Contemporary Art in the Americas Arte Contemporáneo en las Américas

Good Morning

Joshua Abelow

BFA Boatos São Paulo, Brazil 12/17/2015 – 02/20/2016

Installation view - GOOD MORNING @BFA (2)

Installation view - GOOD MORNING @BFA (3)

Reverse of 'Untitled', 2015. Joshua Abelow @BFA

Part One

1
I met a wonderful girl today
named Good Morning. She’s so
young she looks just like new. I
saw a picture of her on the Internet
getting kissed on the cheek by a
friend of mine. I wrote her to see if
I might get the opportunity to do
that too. Good Morning was
skeptical at first, but we have dogs
that bear the same name so that
helped. She agreed to meet me for
brunch and an afternoon walk
around the inside of the American
Museum of Natural History. The
first time I saw her she was
waiting for me from across the
street. It doesn’t matter what color
her hair was or what color her eyes
were or any other surface detail.
The main thing is that she was
wearing a tan coat that came down
past her knees and made her look a
little bit like a flasher. I liked her
straight off. And it only got better.

2
I’ve been spending a lot of time
with Good Morning. We’ve been
inseparable since she returned
from her trip ten days ago. Last
night we had dinner with some of
my friends. Good Morning is a
special girl. She’s real and delicate
and intelligent and funny. I’m
none of those things.

3
Today I have the flu so I’m just
lying around like a black cat
waiting for somebody to come
near me so I can slink past and
pass on the bad luck. It’s been
dreary as hell in New York lately,
but my skin is thick and I don’t get
sad the way I did a few years ago.

4
It’s Saturday night around
midnight. I’m at home with my
dog heating up a can of soup. As
recently as a few weeks ago I had
never heard of Good Morning, but
now I would be lost if Good
Morning were to find a new guy to
hang around. It’s almost
impossible to imagine us as
separate entities because we have
so much to talk about. Good
Morning went to a small private
college where she studied art and
thought about the meaning of life.

5
Good Morning took me out just
last night to meet her college
friends at a bar. All of them were
intelligent and funny like she is. I
hope some of their funny
intelligence rubs off on me.

6
Today has been as perfect as a day
can be. Honestly, it’s been that
good. Good Morning came over to
my loft last night at 1:30 AM. She
took off all her clothes and got in
bed next to the dog and me. Good
Morning went off to work early
this morning when I was still
asleep. I woke up next to a note on
the pillow next to my head that
said, “I love you.” That’s the first
time she said that. I’ve been
painting all afternoon listening to
the radio. Now I’m having tea and
a smoke.

7
It’s warm in New York City again
– not too warm – but warmer than
it’s been. My roommate came
home this afternoon and told me
she’s moving out at the end of the
month to live with her boyfriend
who’s much older than she is.
They are moving to Queens. I
went for a walk with Good
Morning in the park to think it
over. Good Morning is a good
listener. I’m not sure if Good
Morning and I are falling in love
or what it is we think we’re doing
exactly.

8
I’m watching the Grammy Awards
on television with my dog next to
me on the bed. The temperature
outside is very cold just like the
temperature inside – there is no
difference between the two. This
morning I had brunch with Good
Morning and her mom in Tribeca.
The mom and the daughter look a
lot alike. The mom once worked
for an artist in New York before
she moved out of the city with her
husband who is also a nice guy.
She called the artist a narcissist. I
made a mental note of that. Then I
went to my studio. I made some
drawings and I’m working on
some new paintings.

9
Good Morning and I are becoming
close. Our attraction is strong and
much deeper than the adult end of
the YMCA swimming pool where
I almost drowned once when I was
a child.

10
I’m in my unnamed friend’s bed
watching Seinfeld, but I’m not
paying close attention because
what I’m really doing is waiting
for my favorite show American
Idol to start. My unnamed friend is
in Tahiti with a young Brazilian
guy having the time of his life.
Meanwhile, I’m enjoying his
absence like chocolate ice cream. I
come out here to my unnamed
friend’s place once a week. It’s
quite relaxing and when I get back
to New York I’m that much
happier because I am calm. It’s
hard to feel calm when you live in
a big city like New York.
Calmness is a commodity so rare
that even the super rich can’t
afford it.

11
There is a slight depression inside
of my stomach and it is growing,
edging its way up toward my
brain. The depression is making
me hate everything I make and it’s
making me want to leave the city,
but it’s not making me hate Good
Morning. Good Morning and I are
together all the time. She has some
of my artworks hanging in her
bedroom where we sleep together
almost every night.

12
Good Morning and I went to a
museum today to see a show of
beautiful paintings by a great artist
who committed suicide. Good
Morning and I jumped right into
the paintings with our brains. It
was like we were at her parents’
house splashing around in the pool
out back. Her dad was cooking up
some burgers on the grill and her
mom was inside setting the table
for supper. Her sisters were
arguing about a boy.

Part two

1
Time sneaks up on you and before
you know it your time to be in one
place is up and suddenly you are
in a new place and you are a new
person. I’ve only been out of New
York a few months, but it is
already a different life all together.
The American Museum of Natural
History and Good Morning are far
away now. Good Morning and I
haven’t been in touch much. The
technological devices we depend
on for long distance
communication are
malfunctioning.

2
I had to see Good Morning so I
went back to New York for a visit.
My time there was good and bad.
It was good because I ate a lot of
good food. It was bad because
Good Morning and I couldn’t get
along no matter what we tried to
do. Good Morning doesn’t
understand why I left town and
she’s not making that a secret.
Good Morning is frustrated with
me and I am frustrated with Good
Morning. That’s just the way it is.
I wish I could make Good
Morning understand, but she
doesn’t want to hear it. Good
Morning is too attractive for
understanding. There are many
guys who would like to take her
out to fancy restaurants. She has a
number of outfits that are perfect
for that sort of thing.

3
Now that I’m back here in this
unfamiliar place of peaceful
thoughts where girls do not look or
talk like Good Morning, I’m
beginning to enjoy the solitude.
It’s really something to be out here
in the Midwest with my dog and
my pickup truck that gets twelve
miles to the gallon. I’m getting a
lot of work done. It’s significantly
easier to paint now that Good
Morning is out of the picture.

4
I’m attending the funeral of an
unnamed family member
tomorrow down South.
The unnamed family member was,
until two days ago, a heroin addict.
Now he’s a painting titled,
“Portrait of a Dead Man at
Twenty-Eight.” Before he killed
himself he robbed some
convenience stores because he
needed money to buy drugs. I
didn’t know he was a heroin addict
until now because nobody in the
family talks about ugliness. The
unnamed family member decided
it was better to die than to go on
being in the family. Good Morning
and all things related to Good
Morning were insignificant for at
least a few hours while I was at the
funeral.

5
I took a trip out West to meet a
friend. We both thought it would
help put the Good Morning break
up to bed. We stayed at a pleasing
hotel one night in the center of a
small town with excellent public
transportation. In each room there
was an old fashioned record player
and a stack of good records. I put
on a good record. Then I opened
the window and looked outside
and thought about Good Morning.
Good Morning is very far away I
thought to myself.

6
I left my friend and took a small
plane to a town in northern
California where hippie outlaws
do a lot of gardening. I met my
sister and some of her friends at a
small airport the size of my
thumbnail. My sister and her
friends were more relaxed than
any group of people I’ve ever seen
in my life. I was up there with
them for a week. We camped
outside on the side of a mountain.
The mountain provided, among
other things, a great place to read.
I got a suntan. Wild boars would
sometimes make a lot of noise in
the night, but we didn’t mind
because we were too drunk to care
about a damn thing.

7
I talked to some friends on my cell
phone about life in the Midwest
the other day. Everybody in New
York is curious about life here
because they’ve never been to this
part of the world before. The
Midwest is far away from New
York. It’s as far away as the moon
is from Earth. I tell my friends
about Good Morning and how
she’s ruining my life because she
won’t talk to me anymore.
Everybody says there will be good
mornings in the future, but I don’t
believe it.

8
Today was painful for some
arbitrary reason that makes no
sense to anybody, not even to
smart people who attend Ivy
League schools. Breaking up is not
an easy thing to do.

9
My physical appearance is
drawing attention because I am
wearing a big thick dark beard and
a shaved head. I look pretty scary
like I might blow something up.

10
Sometimes I romanticize the old
days in New York, which aren’t
old days at all since they just
happened a year ago. I called a
friend who lives there and he told
me not to worry about it – he says
that New York wasn’t so great then
and it’s not so great now and that I
shouldn’t turn it into something it
isn’t in my mind. My mind turns
things into things they aren’t all
the time, but I didn’t say that to
my friend. I just said, “Thanks.”

11
Now I’d like to do a brief recap of
a recent trip: I drove to New York
City in my truck a few days before
the end of the year. I spent one
night at a cheap hotel on the way.
The next day I went in through the
Holland Tunnel. This time of year
is so pretty in New York because
of all the Christmas lights and
decorations in the shop windows.
I took the truck over the
Williamsburg Bridge and followed
Manhattan Avenue all the way out
to the end where a friend of mine
lives. My friend has been living in
the same four-story walk up
apartment a long time. He likes it
there. I must admit that the appeal
of the neighborhood never made
much sense to me until this trip. It
always seemed like a hard-to-getto
kind of place. But this time it
was perfect. Even cold nights
sleeping on the floor with my dog
didn’t bother me. Then I went
down to Baltimore. I stayed one
night in the crappy one-room
apartment my friend is renting
near the north end of downtown.
We went out drinking and ended
up walking home at 4 or 5 AM
through desolate streets. I drove
back to New York for New Year’s
Eve and tried to put on a good face
for the party. The next day I went
to Good Morning’s apartment to
get some of my things. I was
shocked to see all of my paintings
and drawings still on the walls.

12
A lot of time has passed. I miss
Good Morning a great deal. If
Good Morning saw my new
paintings she would think I am an
insane person because the
paintings contain feelings of anger
and frustration. But hiding behind
the anger and frustration are good
feelings that sincerely wish she
wasn’t so far away. Although
Good Morning and the American
Museum of Natural History are
gone, I often imagine us together.
We roam the halls and she still
looks a lot like a flasher in her tan
coat.

https://www.facebook.com/boatosfinearts

Photo: Samuel Esteves
Courtesy of BFA Boatos

Installation view - GOOD MORNING @BFA (2)

Installation view - GOOD MORNING @BFA (3)

Reverse of 'Untitled', 2015. Joshua Abelow @BFA

Part One

1
I met a wonderful girl today
named Good Morning. She’s so
young she looks just like new. I
saw a picture of her on the Internet
getting kissed on the cheek by a
friend of mine. I wrote her to see if
I might get the opportunity to do
that too. Good Morning was
skeptical at first, but we have dogs
that bear the same name so that
helped. She agreed to meet me for
brunch and an afternoon walk
around the inside of the American
Museum of Natural History. The
first time I saw her she was
waiting for me from across the
street. It doesn’t matter what color
her hair was or what color her eyes
were or any other surface detail.
The main thing is that she was
wearing a tan coat that came down
past her knees and made her look a
little bit like a flasher. I liked her
straight off. And it only got better.

2
I’ve been spending a lot of time
with Good Morning. We’ve been
inseparable since she returned
from her trip ten days ago. Last
night we had dinner with some of
my friends. Good Morning is a
special girl. She’s real and delicate
and intelligent and funny. I’m
none of those things.

3
Today I have the flu so I’m just
lying around like a black cat
waiting for somebody to come
near me so I can slink past and
pass on the bad luck. It’s been
dreary as hell in New York lately,
but my skin is thick and I don’t get
sad the way I did a few years ago.

4
It’s Saturday night around
midnight. I’m at home with my
dog heating up a can of soup. As
recently as a few weeks ago I had
never heard of Good Morning, but
now I would be lost if Good
Morning were to find a new guy to
hang around. It’s almost
impossible to imagine us as
separate entities because we have
so much to talk about. Good
Morning went to a small private
college where she studied art and
thought about the meaning of life.

5
Good Morning took me out just
last night to meet her college
friends at a bar. All of them were
intelligent and funny like she is. I
hope some of their funny
intelligence rubs off on me.

6
Today has been as perfect as a day
can be. Honestly, it’s been that
good. Good Morning came over to
my loft last night at 1:30 AM. She
took off all her clothes and got in
bed next to the dog and me. Good
Morning went off to work early
this morning when I was still
asleep. I woke up next to a note on
the pillow next to my head that
said, “I love you.” That’s the first
time she said that. I’ve been
painting all afternoon listening to
the radio. Now I’m having tea and
a smoke.

7
It’s warm in New York City again
– not too warm – but warmer than
it’s been. My roommate came
home this afternoon and told me
she’s moving out at the end of the
month to live with her boyfriend
who’s much older than she is.
They are moving to Queens. I
went for a walk with Good
Morning in the park to think it
over. Good Morning is a good
listener. I’m not sure if Good
Morning and I are falling in love
or what it is we think we’re doing
exactly.

8
I’m watching the Grammy Awards
on television with my dog next to
me on the bed. The temperature
outside is very cold just like the
temperature inside – there is no
difference between the two. This
morning I had brunch with Good
Morning and her mom in Tribeca.
The mom and the daughter look a
lot alike. The mom once worked
for an artist in New York before
she moved out of the city with her
husband who is also a nice guy.
She called the artist a narcissist. I
made a mental note of that. Then I
went to my studio. I made some
drawings and I’m working on
some new paintings.

9
Good Morning and I are becoming
close. Our attraction is strong and
much deeper than the adult end of
the YMCA swimming pool where
I almost drowned once when I was
a child.

10
I’m in my unnamed friend’s bed
watching Seinfeld, but I’m not
paying close attention because
what I’m really doing is waiting
for my favorite show American
Idol to start. My unnamed friend is
in Tahiti with a young Brazilian
guy having the time of his life.
Meanwhile, I’m enjoying his
absence like chocolate ice cream. I
come out here to my unnamed
friend’s place once a week. It’s
quite relaxing and when I get back
to New York I’m that much
happier because I am calm. It’s
hard to feel calm when you live in
a big city like New York.
Calmness is a commodity so rare
that even the super rich can’t
afford it.

11
There is a slight depression inside
of my stomach and it is growing,
edging its way up toward my
brain. The depression is making
me hate everything I make and it’s
making me want to leave the city,
but it’s not making me hate Good
Morning. Good Morning and I are
together all the time. She has some
of my artworks hanging in her
bedroom where we sleep together
almost every night.

12
Good Morning and I went to a
museum today to see a show of
beautiful paintings by a great artist
who committed suicide. Good
Morning and I jumped right into
the paintings with our brains. It
was like we were at her parents’
house splashing around in the pool
out back. Her dad was cooking up
some burgers on the grill and her
mom was inside setting the table
for supper. Her sisters were
arguing about a boy.

Part two

1
Time sneaks up on you and before
you know it your time to be in one
place is up and suddenly you are
in a new place and you are a new
person. I’ve only been out of New
York a few months, but it is
already a different life all together.
The American Museum of Natural
History and Good Morning are far
away now. Good Morning and I
haven’t been in touch much. The
technological devices we depend
on for long distance
communication are
malfunctioning.

2
I had to see Good Morning so I
went back to New York for a visit.
My time there was good and bad.
It was good because I ate a lot of
good food. It was bad because
Good Morning and I couldn’t get
along no matter what we tried to
do. Good Morning doesn’t
understand why I left town and
she’s not making that a secret.
Good Morning is frustrated with
me and I am frustrated with Good
Morning. That’s just the way it is.
I wish I could make Good
Morning understand, but she
doesn’t want to hear it. Good
Morning is too attractive for
understanding. There are many
guys who would like to take her
out to fancy restaurants. She has a
number of outfits that are perfect
for that sort of thing.

3
Now that I’m back here in this
unfamiliar place of peaceful
thoughts where girls do not look or
talk like Good Morning, I’m
beginning to enjoy the solitude.
It’s really something to be out here
in the Midwest with my dog and
my pickup truck that gets twelve
miles to the gallon. I’m getting a
lot of work done. It’s significantly
easier to paint now that Good
Morning is out of the picture.

4
I’m attending the funeral of an
unnamed family member
tomorrow down South.
The unnamed family member was,
until two days ago, a heroin addict.
Now he’s a painting titled,
“Portrait of a Dead Man at
Twenty-Eight.” Before he killed
himself he robbed some
convenience stores because he
needed money to buy drugs. I
didn’t know he was a heroin addict
until now because nobody in the
family talks about ugliness. The
unnamed family member decided
it was better to die than to go on
being in the family. Good Morning
and all things related to Good
Morning were insignificant for at
least a few hours while I was at the
funeral.

5
I took a trip out West to meet a
friend. We both thought it would
help put the Good Morning break
up to bed. We stayed at a pleasing
hotel one night in the center of a
small town with excellent public
transportation. In each room there
was an old fashioned record player
and a stack of good records. I put
on a good record. Then I opened
the window and looked outside
and thought about Good Morning.
Good Morning is very far away I
thought to myself.

6
I left my friend and took a small
plane to a town in northern
California where hippie outlaws
do a lot of gardening. I met my
sister and some of her friends at a
small airport the size of my
thumbnail. My sister and her
friends were more relaxed than
any group of people I’ve ever seen
in my life. I was up there with
them for a week. We camped
outside on the side of a mountain.
The mountain provided, among
other things, a great place to read.
I got a suntan. Wild boars would
sometimes make a lot of noise in
the night, but we didn’t mind
because we were too drunk to care
about a damn thing.

7
I talked to some friends on my cell
phone about life in the Midwest
the other day. Everybody in New
York is curious about life here
because they’ve never been to this
part of the world before. The
Midwest is far away from New
York. It’s as far away as the moon
is from Earth. I tell my friends
about Good Morning and how
she’s ruining my life because she
won’t talk to me anymore.
Everybody says there will be good
mornings in the future, but I don’t
believe it.

8
Today was painful for some
arbitrary reason that makes no
sense to anybody, not even to
smart people who attend Ivy
League schools. Breaking up is not
an easy thing to do.

9
My physical appearance is
drawing attention because I am
wearing a big thick dark beard and
a shaved head. I look pretty scary
like I might blow something up.

10
Sometimes I romanticize the old
days in New York, which aren’t
old days at all since they just
happened a year ago. I called a
friend who lives there and he told
me not to worry about it – he says
that New York wasn’t so great then
and it’s not so great now and that I
shouldn’t turn it into something it
isn’t in my mind. My mind turns
things into things they aren’t all
the time, but I didn’t say that to
my friend. I just said, “Thanks.”

11
Now I’d like to do a brief recap of
a recent trip: I drove to New York
City in my truck a few days before
the end of the year. I spent one
night at a cheap hotel on the way.
The next day I went in through the
Holland Tunnel. This time of year
is so pretty in New York because
of all the Christmas lights and
decorations in the shop windows.
I took the truck over the
Williamsburg Bridge and followed
Manhattan Avenue all the way out
to the end where a friend of mine
lives. My friend has been living in
the same four-story walk up
apartment a long time. He likes it
there. I must admit that the appeal
of the neighborhood never made
much sense to me until this trip. It
always seemed like a hard-to-getto
kind of place. But this time it
was perfect. Even cold nights
sleeping on the floor with my dog
didn’t bother me. Then I went
down to Baltimore. I stayed one
night in the crappy one-room
apartment my friend is renting
near the north end of downtown.
We went out drinking and ended
up walking home at 4 or 5 AM
through desolate streets. I drove
back to New York for New Year’s
Eve and tried to put on a good face
for the party. The next day I went
to Good Morning’s apartment to
get some of my things. I was
shocked to see all of my paintings
and drawings still on the walls.

12
A lot of time has passed. I miss
Good Morning a great deal. If
Good Morning saw my new
paintings she would think I am an
insane person because the
paintings contain feelings of anger
and frustration. But hiding behind
the anger and frustration are good
feelings that sincerely wish she
wasn’t so far away. Although
Good Morning and the American
Museum of Natural History are
gone, I often imagine us together.
We roam the halls and she still
looks a lot like a flasher in her tan
coat.

https://www.facebook.com/boatosfinearts

Photo: Samuel Esteves
Courtesy of BFA Boatos

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