Smashed urn [Han dynasty]. Smashed heart [mine].

In my last post, all I did was move a rock a few inches. Look what he did.

Contemporary artist and political rabble-rouser Ai Weiwei dropped a Han dynasty urn. The event is memorialized in a sequence of three black and white photos. Last February, at a Sotheby’s auction in London, a set (#3 of 8) was estimated to sell from $200,000-300,000. It sold for $1,091,000.

I saw these in the Pace Gallery. They weren’t photos, though. They were much larger than the original pics.

The pixilation only revealed itself upon close inspection.

These are made from thousands of tiny Lego bricks.



April 11, 1993

Margret called. She such a racist pig—always making some crack about gays or blacks—but she’s so stunningly beautiful that I get woozy and forget all about it when she pays attention to me. What a body. She was bitching and moaning about men. It’s been an endless parade of mama’s boys who live at home and can’t stand on their own two feet. She called them spineless. I told her I was going to the Bahamas with Lauren and she said she’d miss me, which I know isn’t true.

She asked me if I’d write and layout her brother’s resume. (I knew she was calling for a reason.) I playfully said I’d only do it if she begged me. That I love it when she begs. She played along and said in a breathy, erotic voice, “Oh, Mark, please do it for me. I need it. PLEASE…” We both had a good laugh. Then she called me a bastard, which was also kind of erotic. We’re going to Chinatown tomorrow night for dinner. I love Chinatown. It’s one of my favorite neighborhoods.

Worked until 8:00 and brought home a grilled kofta from the Afghani kabab joint on Houston. Superb.

[Note: What follows is my first meeting with a girl who knocked the life out of me. It took a long, long time to recover. It’s interesting to read about a precise moment that had such profound and long-lasting implications, but to not have any idea at the time. My present self wants to reach into the past and scream a warning. In the break-up, I got New York and she got Omaha.]

I was outside The Public Theater on Lafayette waiting for Klinger. We had tickets for an Irish Rep production. That guy is habitually late. He does it to take control. So passive/aggressive. I took a seat on a steam pipe and watched the big parade. A pretty girl standing next to me looked down and said, “Would you like a BLT?” I thought she was kidding but she pulled a sandwich out of her bag and handed it to me. I told her to pull up a steam pipe.

She was waiting on her roommate, who was also late. We cursed them. She was easy to chat-up. Younger than me. Tall with a long mane of willowy brown hair. Pretty eyes. Smoked incessantly. She’s an actress so I think I’m doomed. [Note: You have no idea, youngblood.]

Curtain time approached and there was no sign of Klinger or her roommate so I told her she should join me, to which she agreed straight away. I tried to give her the bum rush into the building, hoping that idiot Klinger wouldn’t show up at the last second but, of course, he did because that’s what he does. I could’ve killed him. Later that evening he told me I should’ve waved him off.

I gave her my phone number and she called. Laura. I told Betsy and she said that because of the unusual circumstances surrounding our meeting, she’s THE ONE.

I’m having Candace over for dinner again on Thursday after her therapy session with her girlfriend, which is never boring.

53 thoughts on “Smashed urn [Han dynasty]. Smashed heart [mine].

  1. Wow — how precious it is to have recorded something that is going to resonate with you (and us, I hope!) for such a long time. And what a great opening line! And *she* rang *you*! I might have bad luck but I can’t remember a single occasion when a girl to whom I have given my number has actually called.

    I look forward to the further instalments in the tale of your ruin 🙂

  2. The grilled kofta sounds more appetising than either of the women in this post. On balance I prefer the first one because she wasn’t smoking. Incessant smoking is a form of self medication. Yet I’ve heard there are men who find it sexy. Did you?

  3. I often think back to those fateful first meetings of people who later became important in my life. I didn’t hit it off right away with any of the people who eventually became my closest friends, and the girlfriends I immediately connected with all turned out to be ticking time-bombs. Met a few crazies in my time who I didn’t realize were nuts for a long, long time. And you start going back and reanalyzing those first meetings and interpreting them much differently.

    If there’s art that speaks to me it’s Lego art.

  4. A very smashing blog.
    Cooper Hewitt design museum has lots of Lego Art for sale.
    Beautiful girls like Margret think they can spew whatever they want. Nobody will castigate them because we might lose the chance to have sex with them. The power of the vagina always wins.
    That chance encounter with Laura sounds like something right out of a movie or an episode of “Girls”. It might pain you but we want more, please!

    • Thanks, Tom. Glad you liked it. It was even more fun to actually live. You’re correct about beautiful girls. They can get away with just about anything. I never once called Margaret out. I never slept with her so I should’ve! All that effort for nothing.

  5. Love the Lego piece, sorry about your broken heart.
    The Phoenix Art museum has a series of pieces – I think 9? – that look like pixalted faces. Close up, you see they’re made with coffee-stained sugar cubes!

    • Thanks for your condolences but my heart has recovered bigly since then. 24 years is more than enough time to get over it. I only needed SOME of those years. Note all of them.

      I love art that reveals itself to be something other than what you initially thought it was. It’s two-for-one.

  6. False values. Accidentally drop a beautiful plate and we burst into tears because something we loved is broken.Chuck a 4,000 year old pot onto a cement floor and call it art.

  7. I give you credit for being strong enough to relive this years later. I’ve tossed all of the remnants from painful liaisons. Of course, visuals of them come flocking back during the occasional 2:00am nightmare. That’s scary enough. – Marty

    • I appreciate that but it doesn’t take all that much courage. Remember, this was almost 25 years ago. Who holds on for that long?! I couldn’t have done it one year later but it’s receded pretty far in my rear view mirror.

  8. Am I the only one who was squirming completely?

    OK, I hate the smashed urn. But I couldn’t tell if it was real or only pictured in legos. In spite of knowing that it’s all temporary, I think that old stuff is important.

  9. The lego prints(?) remind me of a Picasso sculpture I saw once that was made entirely from dinky cars.
    Like you (and most people), I had one of those painful relationships that has a real serious impact (that’s how my blog got started). Maybe she was like the lego prints – looked whole from a distance but on closer inspection was a black and white construct (is that what the smashed urn is communicating?). Seeing the lego prints maybe triggered a Laura moment for you.

    • I don’t know what a dinky car is! I’ll Google it momentarily. You are correct that we all have that shared horror in our past. It’s one of the slender threads that binds us all together. A shared human experience. Necessary but best gotten through as quickly as possible.

      The smashed earn was more a response to what I did in the previous post to the rock installation. Thanks, as always, for visiting.

  10. Am I the only one who had a soundtrack going in my head as I read about your “meet cute” or was it just because I’m hungry and dinner isn’t ready yet? 😉

    I read about Weiwei, but this work was far too self indulgent and removed from my pedestrian life for me to have a serious comment.

    xoxxo (dinner is ready)

  11. Incredible! <~~ French accent, please. Who knew lego could be so genius?

    You and your birds are ever so interesting.

    "Tell Laura not to cry, my love for her….will never die."

    • I didn’t meet her! She’s meet me! I was minding my own business, stewing that my friend was late and the next thing I knew, I was a hot mess. I didn’t see it coming.

      I got nowhere with three racist girl, despite my best efforts.

  12. I have an enormous amount of respect for Wei Wei, he never shies from his theme, he does what he feels he needs to regardless of the threat of imprisonment. We tiptoe round these beautiful old objects as if they’re gods while half the world starves. Okay if we learnt something from staring at them in their bulletproof cases, but all we do is moon and move onto the next thing. I know his smashing didn’t change anything, but one has to try. Anyway, the resultant Lego pieces are tremendous.

    You had a rocky road to your current, settled life.

    • That guy went to jail for his art! Can you imagine such a thing?! Honestly, I don’t think I could do it. His stuff is consistently fascinating to look at. Not all of it works–you can say that for ANY artist–but it’s rarely dull. That’s the trick.

      My road was rocky but it was so much fun. I have such fond memories. Even of the ditches.

      • He’s been under house arrest; detained on and off; imprisoned for 81 days without charge; the government demolished his studio; arrested his assistants (and wife), one of whom is still missing 6 years later, and he is constantly under surveillance while his studio is regularly ransacked by police. All because his art – and lifestyle – questions.

        Glad your road was fun.

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