Yesterday, I gave a big, honkin’ presentation in my Oulipo class on a famous Oulipian named Harry Mathews. Today, I gave an even bigger presentation for Anne Wilson’s class on seminal 20th century artist Miriam Schapiro. (I’ll be posting about her before long, especially in light of your intelligent, important comment yesterday, Kathryn Darnell!)
During my research on the late Ms. Schapiro — who I selected to research because of her use of fabric and quilt motifs in her art — I found an early painting of Schapiro’s for sale through a gallery in Canada. There was a button on the gallery’s website that said: “Send Me Information About This Artwork”.
I clicked. I was curious and clicking didn’t cost a cent. How much would an early (smallish) painting by Miriam Schapiro be? She is a really big deal in the world of fine art, but how much would it be? I had to know. I’m not in the market for high art at this point in my life, so I really had no idea. What if it was a lot but not like, so much that I couldn’t take out a loan and buy it?? I’m already in debt for student loans. What’s an extra $100 bucks a month for the next few years, right? I connect to this artist’s work and though I do spend a lot on shoes, I don’t have a car, I use plain soap in the shower (as opposed to fancy body wash, not that I’m judging), and life is short.
The painting is $55,000.
My calculator tells me that if I paid $100/month for that work of art — this is the limit of what I could afford right now — it would take 550 months to pay it off. That’s 45 years. I’d be 82 when that artwork was mine and I didn’t even count taxes or interest on the loan I’d need to secure it in the first place.
So…that is not going to happen. Not yet, anyway.
Boy, do I want that painting, though. I keep thinking about it. I keep picturing myself as the kind of person who owns an early Miriam Schapiro, you know? She seems so cool, that person. Except that I’d probably have to get a new condo just to make sure I had the proper wall for it. Then I’d have to make sure I always wore something that complimented the painting, of course, and I’d have to be perfectly coiffed in case someone popped by for Champagne, dahhling, just to see “my Schapiro.” As I fantasized, the painting kept doubling in price.
C’est la vie. It was fun while it lasted. And in the spirit of that sort of fun, I thought I’d make a short list of other things I want that I cannot have because they cost too much money. What about you? Do we overlap?
Before the list, of course, more than any of these things, I want health and happiness for my family. I want a long life for myself and for my kith and kin and I want a savings account that will provide for me and all of them, too. I want world peace immediately. I want to start a theater with my friend Sophie. I want to build a library in my mother’s name. I want to make a foundation for quilt studies. I want all the broken hearts to have peace tonight. I want to forgive and be forgiven. All this is what I really, actually want. But now that I’ve made that clear, let’s talk ridiculous, material fantasies. I’m pretty sure it’s harmless fun. Pretty sure.
Fantasy (Material) Want List
- That Miriam Schapiro painting.
- Like, so many other pieces of art.
- A full-time housekeeper.
- A full-time chef.
- A VIP/Platinum-whatever pass thingy for all the airlines so I can fly first class and go to the nice lounges in the airports (I’d just be doing homework in there but wow.)
- New Oriental rugs! (Have you priced legit Oriental rugs lately?? Insane.)
- New luggage (Nevermind!)
- WARDROBE OVERHAUL! I mean, hello.
- A new condo so I can get my little doggie, Philip Larkin (but I would keep this one and rent it out because even in my fantasy life, I know the value of a dollar and having rental income would help pay the bills.)
- A lifelong vacation plan. Not a lifelong vacation, mind you: A plan that funds a vacation every year for the rest of my life. And for my sisters. A lifelong sister vacation plan. [This last thing might go into the list of things that I would want first, you know? It seems less material and more… More important.]