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Gallery Jurka

Gallery Jurka

Art (mostly) by Rob Jurka, text by Michael Ampersant

So we're on Facebook with a new "friendship" request. We had been standoffish facebook-wise, but now we are great fans because Facebook changed our life---it changed Chang's life by changing his median facial expression from "BAH" to "ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS" when he is logged on---which he is all the time because he's reading the comments of his friends on his pictures---everybody totally "likes" his pictures---and it changed my life, because it changed his.

"The morning view on May 1, 2016" --- Chang took this pictures yesterday

So we're on Facebook and we get a new "friendship" request. It's by Rob Jurka, and we don't know. It's not very practical to have too many friends, apposite research shows nobody can handle more than a hundred of them in real life, and we are not good with names, and they don't buy our books anyhow.

But Rob is from Amsterdam, and we're from Amsterdam, too, or at least we were, in that we moved to Amsterdam at one point and then moved away at another point in time.

So we click "confirm."

Two minutes later we have an alert under the balloon-icon in the whatever bar---we never managed to sort out which bar is which---and it's from Rob (Jurka), who writes (in English) (because he doesn't know):

Thanks for accepting me as friend. I made you member of my closed group Rob Jurka Photography

Andy Warhol --- from the Ladies & Gentlemen series

Ha! There's our man. Somebody we can make happy for the next thirty seconds---because---because we will write back in DUTCH, and he will love it. Dutch people love the fairy-tale-moment that somebody addresses them in a language nobody speaks, i.e., their mother tongue. Talking Dutch to an unsuspecting Dutchie---it's almost like making a very welcome pass at someone who's bulge is already throbbing and you look like Brad Pitt in this Troy movie, or like Sean Xavier, our favorite porn star---or, we may add in a self-referential twist, like one of Rob Jurka's models---so you make this pass and his pants drop and his dick springs to attention and your juicy lips are already glued to his dick---nuzzling, teasing, debilitating his cock head---and he goes "OOHH, OOHH," and you feel your own erection pressing against your zipper, and his precum oozes---this is how it is for all practical purposes (i.e., speaking Dutch to a citizen of the Low Countries who didn't expect this).

So we write back: Rob, ik spreek Nederlands...heb 30 jaar in Amsterdam gewoond...(Rob, I speak Dutch, lived thirty years in Amsterdam)

He comes, he comes. And writes back: Oh, Mooi zo (Good).

Andy Warhol --- from the Mick Jagger series

Now there are the usual cross-currents of FB-chat. So while he came, I had already written (still in reply to his first message, about his closed group):

Jurka photography...zeer goed...

See, it catches on, you speak a little Dutch already. So let's simplify and continue in Google Translation (him:) (writing:)

Thank you. Perhaps you knew my gallery in Amsterdam. Gallery Jurka.

Can't remember, I write back. I live since 12 years in France.

Him: I ran this gallery from 1970 until 2005. It was located on the Vijzelstraat, in the large art-deco building of the ABN-AMRO bank. I exposed Robert Mapplethorpe, Hockney, Andy Warhol, etc. 

Yes, yes, the fog lifts. Situated next to his gallery was a coffee shop, and the first day, the day we arrived in Amsterdam---“we” would be my then-flame Ethan and myself, we had coffee there and asked the owner for their telephone number because this was before the days of cell-phones---Ethan had made plans to wander off the reservation, and I had plans to keep tabs on him---the idea being that Ethan would then wander off the reservation while I would stay behind in the coffee shop and bite my nails and wait for his phone call in which he would tell me how many men he had fucked in the meantime (uncountable) and how tight their ass-holes had been (just-perfect for his crown to pop in and out), and how the back-alley garbage containers shook, Ethan pressing his man against the container at the level most suitable for penetration, his crown popping, and the men going: "OOHH, OOHH", and the containers going: "RATTLE, BONG, RATTLE" (while squeaking on their casters), and a suitable erection would have built in my pants while listening to Ethan and stealing a glance at the coffee shop owner who would have none of it, NOT give us his phone number, so Ethan wandered off the reservation un-tabbed and never returned and is now on Facebook as an environmental lawyer in New York City.

"Peter Gett" --- David Hockney

So I write back: Yes, I remember now. I always thought, when I walked past, what a good gallery.
Haha, thank you, he answers. First the series Ladies & Gentlemen (he’s talking about his Warhol exhibitions), and later the series about Mick Jagger.
Why did you stop? I ask.
I retired. And the art world---it was more and more about money.

It’s funny, I write back, it’s quite a while ago, but memories return…Do you remember the pharmacy opposite to your gallery, De Vijzel?
You knew the owner?
No, never went there.

I knew him, I write back, the owner. Second-generation from Indonesia, lots of dough, like all pharmacists.

I met the guy , I write, through my then-newish partner, Chang, who had arrived from Korea via Sidney and London. Chang had been a member of Potatoqueen, a club for oriental boys for meeting Ricequeens---European men---and this guy, the pharmacist---Hans was his name---was into OB’s---oriental boys---I learned the expression from him, “oriental boys”---and he owned a big mansion directly on the Vondel Park and invited us for dinner. 

We showed up early and were received by Hans’s partner---their relationship would last only a few more days---Hans’s partner, who told us that Hans was still “busy.” And I---I did terrible things in those days---I set out to walk around the house, unbidden, and hit upon a hallway with windows onto the Vondel Park on one side and a bedroom behind sliding glass doors on the other. In the bedroom---Hans and three of his oriental friends, "busy." Hans wasn’t happy at all about this intrusion and hated me forthwith. 

But the experience---we had dinner afterwards, with Hans and his boys and his partner and a Japanese guy whose mother had a “foundation” in Paris and whose father owned Japan’s largest supermarket chain---the experience of having dinner with seven people---four of whom were completely exhausted by recent business---pale, languid, drooping, not saying a word, barely able to eat---and all this while the Japanese guy harped on about his mother’s foundation. The foundation was in Paris, as noted, but he "preferred" living in Amsterdam, so he had a private jet to take him to the city of lights. The dinner didn’t work out at all, Chang having been occupied by Japan between 1908 and 1945, other people being envious of private jets, and so on. At the end of the dinner, we all hated each other.

Just had a look at your blog, Rob answers.

Hans, (I continue), later moved to Indonesia and started a gay resort. It’s on a private island where they can do whatever they want, including a nightly beach orgy which is mandatory

Yes, Rob answers.

Shall I elaborate about mandatory nightly beach orgies, I ask.
No-no, he can imagine (Rob).

The Japanese guy (I continue), I later met him on the steps of the Amstel Hotel together with a pretty boy---I soon learned from the pretty boy that they had been vising an oil sheik residing in the hotel who had been tiring of his harem---I can’t really describe how pretty he was, the pretty boy---Jason was his name---perfect profile, chin line, smile, coiffe, teeth, oriental as well, him, and he likes me, against all odds, we exchange regards, calling cards and so on---all this under the hateful eyes of the Jap who had occupied Korea between 1908 an 1945---and I manage to arrange for a “meeting” with Jason while Chang is off to Korea.

Rob? I ask?

Rob? Are you still there?

(Stay tuned.) 

(Dadaist afterthought while we are waiting for Rob's reply:)

Authors note: This is an almost true-true story.