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1967-7-21 Letter To Rockmore (2632Post. SF) From Shirley(BRLA) - about Larry, Noel & Shirley - includes Rockmore Response

July 21, 1967

Dear Noel,

            Had lunch with Larry, later joined by Bill Russel, in the courtyard of Larry’s latest tenant operation - a creole restaurant on Bourbon Street.  In the middle of the courtyard rests a large marble bath tub, a great bargain from somewhere, with what resembles a flower of evil floating in its murky water.

            Already you get the picture, so I’ll spare you a blow by blow description of lunch.  All I can say is you fellows will have to communicate (or non-communicate) through another medium.  In spite of the fact that I was really delighted to see really like this impossible guy and in spite of the fact that I consistently ignored his barbs - he finally provoked me into using the cutting edge of my tongue - with the result that we both suffered internal bleeding.

            Speaking of communication - next time I write it will be on something easy like “symbolism and imagery in literature and art (literature and art - don’t you hate the patronizing ring of those two words), a comparison of the work of Rockmore, Nuller and Nabokov”, rather than an impossibly difficult one like “Rockmore, Borenstein and Marvin - communicating the uncommunicable”

            Lest I seem to be communicating nothing but hostility - let me add I love the sketchbook and look forward to the one in August.  Bear with me friend.

            Also - Alan, Sandy, Billie and Deedee, and possibly Bill Russell will be at the Music Tent at Stanford U - July 24-29 .

            Will write more on your work, later.


Dear Shirley

            Just received your letter - you ask what do I want from you - I don’t want to hear about Borenstein again please.  Stop purchasing from that PIG or stop informing me of same - I have no right to ask former but I do the latter -

            I want your help now - not money in that slob’s pocket - not ever in mine - I want a major purchase from you at Greer - maybe the octagon - that would really help my career in the most concrete way possible as well as really augment you collection - remember you and I talked a long time ago about a promise of yours to acquire a big “machine” work - now the “Astrologer” and “Sorcerer” are too large, but the octagon is a truly capital work and only 60" in diameter.

            The “Butterfly Hunter” 20x50" is less important but would also be a fair purchase - or either of the 2 - 40x50" patios or the 28x36" “Bill Russell with Bird” - your purchase of any of these 5 works would be a capital one for any collection and would automatically help this most important of my shows off to the good start it so obviously deserves - if you have limited funds you of course have the right to buy what you wish but why (I am only asking) an early work when I need help on the coming show of incomparably superior work? - I can only be depressed by your new acquisition for these reasons -

            There is no doubt that much of the show will sell - the work is consistently fantastic in quality for the 1st time - but emotionally I so much want you to acquire a major work from it.  I only hope things like “The Poet’s Dream” (I don’t remember it - is it the large oil with Russell Thomas and kite that Borenstien bought when I was starving for $17.00 (seventeen)?)  Fine as they may be don’t render this less possible for you.

            Believe me I need purchases at the show - I need to escape forever from the nightmare of the Borenstein usery and get my career to finally equal my work -

            You and a few other discerning collectors are the most essential link in that chain - you have helped often and you know I realize that but I just hope you have the money and the guts to take a real plunge and acquire something in the show that I feel is major no matter how difficult - it will look mild in 5 years compared to what I expect to be doing by then.

            I enclose shot of me with octagon just before we crated it for N.Y. - Greer wants me back to work on catalogue etc - so I will finally leave S.F. and the disgusting West Coast Sun. Aug 20th -

            I only miss N.O. as usual but as time passes not ever running into the Beast is worth what I have lost -

            I am planning a memorial family portrait for my collection only in a tryptich next fall and 2 new books as well as papers for the next show so all is O.K.

            Don’t get mad it’s not worth it and take care and beware of Poets and Dreams


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