The Squatters

The phone call that brought A.R.T. the fabulous Brit, Suzie Boyd, went so well, feeling easy enough with her to confess I smoked cigars and wore wrecked paint clothes and this and that in a list of things a prim person might find objectionable, Suzie chimed in none of that would be a problem for her, that she was as she put it, “Used to mopping up after genius types.”
Closest of friends, better than any seeing eye dog, when Suzie guided me on our way from here to there, I, for some reason, did not feel it appropriate to hold hands with a married woman, so used a little telescopic pointer, Suzie holding one end, me the other. This is a really good system in that good guides can send information through the pointer, subtle signals such as: step in to your right a bit so you don’t run into this person barreling through the airport.The day we decided to walk from our gallery to Mediterra to have a cocktail, my not having the little telescopic pointer, Suzie said she had purchased a fresh baguette and so her holding one end, me the other, off we went down Hulfish Street and into Mediterra. 
Making our way through the happy hour crowd from his bar stool a patron commented, “That must be a really heavy baguette.” When the New York Times called to do a story on me, Suzie told them she would see if I was available. Gesturing madly for Suzy to give me the phone she held the receiver out of reach giving me the look that said, “We need to make them wait.”

The owners of Princeton’s Palmer Square Inc., their many classy shops a block or less from the august ivy league university, let A.R.T. use the empty American Express street level space. We cleaned, repainted, hung track lights.

The exhibition’s opening reception a smash hit, the governor of New Jersey arguing with a high end financial wheeler dealer as to which of them had first dibs on a certain painting.

Some weeks later as I asked our team to help me take down the track lights and box up the rest of our stuff, Suzie suggested,

“Why don’t we stay?”

‘They gave us a month and we’ve been here a bit more than that already.” I said.

“Precisely,” she said. “Let’s just stay and see what happens.”

This was how A.R.T. had its own spiffy gallery for the next two and a half years.  Location location location.  And, rent free.