Cleveland Stories

Best in May Show

The truth behind the painting. Literally.

Back in Cleveland, talking about all the various artwork at Taffy’s and what’s to be done of it, Susan remarks that only two of the paintings are ‘worth’ anything. This is news to me, I thought they were all picked because someone gave them to Taffy or because she liked them. Her taste was strange, to put it mildly. However this original, Chinoiserie, is special.

I get up and take a look at it. It’s … interesting. Original, certainly, and pseudo Asian.


“Have you ever heard of the May Show?” asks Susan. I have not. The May Show was a judged art contents. As the form says “an annual exhibition of Ohio born or trained artists, to be managed by a Jury and hanging committee chosen by the exhibiting artists.” So I look at it and think that clearly Taffy knew the artist.

Oh. She did.

In 1967, Taffy and her drunk socialite friends decided to enter the contest, together, under an assumed name, John Parker, and made a totally drunk of their asses painting. Chinoiserie. The painting actually did really well!


You notice how there’s stuff torn off of the bottom and it’s marked ‘Rejected’? Well as it turns out, the crazy people decided to slap their signatures (fake ones) on the back, and cover it with brown paper. That would have worked, except they peeled the paper off, in order to frame and hang it, and caught them.


Oops! They were ejected from the contest, but that painting has hung for 46 years. The May Show ended in 1993 (pity) and you can read about it at I think they should take the painting and hang it up to celebrate the madcap world we live in. After all, she was a local artist!

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