Don't Look Before You Leap

I went shopping for a button last week. The button had to be two inches in diameter, match my sparkly party sweater, represent death and rebirth, and cost $7.99 or less.

Shopping within these guidelines proved daunting.  To boost my spirits, I went to the candy counter at the front of the button store and bought a handmade caramel. I popped it into my mouth, waited for it to moisten in the warm bath of my saliva, and bit down hard. The action temporarily cemented my teeth together.

The next thing I knew, a woman walked up to me and said, "Hi. You probably don't remember me, but we met at one of your art openings."

 I nodded a mute hello.

"I love your paintings," she said. "When's your next show?"

I held up my hand while I chewed and swallowed. "It opens January 23 at Instinct Art Gallery."

"Where's that?"

"In Minneapolis. On 9th and Nicollet." I leaned against the button counter. "I'm really excited about the show. It's me, Sue Coe and the Guerrilla Girls."

"Sue Coe?" she said. "That name sounds familiar."

"She's an internationally-famous English artist," I said. "She's also one of my early heroes."

"I see."

I leaned forward and assumed a story-telling stance. "Sue Coe's work is brilliant, edgy and confrontational. She was a role model for me as a young artist because of her bravery and artistic excellence." I stood up and flexed my arms. "In the 1980's I went to an art opening in L.A. and saw some of her work. It was stunning. I said to myself 'If I ever get to be in a show with Sue Coe, I'll know I've somehow arrived.'"

The woman's face, which was frozen into a stunned and respectful smile, suddenly brightened. "Sounds like now you can cross one more item off your bucket list."

"Excuse me?" I said.

"'I've been crossing items off my bucket list too." she said. "Like, I always wanted to visit the Grand Canyon, so last summer I went there with my family."

"Congratulations," I said.

"What's the next item on your bucket list?' she said. "Mine is to drink champagne in a gondola under the moonlight."

"I don't have a bucket list," I said.

"Then the first item on your bucket list should be to make a bucket list," she said. "Otherwise things could really get out of control."

"Thanks for the warning," I said.  I smiled and left the store without buying a button.

FYI: I have no intention of ever making a bucket list.

Hang on to your hats.

Sue Coe, Nancy Robinson, and the Guerrilla Girls
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 23, 6-8pm
Exhibition Run: January 23 - March 12, 2016
This is a Guerrilla Girls Twin Cities Takeover Satellite Event

Special Event: Saturday, March 5 / 6 - 7:30pm
Robyne Robinson and Nancy Robinson in Conversation

To read the press release, go to

Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Saturday,  12-5pm
Instinct Art Gallery
940 Nicollet Mall / Minneapolis, MN 55403
612.208.0696 /
twitter: @instinctMPLS
instagram: instinctmpls

Pictured art: Sue Coe, Animal Farm/ Nancy Robinson, Triple Self Portrait