Yea Yea Yea, We Met
We frequently use the word serendipity even when things are just vaguely golden, but this story of meeting Richard Prince and what he went on to do with Harper Levine on behalf of Stuart and his art definitely involved an element of serendipity.
I’ll start by telling you what happened one day. Our personal friend Harper happened to be lunching at our house with his wife Marianna. If you are unfamiliar with Harper Levine, he has a marvelous book shop and gallery in East Hampton Village and also a newer one in New York City named Harper’s Apartment or “the lounge.” By now, Stuart’s work has been exhibited in both.
To continue, we were using our collective imaginations to sort out a new way of managing both future exhibitions and Stuart’s archives. Harper’s phone suddenly rang and he actually used the famous words, “I really have to take this call.” It turned out to be the artist/collector Richard Prince, who was phoning Harper from his gallery a few miles away to express interest in Stuart’s work and to see if Harper could put him in touch with whomever handled Stuart’s estate. Well of course Harper was very pleased to be able to say he was actually having lunch with us at that very moment.
From there on evolved meetings with Harper and Richard which resulted in jointly curating a wonderful exhibition of Stuart’s work in Harper’s main gallery, titled “Yea, yea, yea”, with Richard also writing an essay for the catalog. Richard was not known for getting personally involved in this way and I was touched by his interest in my brother as an artist, not only as a Beatle. We were pleased to get to know him from several meetings, where I learned he is quite introspective and thoughtful, with an unexpected touch of wicked humor.
The essay Richard ended up writing was enormously rewarding and insightful. Catalogue essays are mostly written by poets, writers, and visual artists who have unlimited imaginations and appreciation for other artists’ work, and here Richard continued the tradition. As a psychotherapist myself I found Richard’s observations on the contrasting needs of the visual artist versus the musical artist to be acute, especially since Stuart was that unusual person who was both. In the essay Richard reminds us that the visual artist’s work is a solo endeavor and requires quietude, while in contrast to the camaraderie and collective composing and communication between bands and band members.
On to the evening of the gallery opening, Harper tried to gently cushion any over-enthusiasm we might have about Richard’s potential attendance. However, we were thrilled on that night to find not only was Richard there but also his wife. As well, there was Kevin Teare and many other artists who have been involved with us over the years – plus a huge crowd of interested people. It was altogether a memorable evening, lacking only Stuart himself to enjoy the accolades for his work.