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Ileana Sonnabend

AROUND 1983, I was working as a guard and caretaker of The New York Earth Room by Walter De Maria, whose office happened to be on the floor above the work. One day Walter came downstairs and said to me, “You should put a sheet of slides of your work between two slices of bread and bring them to Ileana Sonnabend.” The Sonnabend Gallery was nearby in SoHo, on the third floor of 420 West Broadway. Ileana’s office was a small room just off the main gallery, and from that space you would often see her sitting behind a big desk. Forebodingly positioned behind a high counter opposite Ileana’s lair, however, was Nick Sheidy, her long-standing employee. Walter continued: “When you get to the gallery, avoid the guy at the entrance and head straight through the door to her office and say, ‘Ms. Sonnabend, I have brought you your lunch.’”

I could not bring myself to follow Walter’s advice to the word.

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