Oh Pat. Oh Colin. How We Knew Them. By Linda Yablonsky
That reminds me of the day I met Pat. She called me out of the blue. Her friend Jack Pierson had given her my number, after I wrote him up for Interview. I went down to her gallery, the big three-story space at 39 Wooster, in SoHo, where she had moved in 1989. She was wondering if I could put her in touch with Lydia Lunch, the onetime punk priestess whose spoken-word act, a sultry and semiabusive rant about female self-empowerment that I had written about in Interview too. Pat was wearing a white sleeveless blouse and a pencil-slim skirt and sling-backs, her hair combed into a modest flip and held in place with a perky white headband. (Funny I remember what she was wearing; I haven't the foggiest idea how I looked.) Lydia habitually dressed in dominatrix drag. Pat wanted to invite Lydia to do a performance in her gallery. She thought Lydia was really something. That was funny, since Pat was clearly really something too. She gave me a tour of the gallery, of the exhibition on the first floor, a long white space with a concrete floor and a big skylight in the back. Her program now leaned heavily toward hardcore conceptualism and installation. Jutta Now I found out what it was like to be one of Pat's artists, though I soon found out that she was as much a writer's advocate as an artist's. There were always books on her desk and stacked on the floor beside it. They were heavy-duty books of critical theory and philosophy, art monographs and biographies. The fiction was sophisticated, or experimental, and none of it was there just for show. I did arrange a reading for her gallery, in fact a whole series. How could I say no? How could anyone? Did anyone?I can't imagine it. We called the series NightLight Readings and we did one event per month from September to May 1991. The first one was on the ground floor. We didn't have chairs, so that's where people sat, on the concrete floor. The bill included Lydia Lunch. It also had Fiona Templeton and David Wojnarowicz, who was sick with AIDS and mad as hell. He could make your hair stand on end. And that was how it went all the way through.