Yesterday I checked out a new space in town called Pied-à-Terre. Before it ever opened, Tracy Helgeson had emailed me, telling me to watch for the space. She and Pied-à-Terre’s founder McIntyre Parker had met through a residency somewhere back east. He came out here from NY and has now opened this space in his own apartment.
I was immediately curious and a tad envious. Looking back on my life in New York City, it’s one thing I didn’t do and should have tried, having had a great little apartment in Hell’s Kitchen, maybe perfect for such a venture. The little bitty fact that it was an illegal sublet kept me from exploring public options, but maybe it should not have.
One evening Gary Azon took me to high-rise on Washington Square, where indeed someone hosted an exhibition right in their living room. The show made an impression on me. Maybe it all only happened for that one evening, but that was all it really needed to be. It was a packed room, a discussion about art in someone’s home.
I didn’t even have a living room – just one long room which filtered out into a negligible, never used kitchen. The long room was painted a cold white and one of the walls was all (painted) brick. It looked out into the courtyard and the stained glass window of a church. It was my sanctuary for ten years; I’m not sure I could have held on so long without the lack of fanfare so needed to maintain illegal ventures. It was a building full of actors, being on West 56th Street – my super was a soap opera star, another tenant you can still see on Law and Order from time to time. At least one we lost to AIDS.
Pied-à-Terre looks out towards the west, a simple room nearly square in shape. I just loved the space and loved the work even more. It held two beautiful small paintings by Daniel Payavis. Each one was perfectly contained, well made, looking at the past but also right in the present.