Assembling Heaven's Collection: Walter Hopps & Michael McCall

by Nick Fyhrie

The art world is a crazy, wonderful kind of circus that features extraordinary people making art, dealing art, viewing art, and making money, dealing money, and viewing lots 

If you don't know Michael McCall, now is the time to pay attention. Michael is a talented artist and good friend of my father's. They met back in the early 1970s when Michael was an art major at University of Illinois in Champagne Urbana. My father, Carl Fyhrie, was a music major and they were connected through artist Frank Gallo, a teacher and sculptor. After living in the Florida Keys, Michael moved to Washington D.C. and met the elusive Walter Hopps. Hopps is a revolutionary figure in the art world and founded the iconic Ferus Gallery with artist Ed Keinholz in Los Angeles in 1957. 

After Hopps death, Michael was given a various assortment of international money in bills and coins, now depleted of value. As an exciting performance piece, Michael is assembling "Heaven's Collection" in collaboration with the spirit of Hopps to use the money to trade artworks from a range of artists living today. His directive goes as follows:

 Photo by Ed Glendinning

Photo by Ed Glendinning

a. The artist will be offered to trade a piece of their art for HOPPS MONEY, and to choose either from a stash of European coins or from the very limited addition of European bills (stamped, numbered, and data based, there are 30 in the addition). As of this writing, there are only 24 available. 

b. While the artwork will be displayed momentarily in front of this man, the artist will be asked to choose between 3 different denominations of bills, but not shown the bills at this point... when the artist decides on a denomination, the deal is sealed, and this representative will produce the bill chosen(only one per customer)and hand it over to the artist.  

c. The representative will then take ownership of the artwork, and the deal is complete.... no refunds can be given, but plenty of laughs and a few chuckles will be handed out and a 'no hold's barred' atmosphere will ensue.  

d. The assembled collection will be shown in Los Angeles in 2015 before shipment to Heaven if and only if a proper carrier is located and is reasonably priced. 

e.  Please note, size limitations, while rather pedantic, must be adhered to as the cost of shipping to Heaven is astronomical.


Artists are already participating in Michael's performance, including myself! Michael will will be at the Aqua hotel as part of Aqua fair during Art Basel Miami at Coagula Curatorial on December 3rd, 3-10pm to make trades carefully selected in close communication and confidence with the spirit of Walter Hopps.