Tim and Jeremy are both waiters at a restaurant in downtown New York City. During slow times at work, to stave off boredom when it is slow, the two young men draw pictures. These pictures are made using ink and what is called the "Triple Dupe Pad," a book of paper used to place orders in the kitchen. The drawings usually take about a week to make, all the while also being used by fellow employees to take orders; this sometimes leads to other collaborators or in a couple cases, to the loss of the work. The drawings are then scanned and colored in Photoshop where they come to life in stunning technicolor! The subject matter varies from piece to piece, as they are made over a long course of time and under various moods and states of mind. They all retain a playfulness that serves as a coping mechanism after spending a night catering to the endless needs of hungry patrons.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

#69 August 27, 2013

(Click on the Image to Make it LARGE!)

This is a blog about art at work, and yet I have never really focused on the incredible art collection of the Cafe Loup. I have mentioned that we have a great photography collection, but I haven't gone into the detail of the fantastic works that are housed in that small section of 13th Street.
The majority of the collection was amassed by the original owners, Bruce and Roxanne Bethany. They had been collecting for some time, and put their favorites(?) inside the Loup. They bought some and some were gifts, by artists who frequented the establishment or who were friends. When they sold the place to Lloyd and Ardes in 1995, the collection stayed.
The first artist who is also a regular that comes to mind is Nancy Grossman. She still comes into the restaurant and likes to sit underneath her collage at Table 25. You have seen it if you ever came in to watch the jazz on Sundays; it hangs right behind the musicians. Grossman has worked in many different media, including leather dominatrix masks with horns and zippers. Her piece in the Loup is a little more tame, a collage made specifically for the Loup that includes the matchbooks we used to have. I can't find any pictures of it on the web, but it is similar to her collage pictured below. She even uses the circles seen on the bottom of this piece in her piece at the Loup. We used to have a large table there instead of two small ones and a piano. That used to be in my section and I spent a lot of time looking at that piece. The average amount of time that people look at a piece of art is 17 seconds. I looked at that one (and a lot of the work at the Loup) for a overall total of 17 hours. At least.

Another former guest who donated a couple pictures was the late Jim Marshall. He was a boisterous guy who would come in arm in arm with models two feet taller that he was. Broken nose, raspy voice and drinking scotch, he would control the room while at the same time being a very genial and respectful guy. In his day, he photographed all of the jazz and rock greats from the 60's until just before he died in 2010. You have no doubt seen his iconic rock 'n roll photography if you have ever opened a Rolling Stone, or just about any other publication dealing with rock. We have a couple of his prints; Janis, Jimi, Chet, Woody Allen (stoically watching over the bar), Elia Kazan, and Coltrane, but my favorite is Miles. I love that Jim got these pictures of Miles outside of the place where we usually are used to seeing him. There is no trumpet in sight, in fact, if you didn't know it was Miles, you just might think it was a picture of a boxer. But no, it's one of the greatest performers of all time. In a boxing ring.
In a fun "small world" moment, Jim and I shared a funny little story. My band, Project Jenny, Project Jan was on tour and we were playing a bunch of shows on the Left Coast. One of the stops we were playing was The Independent in San Francisco and we were staying with our friend Mike Winger. We met up with Mike as soon as we got into town and he brought us to his house. He lived in this big old San Francisco house on the upper floor. As we were climbing the stair of the front porch, I saw a sign on the mail slot of the lower level of the house that read, "Mail for JIM MARSHALL ONLY." I jokingly said, "Oh, I know that guy, the famous rock n' roll photographer." and Mike turned to me and said, "You know him?" It turned out that it was the same Jim Marshall! He and Mike were good friends as they had been living literally on top of one another for years. Mike had a bunch of prints that were given to him as gifts and Jim had even taken the Winger family portrait for their Christmas cards! I loved it. The next time I saw Jim in New York I told him the whole story and we had a good laugh over the small worldliness of it all. Now that I think of it, that may have been the last time the two of us spoke, as he died less than a year after that.

 Ken Heyman also gave us a couple pieces, one of them very recently. Ken is in his 80's now but still finds time to come in for lunch every once and a while. Him and Tim are good friends as Tim usually takes care of him when he comes in for martinis and oysters (and curiously sits under Nancy Grossman's collage). He has two pieces at the Loup. One is above Table 11, and depicts skinny-dippers at Woodstock. The other is of Ernest Hemingway, prominently hanging over the piano. I had the pleasure of waiting on him one time and he told me the story of how he got the photograph, as Hemingway was exiled in Cuba at the time and was very grumpy about people taking his picture. Ken was a youngster at the time (this being 1957) and was visiting his friend in Cuba. His friend in the U.S, when learning he was going to Cuba bet him he couldn't find Hemingway and photograph him. So Ken took that as a challenge, and upon arriving to Cuba, decided to seek out Mr. Hemingway. He found his villa after asking around and went up to visit him. At first, Hemingway blew him off, but the invited Ken to go fishing the next day. Ken didn't know where to find Hemingway on his boat, so he never went fishing, but the day after, Ken showed up at the house again and this time wouldn't leave without a picture. He hung out in his car, in which he had a transistor radio, which he was playing to pass the time. After a while, Hemingway came out and finally invited Ken to come inside. Ken asked if he could take some pictures of Hemingway, and he responded with something like, "All the most famous photographers in the world want to take my picture, why should I let you (some kid) get the chance?" But Ken had the transistor radio, and legend has it that he traded Hemingway the radio to take a couple pictures of him. The result now hangs over the piano at the Cafe Loup.

It also kind of looks like the current owner, and head chef, Lloyd. Many people think that it is Lloyd until you tell them that it is, in fact, one of America's greatest writers.
In the next post I will go into more detail about the collection, but I thought this was a good place to start. All of the artists mentioned here I have actually interacted with and have some sort of relationship with. The other artists in our collection are either dead or not having dinner with us that often.

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