Things often really do work out in unforeseen ways. Of course, they can take their time doing so. On September 28, 2007, I wrote about this:
“I received an e-mail today from a university that owns one of my artworks, purchased several years ago by a facility’s director, to be permanently installed in the lobby. Now there’s a new director, who has suddenly decided that there is “no appropriate space” for my piece. Like a government taking over a nation and pulling down iconic statues, indicators of the previous regime’s viewpoint must disappear.
But in this case, a rare one, I’m fortunate, because the institution has offered to return the artwork to me, rather than to destroy it as governments generally do. I’ll be able to sell it again, or, more likely, donate it, and allow it to continue to speak to those who may see a bit of truth in it. (I’ve told the school that I consider their original purchase price to be a six-year rental fee).”
What I didn’t write about was how awful this made me feel at the time, even though I was aware that the disregard had nothing to do with either the work or me. By the time the piece was returned, (about a year after the e-mail: hey, traffic is bad in Chicago), I was enmeshed in a similar situation (but this time, it was about me and my work). I didn’t even unpack the piece to look at it. I couldn’t risk revisiting the past pall of negativity due to the chink that might have made in the armor I needed to keep functioning. I hauled the crate off to my warehouse and forgot it.
A couple of days ago, the piece became part of a permanent museum collection and will be exhibited later this year. It was asked for specifically, and I happily donated it, since it had already been purchased once. For me, this vindicates past chicanery, and reinforces what always sounds like a very tired platitude while you are suffering from a blow: “There is something much better waiting.”