OK, I was at the Metropolitan Museum in New York a couple weeks ago when I looked up to see a tall, distinguished looking gentleman come into one of the contemporary galleries, trailing a retinue. He had wispy white hair and a beard and was wearing a well cut black suit and white turtleneck. A young woman was following him through the gallery, shooting photographs. He had the air of authority about him. I even thought I recognized him from photos, though I couldn’t put my finger on who he was. Clearly, though, he was Somebody.
I asked one of the museum guards if he knew who the gentleman was, “I don’t know, either,” he said. “But he’s Somebody.”
I took a photo, above, and later got home, and another week went by, and I still hadn’t figured out who Somebody was.
Google to the rescue. I tried a bunch of search terms, from “famous contemporary artist” to “tall distinguished looking artist.” I finally hit with some combination — which I can’t replicate this morning — of “tall bearded white haired contemporary painter.”
He’s California conceptual artist John Baldessari.
I knew he was Somebody.