Keith Mayerson


57th East 46th Street


In 1999 my husband and I moved to a 1300 square foot loft on 57th East 46th street, for $1300 a month, an incredible value, even then. However, the place was dilapidated, despite our best efforts, and ultimately was haunted! We were moving stuff for the floor people the first day we occupied the space, and something fell on our poodle puppy, killing her! Upon returning from the vet, with blood on our shirts, menacing men brought us into the apartment underneath us, asking our opinion on their gross red velvet wallpaper—they were literally mobsters, opening a bordello! They asked us what we did—I exclaimed I was an artist, Andrew mentioned the truth—that he was teaching at the John Jay School of Criminal Justice—we asked them what they did, they replied, "ah, travel?!". We are "pro-sex worker," etc., but the sight of haggard looking woman coming in at night, and demonic disco music playing underneath us was too much to bear, and with the mob's trying to move us (and the police were in on it, too), Andrew fell into a deep depression, and I was having a Holden Caulfield-like "mendacity moment", thinking is really "rich white people" the audience I wanted my work to speak to? Despite having young success in the NYC, showing at exalted art spaces Jay Gurney, Mary Boone, Pat Hearn and more, I pulled all my work out of the galleries and Andrew and I packed our bags and moved to his families' cabin in the desert of California. McDermott and McGough ended up moving into our place, and another friend opened an art space below after the mob was finally chased out, but I thought I would exile myself from the artworld, and like heroes Arthur Rimbaud quietly retire but still make art in the provinces', like Cezanne! I learned my lesson, however, after a short year, and moved back to NYC, the prodigal son, with my tail between my legs, thinking if I was "wired to do this" that there were great people in the art world and to work hard and humble. This painting was done in plain air, and a haunting reflection of a time that despite its despair was Romantic, in a bleak way that helped me become the artist I am today.