles like this one make the ordinary suddenly become not so ordinary, and rather fun as long as we go with it and enjoy the strangeness πŸ˜€

      It was weird to see the wrong person in the pic, but as I knew who the wrong person was, it was more Kdrama “Really!? That bitch!?”. If the wrong pic had been of someone I didn’t know it would have been more Keanu πŸ˜‰ What would have been funny is if they’d used a pic of Toshiro Mifune, he’s a Japanese actor people used to tell my father he resembled.

      I tried to see if I could find the same pic they used while doing a search for my father in Google Images. Maybe they didn’t use Google, but still… I should try the search with other search engines. What puzzles me is that if you search for my father’s name, you get loads of pics of his artwork and a few pics of my father, including the cover of the other book which has my father’s name and photo on it, but none of the wrong guy.

      I could only find pics similar to the one they used by searching the name of the guy in the photo. They used a cropped photo, the kind of photo which was from a gallery event, which gets used in newspapers and magazines, part of the aftershow PR press. Usually those have the names of the people under the pic, so maybe my father was in the part of the pic that wasn’t used in the book. Perhaps after they’d cropped it, they simply used the wrong end of the cropped photo and tossed the right end of it away. That’s the sort of error which happens easily, especially when tired.

      I’ll share an update when it happens, if it happens… the business end of things is Italian, so… there will be hands in the air like they just don’t care, lots of shrugging, some strategic wailing πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What do I think will happen? In an ideal world (which ours is most definitely not): The publishers would give the editor of the book a right telling off, and would immediately fix the problem and send you a brand new copy (carefully packaged so no denting occurred) with the correct photo with the name. Maybe you’d even get some money for finding the error. In the real world in which we live? I suspect there’s an even chance that someone will email you with an apology and that will be that. I bet they don’t fix the error nor take credit for the damage to the book while in transit. Nobody much takes responsibility any longer, do they? What an interesting post! I loved going on that little adventure with you!

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    • Thank you, Melanie πŸ™‚

      I reckon you’re close to the mark with how things will play out. The company is Italian, so… they’ll most likely handle it in a very Italian way, hoping to get away with whatever they can get away with and then bluff their way through the rest. There’s not much they can do about the photo, and we got one of the very last copies of the book. I’m intrigued to see what they do.

      There are still people and businesses who take responsibility, but when people and businesses are responsible, it doesn’t generate waves or talk-mileage. We’re pleased and when we’re pleased we don’t say as much as when we’re not pleased about people and businesses.

      Lots of good things and experiences happen in the world on a daily basis, but the ones which get the most attention, get discussed, shared around, tweeted about, blogged about, etc, are mainly the bad things and experiences. When we’re upset, angry, annoyed we feel the urge to vent, rant, spread the word, but when we’re happy, calm, feeling good we tend to keep quiet about it and just enjoy it. I read a psychological perspective on why that is, and it has been connected with primal instinct – when things go wrong we warn others about the danger, but when things go well there’s no need to react or pass the information on. Hmmm…

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  3. Yes, that was an adventure! What will happen? Probably nothing much. You indicated that the book is out of print, so at best you may get an apology. But my, the fact-checking was a bit slack, wasn’t it? Let us know if you hear anything back. πŸ™‚

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    • Yes, Lynette, I will post an update πŸ™‚

      It is a limited edition book, signed and numbered, and the one we got was one of the last ones. That’s why I wondered if perhaps it got damaged before transit. When my father printed his own serigraphs, some used to get damaged, it’s unavoidable even if you’re extra careful. He refused to sell the damaged ones because it was his name and his reputation which would get damaged if he sold damaged goods. He would give those to friends, informing them of the damage or destroy them. However some printers will sell the damaged pieces, the more scrupulous ones will usually inform the buyer of the damage and mark down the price, the unscrupulous ones will just sell it as though it wasn’t damaged and hope the buyer won’t notice or will keep quiet about it not wanting to confront or cause a fuss.

      The photo they used looked like one taken from a show, used in newspapers and magazines for aftershow press. It probably had the names of those in it underneath the pic. It was cropped as you can see someone else’s shoulder next to the art dealer, so I reckon my father may have been in the photo and they used the wrong side of the cropped pic. I imagine that the person in charge of the artists photo page probably got confused and tired seeking out and collecting all the pics, experienced some photo-blindness and no one else bothered to double check it because the focus was on the artwork, and making sure that was done well.

      In some ways it’s a fun and funny mistake, it’s created an interesting story to liven up the ordinary!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting adventure. No matter who it is, people should get credit for their work. I’ll look for an update to see if anything comes of it.

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