Christian French “My Father was a very lucky fellow…”
a vatican installation and a story about a discovered buried treasure.
Current Highest Bid $152.00 (Bidder #19)
AUCTION BY CANDLE: 2.13.16 – 3. 5.16
During this month’s run, studio e will exhibit a mini-installation by Christian French – including the newly discovered, previously hidden mason jar piece – in the vatican, and conduct a concurrent silent auction of a sort for this unique item.
On March 5th, there will be a closing event at the gallery that will include the ending of the auction, by candle, and a raffle. Since no one knows (other than Christian) what the promised reward and the art are, and in keeping with the spirit of adventure embedded within the piece, we decided to hold an auction for the jar. The winner of the auction will have the right to return the jar and all of its contents to the artist and claim the “art” and “reward” as referred to in the note. They can follow those instructions and receive their reward from Christian, or they might decide to keep that potential in the bottle (like a genie) and save the piece in its entirety.
Some people (like gallerist Beth Cullom) might say the true art is the jar, note, coins, faded lottery ticket, and story. Some people are willing to gamble that there’s more here than meets the eye.
To register for your bidder number please attend the opening this Saturday 6-9pm or call or e-mail the gallery. Everyone who registers to bid will be entered in a drawing to receive a small print, to be held as a part of the closing event.
To place a bid, or find out current top bid please check back here.
Starting bid has been set by the current owner of the piece, who found it while metal detecting in Discovery Park.
How This Mason Jar Ended Up at studio e
Last summer a friend introduced me to Seattle-based artist Christian French, since I was interested in showing his works at Studio e’s rotating exhibit space, the vatican. Though Christian was interested in my coming to view some of his work, he was leaving for a month-long trip and said he’d contact me when he returned.
Except he didn’t.
Then, last January at my other job, I was chatting with my friend Mark Joseph, a local shade-maker who had stopped by to drop off a swatch of fabric for a customer. Apropos of nothing, Mark asked if I’d ever heard of some guy named Christian French.
“Christian French?” I responded. “Yes, I know him! He was going to show work in the Vatican. Why?”
Mark proceeded to tell me a story. Over the weekend, enjoying his hobby of metal detecting at Discovery Park, he was way off trail when his detector suddenly went nuts, signaling a find. Digging at the spot, his shovel soon struck something. He pulled from the earth an old Mason jar with a heavy lead lid. The jar had a hairline fracture, so a hint of moisture had penetrated, but was otherwise perfectly intact. Opening it carefully, he found inside three patinated Sacajawea coins, a faded lottery ticket, and a note.
The note read: This Artwork Buried Here in Discovery Park by Christian French is part of a series of treasures buried June 29th 2006. Please follow instructions on reverse and Return for art work and Reward. It was signed with a large red X.
About a week later, I arranged to meet with Christian French at a coffee shop, where I acted a bit put out that he’d failed to get back in touch with me. In fact, I told him, I didn’t need to go to his studio because I’d already found what I want to exhibit in the vatican. From my bag I pulled the old Mason jar and set it squarely on the table in front of him.
The look on his face was indescribable! It turns out that he had planted four of these lucky jars in disparate locations around the city. Ten years had come and gone.
This is the only jar to have been found of the four that were buried in 2006.
-dawna holloway studio e gallery
was a show at CoCA in 2006. At the time I was beginning to explore some ideas I had about mapping, specifically mapping relationships between objects, and about creating maps through the relationships between the objects as presented and arranged. (I won’t belabor the idea that presenting artwork in Seattle sometimes feels like hiding it in plain sight). I can’t say that it was an installation per se, nor that it was a performance, although there was an action behind the “maps” in the show. That act was, namely, burying objects of undetermined value. Most of the objects were mason jars with lottery tickets good for all drawings during the run of the show, plus 3 goldish coins (three is a magic number), and a note with instructions on what to do for anyone that might discover the piece.
Growing up in South Florida, in the ‘70s, there was an ever present relationship to the ocean, and more romantically, to pirates and sunken treasure. I had a replica golden real de a ocho kept as a talisman, and a mnemonic device, in case I saw one as I wandered the beach (for that matter, I even discovered a real gold coin in my mother’s purse, but that’s a different story). There is a charge to things lost and then found, whether discarded by accident (like a shipwreck), hidden on purpose (like a pirate’s chest) or deliberately tossed to the winds (like a message in a bottle which, ok, is tossed to the waves, but still).
I buried at least 4 objects. I made maps of varying levels of obscurity, with enough authenticity embedded that they should help me retrace my steps. The show came and went. My parrot left me. I moved on.
Ten years later one of these 4 pieces has come back to us, unbidden.
Sought me out, as it were. Demanded to be recognized. There’s a special kind of magic in that.