Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

MAY-JUN 2018

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One brisk morning in March, my friend Steven Powers dismounted his bike, ready to start the day in his Brooklyn studio, when he realized he had forgotten his keys. Resolving to make the best of a rough start to the day, he embraced the unexpected ride and took a different route home. A few minutes into the trip, Steve was stopped in his tracks by a crude sign made from a flattened refrigerator box and painted with large, bright yellow letters. Maybe it was the length of the message, or the boldness of the font (definitely marked by emotion); but certainly his art dealer eye and intuition moved Steve to post a photo of the scene to his Instagram account with several hashtags and choice words for the crime referenced by the sign. Within minutes, the post had garnered the eyes and attention of others in the art and antiques trade. What was created out of exasperation by a woman whose bike had been stolen from that very location was becoming a powerful visual image online that moved dozens of people to stop in their tracks, just as Powers had earlier in the day. Comments on the Instagram post circled around the possibility of buying the sign for the cost of her bike, so that she could buy a new one and get to work the following Monday. Robert Young, an antiques dealer in London, offered to split the cost with Steve. With a bit of disbelief regarding the way the morning had unfolded, Steve climbed the steps of the brownstone and wondered how he would determine which apartment belonged to the signmaker. He smiled as he reached the buzzers and saw that one of the three names had been painted on. Ringing the bell, Steve invited the owner down for a discussion he knew she would find remarkable. e story of the #karmacycle (hashtag added by the owner of the bike) went viral, with thousands of interactions on social media and news outlets like e Washington Post and e Today Show covering the story in detail. Intrigued by the image and whirlwind of attention it had commanded, I called Steve to discuss his plans to keep, sell, or discard it. He quickly dispelled any thought that the sign was purchased only as an act of charity. Pointing out that it had grabbed his attention, and then the attention of many others, Steve engaged me in a conversation related to the artistic merits of such a sign - reminding me that Aarne Anton, an iconic dealer Curating a Lifestyle: e Eye of the Beholder Written by Amelia Jeffers 58 slmag.net is handpainted sign in Brooklyn was purchased for $200 by art and antiques dealers, Steven S. Powers of New York and Robert Young of London. Photo courtesy stevenspowers.com.

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