The Gig Was Whirly

For a very brief time in my early twenties, I put my freelance life on hold and took a full-time job. The gig was a dud but I was able to bank some money and learn a lot about art by osmosis from my boss, Herb.

This man had an incredible eye for collecting with an acquired trove of work by Warhol, Calder, and too many photography masters to list.

His art wasn’t limited to paintings and sculptures. He also had a Mercedes gullwing roadster that he purchased new in the 1960s.

On my first visit to his house as I was gawking at one of his Warhol soup can pieces, he invited me to his experience his stereo. In keeping with his fine tastes, it was an audiophile’s paradise. He played Copeland’s “Fanfare For The Common Man” and gave me the experience of being in the front row of the symphony.

Mixed in with these midcentury modern masterpieces were quite a few hand-carved wind-powered pieces that he called whirlygigs. I had seen similar pieces in the front yards of modest houses during my early photojournalism years.

I asked how those fit into his collection that was full of big-name artists. He explained that he bought art, not an artist’s name.

It was a great lesson to learn.

Now every time I see something spinning in the wind, I’m reminded of that art appreciation seminar at Herb’s house.

About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer with more than 2500 completed sessions in all 50 US states.

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