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  • There was so much in my life that was in transition the summer of the 6 Painters show.
    I went in with one set of expectations and came out with another.

    The first meeting separated the group of 6 into 2 sets of 3.
    That was the way the rooms were laid out, 3 in each room.
    But Marina and Bruce were a couple and I took to them right away so we shared the back room.

    They spent part of the year in Vermont in a stone house they were building and I was trying to spend time in Maine in a house made of wood.
    We bonded over garden talk, tools and Art Making.
    They had gone to the Cooper Union and were taught by the generation that created the New York art world, the Abstract Expressionists.
    This was the last intellectual movement in the art world in the old European tradition.

    That summer my, soon to be, if we didn’t break up first, husband had a studio visit arranged.
    He was jealous of my show and I was young and not sensitive to that.
    But he had a studio visit arranged with the head of the White Columns Gallery, located around the corner from our tiny rent stabilized apartment.

    When the date of the studio visit arrived, the director did not.
    He had been replaced.
    The new director did have a glance at my husband’s portfolio and pronounced it too derivative of the Abstract Expressionists.
    He was looking for something new.

    That something new was displayed several weeks later in the front window.
    A row of gleaming Hoover vacuum cleaners on Lucite stands stood like an army of robots.
    The future had arrived.

    The next year we saw the vacuums, the Hoovers, again, at the Pompidou Center.
    We were clearly out of the loop!
    By that time we had been to Germany for a small exhibit of ours and learned a few words.
    The word for vacuum cleaners, in German is “saugen”, literally to suck.
    We made a sentence using “saugen” to express our scorn.

    But that scorn did not change the fact that the vacuum artist became massively famous.
    As my husband’s Mother might say: ”You should be so lucky as to suck as much as that guy!”

    What did come out of that 6 Painters show was a dose of life lessons, not the success that I craved.
    I made a friendship that endures, to this day.

    Our collective work was labeled “Outsider Art” by a world that went in another direction.
    But our friends continue on their path as we do on ours and they have always inspired me.
    They have helped us to know that what we do matters, even if it is not of value to the culture we live in.

    I am grateful that my path crossed theirs that summer.
    We now travel through life together.
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