Taos is privileged to have as one of its residents world-renowned artist Larry Bell. Larry’s work has been associated with the West Coast Minimalist movement called Light and Space.
Light and Space artists designed objects and environments concerned with perception and illusion often using industrial materials and finishes. Larry has been producing work and exploring a myriad of media and materials for more than 40 years. The artist has working studios in both Taos, NM and Los Angeles, CA commuting regularly between the two places. Larry’s work is featured in many major museums collections around the world.
We shared tea and pecan tart at Larry’s studio in Taos where we were joined by the artist’s constant companion, his dog Pinkie.
Listen to the podcast:
A Pecan Pie for Larry Bell
Recipe and Commentary
By David Costanza
Ten years ago I traveled through Switzerland on a tour of the country playing guitar & singing songs in people’s houses. I travelled alone carrying not much more than a suitcase & a guitar & a map to the nearest train station. It was an idyllic situation in an idyllic part of the world. I played in these beautiful houses after feasting on fabulous meals & drinking wine. Everyone shared a meal & talked, people would come up to me & ask: “are you the Artist?” (I had to do a double-take, this was my first time performing outside of the U.S. where these kind of questions don’t get asked often , & IF they do, the question would certainly be followed by:
“OK, then One beer Only!”
But, this was not the case, I was in Basel, & it was time to play some songs! It is always lovely, & a bit unnerving to play to a room where everyone is listening intently! Intermission: Another round of food & wine, people asking questions about the lyrics! (In America….O! Why bother…) & then a second round of songs. At the end the audience would make donations in a basket on their way out the door. One night, after almost everyone had left I was asked to play ‘just one more set’ for the owner of the house & a few of his close friends.
(I was too polite to run over to the basket, dump out the Swiss francs & count the money! Besides, it wouldn’t mean much to me, since I didn’t know what a Swiss Franc was worth…was it more than a dollar? Less?)
Out comes a little more wine, the house lights are turned off, some candles lit, & I sing a few more songs. One of the gentlemen who listened until the end was wearing this stunningly beautiful pin-striped suit.
“How I would love to have a suit like that one day,” I thought. (in a very fairy-tale like way, this was Switzerland, after all).
At an earlier point in the evening, the owner of the house had pointed the man out to me & said:
“His grandfather invented something every carpenter needs!”
What kind of invention could he possibly be talking about? The tape-measure? The saw? Beer?
I was dumb-founded & now doubly impressed. I still am, but there’s more.
The next day the man in the beautiful suit returned.
(In an Audi wagon that looked like a race-car).
& in my memory he is wearing the same suit. But we know that would be impossible. Our hero would not wear the same suit two days in a row.
The suit our hero would be wearing is a similar, but definitely different, equally stunning suit. Use your imagination.
In his hands was a French Apple Tart.
The man in the beautiful suit, whose grandfather had invented something “every carpenter needs,” who, no doubt, never needed to carpenter, or do any work of any kind, ever in his life, was delivering to the lovely house a French Apple tart. That he had made. To thank me for playing songs the night before.
My mind is forever blown.
We ate some of it, drank some wine, & he, humbly, noted that this “wasn’t his best crust.”
I asked: “where did you learn to make this?”
He answered, “my mother taught me, she believed that a person should,” among other things I assumed, “know how to make an apple tart.”
I, of course, agreed. I failed, however, to ask what the thing that “every carpenter needs,” that his grandfather had invented, was.
O well. To this day I enjoy the memory & the mystery.
The reason I tell this story is NOT because today’s Art + Tea pastry offering is a French Apple tart, but because the ability to bake, in this case a Pecan Pie with Curry Crust, gave Liz & I entrance to the studio of the great Taos/Venice, CA artist, Larry Bell.
AND, since he generously invited us back, any time we had dessert to share, the ability to bake, as I said before, will be the key to our return.
Our pecan pie is from:
or get the recipe on-line here: http://www.foodarts.com/recipes/recipes/21435/pecan-pie-with-blackstrap-molasses-sweet-curry-crust
Thank you and Links
Art of Flying: http://artofflyingband.wix.com/artofflying for the theme music
Dramady: https://dramady1.bandcamp.com/ for the closing music
Tea-O-Graphy: http://www.tea-o-graphy.com/ (Official Tea sponsor of Art+Tea!)
The featured photograph of Larry and his dog, Pinkie, in the vacuum chamber was photographed by Oliver Bell in 2015. Find out more about Oliver’s work: http://www.olliebell.com/
Thanks to Larry Bell and Desiree Manville for inviting us into the studio!