All was not visions of sugar plums this past weekend at Madrone Art Bar, as the watering hole was forced to eject a belligerent Santa for berating clientele with condescending art critiques directed both at patrons and the current photography exhibit. But in a strange twist, Madrone owner Michael Krouse believes that the pretentious Santa was in fact the photographer, Sawyer Forbes, himself, and that this was some sort of performance art gone wrong.
In an open apology letter sent out Monday morning, Krouse apologized to anyone who may have had a run-in with the not-so-jolly St. Nick.
While we all sometimes enjoy the antics of temperamental artists, we acknowledge it can go too far for even us. In that spirit, Madrone Art Bar would like to apologize for the behavior of exhibiting photographer Sawyer Forbes last weekend. His conduct was obnoxious and unwelcome. If you are one of the people he insulted, please come in to let us know and your first drink is on us.
We sincerely regret any offense.
In conversation with SFist, Krouse said that over the weekend a man dressed as Santa Claus entered the bar and began interrogating patrons. It seems he was very interested in what they thought of the photography exhibit, which shows work by artist Forbes (which apparently is a pseudonym — his real name is unknown). Santa then launched into a weird fugue state of assholery and art criticism.
"This was directed at people looking at the artwork," explained Krouse. "[Forbes] was being weird and condescending, being very confrontational. He was being a dick," furthered Krouse.
The bartender and bouncer had to escort Forbes from the bar, who all the while yelled a stream of art critique at bar patrons.
Krouse has reached out to the artist about the incident, but has yet to hear back.
The exhibit, titled ONE gLOVE, runs through January.
Madrone introduced the Sawyer Forbes show in November saying that the artist has always refused to be photographed himself, and refuses interviews. They say that the ONE gLOVE show was "over a decade in the making," and that Forbes' "career has been a series of critical successes, creative flame-outs, public dust-ups, disappearances, and sea changes in both genre and style." SFist can't find any evidence of these earlier successes and dust-ups and suspects Forbes wrote that bio himself.