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Non-Fiction by James Hayward


I had, after years of anguish, managed to extricate myself from the briar patch that was Ace Gallery. I was free at last. Halleluiah!

My critic/historian friend, Drew Hammond, who was currently residing in Berlin, blew into town and in no time, had so impressed those assigned by the Bankruptcy Court, to run the gallery, with his vast knowledge of those represented by Ace Gallery, but also, the gallery's relationships with the European art scene, that they offered him the directorship of the gallery until they were ready to close (leases ran out). He charmed the pants off the lot of them.

In the course of managing the gallery, Drew helped a righteous Bankruptcy Court, return numerous works to their rightful owners.

Drew found a secret room; no doors or windows, carved into the 35,000 square foot labyrinth of exhibition spaces and storage units. It contained almost 1,000 works of art. He found "Big House”.

Doug had conned me out of it, saying, “If Burnett doesn’t sell it, let me sell it to a client in Canada who loves your work”. He saw the painting in a group show that included Chris, Nancy, Charlie Ray and a couple of others. Like me. I am always in need of financial assistance, so Dumb Fuck Jimmy, delivers the painting to Ace Gallery.

I waited a few months and when there had been no check, I contacted Doug. Doug said he sold it, but his accountant said, that when I left the gallery, I left owing them money. BULLSHIT! I don’t pay the accountant and record whatever Doug wishes. I totally lacked influence.

Drew’s finding the secret room changed everything. He found “Big House”. All five parts were wrapped in the original flannel and cardboards, I had made. I was thrilled, until I saw that on one of the cardboards, it read, “DAMAGED”.

Once back in my studio, I opened the ‘damaged’ panel. It was not damaged; it simply had a stain where some fool had spilled a drink on it. I cleaned it and, in a few days, it was as good as new. I was amused by the overlap between the title of the painting and the place where Doug may well end up.

“Big House” was from a series called The Poker Paintings, with each painting referencing a particular winning hand. It refers to a hand like three Kings and a pair of Jacks. Almost always a winner.





JAMES HAYWARD is a Los Angeles based artist. He exhibits with Roberts Projects LA and the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art.





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Photo of Doug Chrismas by Joey Krebbs
Photo Illustrations courtesy of Art Report Today .com


Gordy Grundy