I’m certainly not suggesting you “invest” in art.  Except maybe that really nice Cezanne I keep linking to, if you’ve got $260 million you can truly afford to lose.

But here’s a piece I bought last month, “Ballad of the Skeletons” — a signed, numbered print in an edition of 100 by the poet Allen Ginsberg.

You know — the one who wrote “Howl”?

The one portrayed by Daniel Radcliffe in last year’s SONY Classics Kill Your Darlings?

Ginsberg was in love with his fellow Columbia student Lucien Carr, who killed David Kammerer and went to Jack Kerouac with the bloody knife, which got Jack arrested, too, along with William Burroughs, whose wealthy pop refused to put up bail — as neither would Kerouac’s dad — so Edie Parker’s folks did on the condition Jack marry Edie on the spot, which he did — it’s all in Wikipedia.

Are you getting the picture?  Some guy, this Ginsberg!  Way too radical for me — I live to conform.  But, with pals Lucien, Bill and Jack: major counter-cultural figures of the Fifties, as America began to lose its innocence.

And so here was this Ballad, first published in The Nation in 1995, two years before his death, and again here, that begins . . .

Said the Presidential skeleton
I won’t sign the bill
Said the Speaker skeleton
Yes you will

. . . and while it’s actually sort of tedious when you read it (and in places vulgar), it comes to life when  he reads it . . . with music by Philip Glass accompanied on guitar by Paul McCartney — a DVD of which comes with the print!

And, wait!  There’s more!

(It slices! It dices!)

To jazz up his 30″ x 35″ handwritten rendering of the Ballad, Ginsberg got some of his pals, like David Hockney, Julian Schnabel, and the aforementioned William Burroughs, to add 13 doodles to the piece — doodles!

Along with the DVD comes a “map” to the doodles identifying who did which.

So in a sense, you become one of 100 folks connected, after a tenuous fashion, to the beat generation and even to Sir Paul McCartney and Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and to the doodlers.

And what is all this worth?

As with any art, who the heck knows?  I would have guessed $7,500.  The asking price, unframed, is $2,500.  (Gemini G.E.L will send instructions for your framer, if you want it framed the way I saw it.)  I got a small discount and bought two.

Said the reader skeleton
Is this the print to choose?
Said the blogger skeleton
Only with scratch you can TRULY afford to lose.



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