Soho Selfie

Quick sketches at Hauser & Wirth press preview, 13 Nov 2018, by William Eaton (quote from Phyllida Barlow)

I went to a store on the Bowery, opposite the new New Museum, to get a big board of some kind,

So my friends and I could pin up our drawings for an art exhibition in my living room.

But I was told that on the Bowery they don’t sell boards any more.


I saw some very nice bowls.

But I don’t need any more bowls.

I was sent to Metropolitan Lumber and Hardware in Soho.


I rarely even pass through Soho anymore.

But I used to live there.

After I got my board, 4’x8’, and was carrying it through the streets, I remembered an old movie in which the star carries a big abstract painting through Soho.


Later I read on the Web that the movie, from 1978, was “set in Soho during its Bohemian early days as an art colony.”

In 2019 in Soho – and then carrying my board through the West Village, Astor Place, the East Village – not unlike the “liberated woman” in the movie, I got looks.

I wondered how many NYU students could still connect with this oldish idea of a liberated woman, and how many had ever seen such a large piece of lumber before (or a 64-year-old man carrying something so bulky)?


I had to go a long way to get to where I live now.

Bleecker Street – the old folk and blues scene

Washington Square Park, which, before NYU took it over . . .

The Jeff Koons rabbit inside the real-estate developer’s building that used to be part of Cooper Union

St. Marks Church – Anne Waldman, Paul Blackburn, Allen Ginsberg, Carmen Beuchat, Pooh Kaye; Richard Foreman’s Ontological-Hysteric Theater

East 13th Street, where I had my first apartment and my friend Sarah lived long before she got cancer

My arms were getting quite tired; at times I had to stop and rest or carry the board on my head.
I remembered when my first wife was carrying her suitcase on her head, walking through Grand Central, and the New York Times took her picture.


And when I got home I discovered that the board didn’t fit in the elevator.

And once I had hauled it up 10 flights of stairs, little pieces breaking off as I wrestled it around the corners, I discovered that the board didn’t fit in my new apartment either.

All I had was my poem.

— Poem and drawings by William Eaton

Drawings are from a 2018 press preview at Hauser & Wirth in Chelsea. The quotation in the middle of the display is from the British artist Phyllida Barlow whose work was on exhibit and with whom I had a brief but rich conversation.

Please check out the new site, full of artworks! And you can follow it, too.

Here’s the movie and a still from the sequence recalled above:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.