I FOUND THIS underneath my car seat today. The original is on stiff parchment paper, which has barely aged.
It's a letter, dated October 18, 1956, from the Museum of Modern Art, rejecting a "Shoe" drawing that Warhol offered to donate to them. If you click on the image, you can read it actual-size.
No, my car isn't this old. I wonder if the letter's appearance is due to a very happening ride I took with some paintings of Casey Sonnabend's, a 70+ year old artist who is currently living in his van in Santa Cruz, but who has painted non-stop for fifty years.
Casey knows— and has outlived— all his contemporaries. He studied with Kokoschka, photographed Greenwich Village in its heyday, listened to David Crosby's first confessions about how he planned to sell out, and seemed to in the oily paint of every , Big Sur and North Beach scene. All the while painting— my partner calls him the "original icono-classicist."
Casey's storage space if filled with thousands of paintings, photographs, and mementos from comrades now long gone. This letter must have been stuck to one of the canvases, and then slipped underneath my Tinkerbelle floor mat.
I have a soft spot for rejection letters. Of course I've been mortally wounded by quite a few. I've agonized over any one I've ever written.
This is a particularly courteous rejection letter— I've never received one with such careful language. Is is a relic of the past? Has anyone been rejected by MOMA lately?— Are they still this delicate?
Manners aside, MOMA might be kicking themselves now over this turn-down. Andy's "shoes" are everywhere. I even have some stationery and matching envelopes with his high heels strewn all over them.
UPDATE: A reader in the know has just informed me that this "letter" is in fact a reproduction that's being included in some special purse that's being sold to customers today. Now I am more confused than ever, as I have not been the recipient of a new purse or any swag with Warholian accessories! However, I don't want to erase my post altogether because I did want to talk about Casey, and rejection, and the art world... so I'll leave it with this update. Tinkerbelle strikes again!