A famous abstract artist was proud of his thoughtful, expressive paintings. He had a large number of paintings ready for his newest show and decided to exhibit it at a new gallery that had a proper understanding of the timeless quality of his work. The old gallery thought an art show was all about selling the paintings and kept suggesting ridiculous, themed shows.
The artist was tired of selling his paintings to bank presidents and hospitals. His work should hang in museums and palaces, with an occasional painting sold to a university to inspire future generations. Yes, the new gallery understood him. They assured him that they would do a public showing, as a service to the community, and then send pictures out to their more exclusive clients.
The artist flicked his wrist and turquoise drops of paint splattered the surface. He dipped his brush in the paint again and flicked his wrist just so. There, all done. He’d call this one, the Sound of Dripping Water. He’d pair it with the one he finished a month ago, the Taste of Sunshine.
The artist worked with the gallery on all the details of his upcoming show. They’d found him an ornate chair to sit on, and raised it on a stand so he could better see what was going on in the room. He would arrive after the show started. The live band would pause and the trumpets would play a duet as he entered the room and strode down the red carpet to his chair.
“Are you sure it isn’t too over the top?” he asked the gallery owner.
“Nonsense,” the owner said. “This is your best show yet. The public are clamoring for invitations to the event. I may have to set up additional showings to make sure that there aren’t riots.”
“Really?” the artist asked.
“Of course. You’re a household name. Perhaps we should hire additional security to keep you safe,” the gallery owner said.
The artist could already imagine the applause and admiring glances. “Perhaps you should help me pick out an outfit?”
“I thought you’d never ask!”
The artist was thrilled with his expensive new suit and gladly signed yet another check to the gallery owner for his services. This was going to be the best show yet. He couldn’t wait.
The paintings were hung, the band was playing, and he could hear the murmur of the crowd. It was time. The trumpets started their duet. He entered and walked down the red carpet through the crowds of cheering fans. He waved as cameras clicked and flashed. It was incredible.
Just then, there was a pause in the music. The crowd stilled. Should he stop and say something? Were they waiting to hear his words of wisdom? He stopped and the moment stretched out.
And then, from the back of the crowd, he could hear a child’s voice. “But mom, they’re all just scribbles. They don’t look like anything really. I think he stole them from a kindergartener.”
There was a stunned silence and the audience roared with laughter. People began to point at the pictures in their elaborate frames and laugh. Even band members were trying to hide their chuckles. The artist lifted his chin. The show must go on. “Play on,” he said. He strode down the carpet to the chair looming over the gathering.
The rest of the show was awkward, but he tried to have a sense of humor about it. Perhaps he had been taking himself too seriously. Next year, he’d go back to the old gallery. They had suggested a circus theme for his next show. That could be fun.