Dense fog, an unseasonably warm night, us in North East, a small town at the end of the Chesapeake, eating crab cakes: we’ve crossed the Mason-Dixon.
Like the Cornell collages and boxes we took a look it, the first five days have a dream-like quality to them: we’ve not found a groove and continue hurky-jerky in dealing with simple, functional needs, we’re “looking” at iconic sites, so life itself feels like a reel to a movie, while between times are spent in strip development or hotels that differ little from each other, especially this time of year when the trees are bare and hardly a difference is gleaned from plants at 60 miles an hour. (Yesterday I did see a pine tree I have never seen, and I explained Fence Cedar to Vic, though I’ve forgotten which cedar it is otherwise).
I like art that raises the pulse with its conflicts and I think it is important that art have a collective impulse, an engagement beyond simple delight, even in our fragmented society. I also like to stumble into things I have previously forgotten, which is perhaps one reason the Renwick Gallery across from the Old Executive Mansion appealed to me so. In the main galley, hangs George Catlin’s Indian Gallery. Obsessive, daring, socially important, and large enough to see the artist growing in his skill. To see a room full of Catlin, as he intended, is a staggering treasure. Next to it, the modern trinkets with their self-obsessed artist statements and sleights of hand were rightly diminished. It took a couple of hours for my blood pressure to return to normal. That, to me, is a decent art.
Baltimore, Washington, and NoVa