SOME LIKE IT HOT
When artist James Henninger holds a fire sale, he’s as serious about the fire as he is the sale. Saturday evening at Bar + Bistro in the Arts Factory, he’ll present all of his unsold paintings and drawings, priced to move. Whatever doesn’t, he’s gonna burn. It’s a thing he does, at least once a year. Last time, according to his PR for this time, he sold 60 pieces but torched 27.
Why? It’s a practical thing. “There’s no room for storage,” he says. Henninger is a prolific artist, sometimes turning out two pieces a night. He sells a lot, but at that rate, the unsold stuff accumulates — and risks damage, especially the encaustic pieces, as encaustic uses a delicate wax-based pigment and can be nearly impossible to repair. “Every time I shift things around, there’s a chance of them getting scratched or dirty from fingerprints.” That’s what prompted him to start these mini spectacles a couple of years ago — a messed-up “Daisy” painting. “Doing these fire sales helps me clear my inventory and also helps prevent these pieces from getting ruined in storage.”
As for the fire, it’s just an expedient method of destruction, and really kind of cool, what with its allusions to Burning Man and all, but don’t read anything more than that into it. “There is no political statement or hidden agenda,” he says, no ritualized references to “cleansing” or “renewal,” or anything like that. “All these pieces are very important to me and I would love to sell them,” he says. But if he can’t, burn, baby, burn. SCOTT DICKENSHEETS
James Henninger’s fire sale, 7-9 p.m. on the patio of Bar + Bistro in the Arts Factory