I had recieved a postcard long ago which featured an old French black-and-white
photograph with which I was always quite taken and I had it floating
around my studio for a long time. It showed an empty, rumpled bed
covered with black, sticky blood.
In those days, the studio was very busy and we were getting a fair bit
of attention for whatever projects we were doing. I conceived of
building the interior of a run-down hotel room which would be the scene
of a "walk-in" tableau. I would build, with the help of Ready
Set's many flats and materials, a square white box in the center of the
studio, and the public would "walk in" a little dark opening and then
step through a door into the room. I did up a floor plan.
We sent out press releases which quoted Bill Wolf saying "While most of
my work deals in humor, I occasionally enjoy working on the dark side."
We printed up´an appropriately bloody poster.
Inside I built a
carefully constructed replica of one of the tattered, flea-bag hotel
rooms of my old, early days in Pioneer Square in Seattle, with its faded
wallpaper, old iron bed, bureau and crook-neck lamp. Through
the torn window shade the dim lights of a street at night and a
blinking neon sign shown down on rumpled bed clothes, where, on the
sheets and covers, on the bureau, congealing on the worn, linoleum
floor, and splattered violently across the rusted headboard, lay an
enormous pool of dripping, fresh red blood. Otherwise, the room was
Columnist Robert Shurtleff, in the North Mission News,
"Bill Wolf's Crime of Passion leaves nothing to the imagination.
Within his studio at 14th and Natome, Wolf recreated a bedroom with a
bloodstained bed, perhps in a residential hotel in the Tenderloin.
The room was completely realistic, down to the aged linoleum and the
lavender moth cake in the closet, but the viewer was left the job of
inventing the story - the husband returns unexpectedly, suicide, a
It also lent itself
the camera. Russell set up and shot an impressive close-up of the
scene on color film. We sent it to the annual photo contest in
Photography Magazine, and it won honorable mention, which, of
course, over the years I’ve shortened to “annual photo contest
winner” for my resume.
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...NEXT: THE ARMOR