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19 January 1996

Farewell Joe

I just heard today that Joe Folberg died. Damn.

I knew he didn't have long to live, but it still makes me sad. Sad and moribund; I'll be lazy and go back to the last letter I sent him a couple months ago ...

When I first met you, I was impressed by your no-bullshit attitude. Whether you call it candor or bluntness, I always knew exactly where you stood and what you thought. In that same spirit, for this letter I'm going to forgo the polite doublespeak of coded words that generally passes for good manners.

Joe, I'm upset to hear you're dying. I never expected you to live forever, of course, but I was hoping you'd be around long enough to give a good eulogy at my funeral, or at least tell a few raunchy jokes at the wake.

What's made the deaths of friends and relatives bearable in the past is that they haven't left without hearing everything I had to say to them and vice-versa. You've treated me with respect and supported Paul and me when we organized the Photoscape festivals; I was honored. What more could I want?

As for you, I've always admired your spirit and individuality in the grey universe of galleries. Everything you've done--giving unknown (read difficult to sell) artists a space in your gallery, being loyal to your friends, supporting nonprofits like Eye Gallery and Photoscape, helping Jock Sturges when the later-day brownshirts targeted him, et cetera--is all to rare in the insular "art" world. I was also particularly touched by your devotion to Doris and to your son.

Lest this be too somber, let me close with a bad joke ...

[Joe shared my taste for tasteless jokes; the last one I sent him wasn't repeatable.]

That's the end of the joke; this is the end of the letter. I'll always remember you as a true friend, a mentor, and an inspiration. I wish you all the best Joe; I'm going to miss you.

And I do.

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©1996 David Glenn Rinehart