Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pollyanna's Progress

At considerable risk of being a Pollyanna, I have to say I am grateful for the many gifts that life unexpectedly brings along, like a friend who, after a long day of physical labor, rides her bike home from Manhattan to Brooklyn, and stops by to put together the plumbing that I in my idiocy had torn apart. The option of picking up and going somewhere completely new, where nobody would think of swinging by to fix my j-bend, looks less and less appealing.

On a different note, here is another unexpected gift:
You either like this kind of thing or you totally don't see the point. I had felt the space above my sofa needed a good big canvas but could not afford anything I remotely wanted. One day not long ago I walked into Time Galleries on Fifth Ave around 16th Street and saw this leaning against a bureau. I knew instantly it was the right size for the space and it had something I liked-- an anarchic, in-your-face 1960s energy, with blues that pop out at you and casual blobs of orange.
I checked for a signature and found one--Jim Tiroff, '61. The price I negotiated was less than a dinner for two at a good restaurant. I still couldn't really afford it, but bought it anyway.

Then I started looking for information on Jim Tiroff. If you Google him, he turns up as a member of the Living Theater group, a Texan by birth described as "a gifted graphic artist" and a person who staged happenings that involved taking off his clothes and impersonating clergymen (not at the same time.) Maybe he even knew Jackson Pollock.

A little more digging revealed that a marriage of just over two years ended in divorce in September 1975. In December of that year he died of a heroin overdose at the age of 36. One day I will head to Lincoln Center to comb through the archives of the Living Theater to see what else I can discover about this vigorous young artist. Until then, a little bit of Jim Tiroff is still there acting crazy on my wall, and I like it.


  1. great find! congratulations.

  2. Hi,

    How do I contact you? I have a strong interest in Jim Tiroff?


  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. You can email me at


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Anglo-Brooklyn by Joy Holland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.