After breakfast one recent Saturday in Ballard, Aaron Bagley stumbled upon an apartment-complex yard sale put on by two of the leading eccentrics in Seattle art: Matthew Kangas, longtime critic, and artist Joe Reno. (I ran into Reno holding court in a field of grass at Carkeek Park last month; see him for yourself in this video.)
In just being themselves, they were putting on a show.
"These two gents were selling and gabbing," Bagley describes. It was "very Ghost World. ...As an artist, I understand the ego behind most conversations, so in social situations I try to refrain from revealing that I'm an artist (I like to let people find out for themselves). These guys let their egos do all the talking and it was fabulous. We walked away with Kangas' first-edition Les Diners de Gala [book by Salvador Dali] for $80. Not bad at all!"
When Bagley first arrived, Kangas was there by himself. The fun began when Reno showed up.
"He bought a book of his own poetry from Kangas (for $10) and proceeded to sell it with his other jewelry that had been 'appraised' by Matthew Kangas," Bagley says. "The book of poetry was also published by Kangas."
Reno's jewelry ranged in price from $13—for a Value Village treasure he'd bought for $16 "and was 'taking a three-dollar loss on,'" to a $1,000 watch.
Now please enjoy this crazy-musicked video illustrating the Salvador Dali book that Bagley bought from Kangas.