Sunday, May 31, 2009

TIME IS GOLD functional art by J. Guevara L.E.S.

Words by Jesse Gee
Photographs by Ken Francis


Time is the most valuable thing you own. I say this to people and they all agree and shake their heads
Yes it is -everyone agrees 100%       ,     but         ,        what do you do with that time?????
Then I get a blank look.

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The TIME IS GOLD clock series speaks to that very issue. There is no refund on time . It's what you cannot recover as the day goes  , the hour, or the minute or the seconds.
Its to be treated with care and respect and you must remember that TIME- cannot be given to people or projects that do not appreciate it.

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The clocks are functional art ------$350.00.   15" X 21"
a real clock (AA) sits in a hand built wooden case and is plush with colors (acrylic) that vibrate with the blurr of seconds and of minutes that represents the fleeting thing we call " our life."
Guevara's strokes make you feel the speed in which life can be one way one day and one way the next.

I had a lady stand in front of one of the clocks ,and say to me. "That's why I am so angry. Its not that my boyfriend dumped me -Its the time (3 years ) he took from me. "It's that time you were talking about that makes me angry."
I told her to love herself and move through that anger . I then smiled and said "That will be $75.00 for the session " It made her laugh and come back from the deep moment she had experienced in front of a total stranger.

To Much information. !!!!!!

I have sent a letter to : White House Curator William Allman in Washington D.C.
Mr. Guevara has made one called "Time for Change" That he are donating to the "Committee for the Preservation of the White House".

Guevara was born in Venezuela and despite being over 50yrs old , having an established career, moved his life to New York to seek the changes he needed in his life .  He knew that "Time was Gold" so he packed his bags six years ago and ended up as permanent resident of the United States, living and working in the Lower East Side of New York . 

-Jesse Gee


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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Jesse Gee Talks Stewart Unger, Master Watch Collector

Words by Jesse Gee, curator
Photographs by Ken Francis


I first met Stewart Unger in 1974 or 75. When we work at things for a long time Life becomes a blurrrrrr.

I was the manager of Gindi 816 Madison Ave @ 68th street. I was the President of the Madison Ave Block Association Merchants and a Maditude (Maidison Ave -retail attitude) person. Ha-ha

Stewart was at a metting wearing a vintage watch that I admired and the next day he showed up with a box of rebuilt American vintage watches (Hamilton-Bulova_Waltham-Ect). Bob Gindi had three stores and all three featured the top accessories designers of the 1970's. Bob was a brillant merchadiser but never paid his bills so that combo made for an interesting week.

Stewart and I made an arraingment so that he could get paid as the watches sold and the rest is history. He was a great vendor and his smooth low key manner got us through a very stressful Gindi experience. I used to call it Bobbyitis.

Years later in the 1980s I ran in Stewie and I told him I had an inevitable fight with Bob Gindi (of course) and opened up
J. Antonio in the West Village at 39 Christopher Street, New York. I asked him for some watches and he told me Bobby told him not to sell any watches to me. He also mentioned he was going to open his own place on Madison Ave and if I needed a job, to call. " Your the best watch seller I have ever met."

Years later in 1990, Jose Antonio had died and I moved to Seattle Washington and opened THE WATCH DOCTOR 711 on Thrid Ave. I later Graduated from The National Association of Watch and Clock collectors in Pennsylvania and moved back to New York in 1997.

That same year while strolling down Madison Ave I found TIME WILL TELL. I walked in and Stewart recognized me immediatly. I found out Gindi had died and Stewart had hired some of my ex coworkers to work with him, "Gindi-ites," like Gary & Cecil.

He offered me a job and I set out to sell more time pieces than he could stock. I told him that one of the books I had studied and bought in Seattle, was AMERICAN WRISTWATCHES, a book he himself Stewart Unger, had authored. I got him to autograph a bunch of them for fellow watch students in Pennsylvania.

I left TIME WILL TELL when Mr. Hayak needed me to open his SWATCH flagship store in 1998 on 57th street and Fifth Ave. I told Stewart I was going to be "DR. SWATCH," the person in charge of telling customers, and tourists why the watch they were looking at was so special and that Swatch actually stood for Second Watch!

Stewie laughed upraorously and said "Good Luck." He thought I was nuts for leaving.

I Lasted as Dr. Swatch for a few months because I got the opportunity to open my own place again in 1999 :
Galleria J.Antonio at 47 Ave A, and every once in a while I would hear a thing or two about Stewart.

May 2009 many many moons after 1974 this perky Stacy Hoover , a beautiful blond with a sweet southern accent walked into Galleria J. Antonio without an appointment and tells me she is the representative for a vintage clock line I have had for years. I placed an order and then she pulled out the Bakalite TIME WILL TELL watch line . I said "don't tell me this is your own designs that you came up with in New Orleans!"

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She explained Stewart Unger had died and she bought the rights to the line.

Thus----this playful , colorfull collection of watches that Stewart Unger gave birth to are now in the window of Galleria J. Antonio, 47 Avenue A.

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Its funny to tell people that they are bakelite. I pull them out to show a client and say " Lets see how old you are ? Theses are bakealite. I either get a internet stare or a gleefull, "They Are!!!!!!!!!!!"


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Thank you Stacy (kiss-kiss) for bringing Stewart's look to my watch counter, it was a welcome addition to the lines that we carry here at Galleria J. Antonio. I still do overhauls and general watch repair besides represent all the crafters in the store.

No wonder I still have dishes in the sink at home !!!! oh Vey !!!!!!

-Jesse Gee

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Greetings from Jesse Gee (Curator)

Words by Jesse Gee, Curator
Photographs by Ken Francis


Its a beautiful day in New York and the sun is playing on all the shinny things in the Gallery.  It makes me feel good that this is what I have chosen as a livelihood. 

Galleria J.Antonio is a financial conduit between American craft makers and the general public. 

To see someone's idea, hard work, and training, turned into a product ---- fall into a box and then shopping bag, to be gifted or worn ----- still makes me feel good all over after being in the industry for forty plus years. 

I want to use this blog to introduce the Internet audience to the people that make Galleria J Antonio such a great place to be. 

Yesterday I got a box from CASA DE LA SERNA  Seattle ,Wa.    The fun part of this job is that its like Xmas every time you undo another box and dig inside its contents, it's yet another Xmas experience.

Casa de la Serna is a new source that we tried out last year.  Seattle has only two types of consumers.  One group that looks like they are in need of a shower and dress in old, worn, ripped-up but clean, clothes and the other looks like they fell out of GAP catalogue. 
I did not know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised to find this twisted, faceted, black, spinel with faceted, white topaz necklace with a sterling silver clasp. 



The artist has been selling fine art for years and it shows in the product's detail and execution. 

The other necklace is a simple strand of light & deep green -- light warm brown tourmaline's.  The occasional faceted black onyx bead ties the piece together for a person to wear it all day with anything.



That's what I like jewelry that you can wear all day long without having to think about it. 

Speaking of daytime I saw my favorite street person today.  He said everyone has gone mad and talks to themselves .  He said they use to have medication for that condition instead of calling plans. 

I have another box to open see y'all later.    Jesse Gee