Thursday, January 12, 2012

KENNY PEINT by Lawren Farber

KENNY PEINT by Lawren Farber
Artey Peint, Fifth Avenue’s most famous contemporary art dealer, was deep into his Sunday routine.  His wife had myriad shopping stops to make.  Artey’s sole job was to babysit little Kenny.
The small house in the Bronx was brand new -- 1950’s style.  Dark brick one story, it had a row of windows along the length of the house, high up, to illuminate the long hall.  The high up windows bathed the white hall walls in bright light.  The house was shaped somewhat like the letter “T”. 
The long hall opened upon the living room.  Artey lay on the long couch against the far wall.   On the floor, beside the couch, was a scotch and soda.
Artey lay on his side.  He reached down and sipped the cocktail. He could see 4-year old little Kenny playing in the hall.  
Artey scanned the Sunday New York Times Art & Leisure section to note any mention of his Fifth Avenue gallery.  He took another sip, placed the glass on the carpet and returned to the paper.  The small print made him drowsy.  Soon Artey nodded off.
The bright sunlight from the living room window made Artey warm --  a bit too warm.  Half asleep, he heard singing. His angelic son sang while engrossed in wonder:  “La, la, la, la, lah.  Loomy louie lew... LA..... la... LAH”  Artey opened one eye sleepily.
Suddenly Dad was wide awake, both eyes bugging out of his head.  Kenny was standing looking at the wall,  His brown corduroys rolled up at the bottom, revealing a red plaid cuff and a pair of Buster Brown shoes, plain as can be.  Kenny’s T-shirt looked like a deKoonig.    
Kenny stood just like he had so often seen his father stand.  The weight of his little body rested on his left leg which was half a foot behind his right leg.  His right foot    tapped the carpet.  His left arm wound across his stomach and knotted the side of his T-shirt.  Kenny’s right arm held something long and thin, like a yellow #2 pencil.
Kenny rocked forward onto his right foot and touched the wall with the bright  yellow stick:  “There.... an here....   an there.... an.... th... tTHERE.”  The tiny body bent in half and Kenny twirled the yellow stick in a tiny plastic cup, lifted it and placed the tip into another plastic cup.  
Squinting, Artey could see there were three, maybe four cups just against the wall.
Kenny touched the wall with the bright yellow stick again.  Artey could hear him say “ green”... then a lilting song “Green, green, green, green... GREEN!”  Kenny rocked back on his left leg and smiled.
It finally hit him.  I’m supposed to be watching him and Kenny is painting a mural on the hall wall.  Jeeze Louise!
Artey bolted upright and swung his legs off the couch.  Over went the scotch, darkening the beige carpet.  He looked down and the “S” word floated near his ankles and flew beneath the couch.
He was standing, then taking long strides down the hall.
“KENNY!  What are You DOING?”
The beige carpet surrounding Kenny had a Jackson Pollack patch.  Kenny turned a smiling face to his father.  His eyes were as wide as Caravaggio’s self-portrait; the black smudges of paint on Kenny’s face enhanced the effect.
Artey glowered down at the little imp.  Dad took a deep breath. He was about to let loose when he noticed Kenny’s wall painting.
Artey’s head turned to the right.  He smiled.  The subtle pastel and earth tone colors were brilliantly placed.  Dad pivoted on his left foot to face the wall completely, striking the same pose Kenny had copied:    the weight of Dad’s body rested on his left leg which was half a foot behind his right leg.  His right foot  tapped the carpet.  His left arm wound across his stomach and knotted the side of his shirt.


There was a gentle horizon line -- two elongated thin black brush strokes, one going a third of the horizontal distance of this invisibly bounded canvas, the second line began a bit above the first and slid horizontal like a tadpole’s tail.  Light green brush strokes swept from top right to bottom left, one after another.  Then darkish green, the same angle, then dry straw leaves, then wind-swept sand.  On the first slope of the second horizon line stood a dark brown shack, black rectangles were placed where doors and windows should be.  Writhing on the sand, legs out like a sniper’s crawling through the brush, left elbow dug into the sand, there lay a representation of Dad with his right arm reaching out.  He wore green khakis and a mauve shirt.  The painting was of Dad with an empty blurry expression on his face, a wan smile on his lips as his hand touched the Dewar’s bottle.
Artey’s mouth dropped open.  In his head he said well, there go the Sunday afternoon cocktails.  He gave Kenny a huge smile and scooped him up, wet paint, brush and all and said “Well, my little Wyeth, haven’t you been a busy star this afternoon!  I can’t wait to hear what Mom has to say.”  And Artey danced with Kenny down the hall, through the living room and out the patio doors into the sunlight.
© copyright 2012, Lawren Farber
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  Round #2 of Renovated Reputations will culminate in three more shows. 

Santa Clara University, California
January 9 - February 5th
Reception: Thursday February 2, 2012 
 
Ohlone College, Fremont California 
February 7th -  March 9th
Reception, Saturday, February 25, 2012 
6PM - 8PM
 
Elliott Fouts Gallery, Sacramento California 
February 4th - March 1st, 2012.

 
The story you write should be a "Flash Fiction" which is a complete story in one thousand or fewer words.
 
Stories will be published in a vintage style  newspaper catalog and the gallery will be converted into a 1930 or 40's cabaret set and students will be acting the stories out as monologues at some of the events at the college in the art gallery.
You could win a drawing of your own in exchange for a piece of flash fiction!

Renovated Reputations is the result of an internet blogging project in which paintings and assemblages based on vintage and antique vernacular photography are the inspiration for short fiction.  The blog, which gets between one hundred to two hundred and fifty visitors a day, is the nexus point.  Each week between seven to ten authors from the U.S. and U.K. submitted short fiction of one thousand words or less compete to win an original work of art that is the basis for the story.  The stories and assemblages are then coupled with great graphic design and photo illustration to create an environment that compliment the two.

The catalog is a collaborative joint between myself, an artist with a national reputation and proven track record.  (I’m also a professor of Art and Art History at Ohlone College in Fremont where I also am the director of the Louie Meager Art Museum) 
So far the authors are a dirty dozen or so such as author professor Mark Brosamer,  mystery writer Matt O'Malley, pulp author Steven D. Rogers of PulpFest fame, Dreamworks animator/cartoonist Brian Newlin, columnist Gigi De Vault and others. 
http://kenney-mencher.blogspot.com/

We're going to have a photobooth for the show for participants to play with and vintage costumes. 

Of course I'll send the authors free copies of the newspaper style catalogs.
I may also print an illustrated monograph that will include some of the stories and pictures.

Sincerely (I mean it!)

Kenney Mencher 

Here are two of the books that were designed as catalogs.  (Click the book for a preview.)