Every office has someone who likes to decorate. At Christmas, it might be garland artfully looped under a shelf. Spring brings daffodils and pastels. Leading up to Valentine’s Day, red hearts are de rigueur. I consider myself lucky enough to be working with a group of quite tasteful and restrained people. To be honest, there isn’t much in the way of festoonment in my workplace, and that’s generally fine by me. The one occasional exception is R. She had some quite lovely lilacs set out this spring, and hydrangea in the summer. One day recently I noticed a small array of colorful gourds had been set on the ledge that frames her cube. No skeletons and witch hats. What a relief.
So imagine my disappointment when I arrived one morning to see that someone had stabbed one of those petite gourds with a pair of scissors, and pasted a photocopied image of “The Scream” on said gourd.
I found this disturbing.
Now, I don’t think anyone meant anything by it. R. seemed wryly amused. Early Halloween hijjinks. We’re all adults. Some people I respect actually like the Chucky films.
Nonetheless, I decided one evening after everyone had left to make a quiet point about cutlery in the workplace. I removed the scissors and pasted the Mona Lisa’s face over “The Scream.”
R. and I had a little laugh about it and that was that, until this morning. I noticed that the Mona Lisa and the Scream face were both still adhered to two of her gourds and she said (wryly), yes. I have decided it is an installation.
Oh? I replied.
Yes, and it’s titled “Great Faces in Art Stuck to Gourds.”
I laughed so hard that I decided to make this video.
Serra, umbrella, St. Louis, rainy day
A few weekends back I visited my dear friend Marilu in St. Louis. I had never been to St. Louis before. I love the experience of exploring a new place. This is my favorite photo from the weekend. It was taken in the back yard of The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, from inside a Richard Serra sculpture there. The sculpture was commissioned as part of the building’s design, and Serra collaborated with architect Tadao Ando. These guys are art-world rock stars, and as art-world rock stars go they I put them in a category of people who have earned the awe that surrounds them. It was an overcast, rainy day, hence the umbrella. I always love the experience of walking into one of Serra’s spirals, which compress space, reorient the horizon (hey, where is the horizon anymore?), disorient their visitors while tantalizing them. The feeling I am most reminded of hearkens to childhood, when I’d find a secret space. A path in the woods, perhaps. Or a mysterious attic. When fascination could easily trump fear, because I knew too little to envision what kind of danger might be around the corner. I almost feel like that walking through one of Serra’s spirals.
I walked into the middle, looked up, then turned to wait for Marilu and her umbrella to arrive, and then I snapped this image.
Postscript: It’s been a Very Serra Spring, because I also visited a Serra on the campus of Princeton University recently. And this is where I have to publicly apologize for touching the Serra, which Marilu scolded me about. Of course she runs a sculpture park. And I would never argue with her, she’s too tough.
"The Hedgehog and the Fox" and me