16

DP234401The psychiatrist on the 16th floor has a small black fluffy dog.  She lives and works in this impossibly glamorous building which is, past its prewar lobby and doormen, quite shabby: tape holding down wires to a camera, the land line, the floor is worn, the furniture moved in about 1970, never moved again.  This time I didn’t see the dog, but I did see that in her narrow bathroom, the towels say, “Buckingham Palace.”

I was forty minutes early for my appointment with her and I went around the block to eat a slice of pizza and drink a bottle of water, shitty cheap mealish activity.  All real pizza places are equally shitty, with the worst pictures in the world, and dirty like at night they turn the place over and stomp on the walls and the ceiling to complete the look.  I pulled off my boots and stuck my feet in the backup shoes.

The psychiatrist said, “That sounds very challenging.  I’m sure when the kids are done testing you, things will get easier, and you’ll really be able to help them.”

I said, “Oh, I think so.”  I always reassure other people I am all right, even my psychiatrist.

I actually was all right.

In the elevator going down, the man who runs the elevator and makes sure I don’t run rampant around that building said hello to the French couple who got in on 11, and then the lady with the dogs who got in on 8.  Instead of assiduously pretending we were alone, as he does with every-three-months me, he was all friendly and the French lady said, “These are wonderful dogs!”  Then we were on the first floor.

I spent my break fantasizing about never working this hard again, and I came back to school and saw the kids again, and, oh, these are my kids.

 

Last night I dreamed I was wandering all over trying to get this one class finished to get my master’s degree finished, because I was on my way to the party, and I had had too much to drink, although there was no wine at the party either I was on the way or I’d already been, and I had my cat with me, very inconvenient, I lived past the war monument in a desolate neighborhood.

Today I took the train a long way, and I was walking up, I didn’t recognize the stop, and I thought, what if when I go up, everything is different?  What if now the Union R station is on another planet, or everyone is Japanese or it’s all pink or there are mountains?

It was just that I am used to the Coney Island bound side of the tracks at Union, not the Manhattan bound side, both have the same tile pattern, sort of India Indian.

Today I left school to get a cup of coffee, and I saw my millionth young man with a beard, and I thought, the day is coming, all the men will shave off all their beards, and we’ll see their faces again.  What they all look like.  It’s coming closer and closer.

Image: “New York City” by John Marin, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Windows

windowHorrible pink and gold in the Chanel windows right now.  Very sad because “Chanel” is my favorite, probably because of the sound of the name, the same reason I like “Jameson,” truth be told.  My therapist’s office is on the upper east side, one of the fanciest neighborhoods in America.  My walk back to the subway is down Madison Avenue, past Chanel, Michael Kors, Chopard, Oscar de la Renta, Fred Leighton, which I know from magazines and watching the Oscars.

Some of the windows have mannequins with stuffed animal heads or other accoutrements intended to look whimsical, only succeeding in making me sad.  I don’t walk down such a street and look at such windows to be amused but to be enchanted.  It is the Oscar de la Renta windows I love most.  I resisted this notion because Oscar de la Renta reminds me of Nancy Reagan.  What are you going to do, though?  I have realized now that when I am rich (hopefully never), or a rich man wants to dress me (which frankly would come with its own awkwardness but we’re fantasizing here), it will be Oscar de la Renta for the one time dress.  And wool skirts and pants in very soft wools, the best tweeds, no, what am I saying, I will have those custom-made, a-line, knee-length, beautifully lined, pockets.

My therapist said (gloriously New York), ‘So it’s not that men are afraid of you, it’s that you’re afraid of them.” I was paying her to say things like that.  To say that you are afraid is to set the table for eating the fear.

I sat across the table from a student who was writing a paper and said, “Sometimes people think of an introduction as setting the table,” and he looked at me blankly.

I don’t like how empty the fancy shops are.  It is funny that they have security guards, always, doormen, maybe they are, who stand around all day and make sure that the wrong sort of people don’t come into the shop.  I wonder how they work there and take such long train rides home to wherever they are able to afford to live and don’t feel fretful about the gulf between them and the people they see, maybe it doesn’t bother them, maybe they are philosophical about it.

The windows are still beautiful, especially the ones with real diamonds and emeralds set up.  They are so sparkly they look fake.  When I saw the crown jewels in the Tower of London, I just thought, how tacky.  People didn’t know sparkly plastic or mylar then.  Sometimes the jewels have been put away for the night and there are only empty cream velvet necks displayed behind the perfect glass.  I am walking downtown to the train, down from the talking cure that I have finally got around to formally undertaking, or perhaps I am just paying to talk to someone without worrying that what I say interests her or how it makes me look, either way is good.

This is not a fear one can throw oneself against, like flying alone to Paris or committing to the maybe boyfriend one already has or moving to one’s favorite city, which is the good news and the bad news.  The fear that exists of things that have not happened, that fear can fester like manna did when it wasn’t eaten.  It is not as if I can make someone beloved by me to face my fear of him having such power over me, that is, of someone having that kind of power over me again.

When I was nineteen and in New York for the first time as an adult, a friend and I used to go on tours of “rich New York.”  One stop was the Plaza Hotel, where we made it up in the elevator to the ballrooms to look around.  The flower arrangements were bigger and more lavish, otherwise it was unmemorable, like any hotel ballroom with that weird carpet.   Five years later she would be staying in the hotel, for one extravagant night, her wedding night.  I would cry in the bathroom because no one would ever love me, and someone would pound on the door of the bathroom stall and say, “Are you okay?” and I would feel even worse.  I was okay, it was a nice wedding.  The Plaza Hotel is no longer a hotel.

I told therapist I had a bad panic attack on the subway, that going under the river on the train suddenly, for no reason, terrified me, and I bolted at Wall Street and paced and took a pill and walked and walked staring at the sidewalk, not looking up at the raininess or the fog until my brain settled, until I felt better and got back on the train and went under the river.  I didn’t feel she was terribly impressed by this, in fact, as I was telling it, it was sounding less extravagantly crazy than it seemed at the time.  “You still take the train?”  “Oh, sure, every day.”

I could be so much more interesting.

The Bloomingdale’s windows right now are curtained.  Behind the curtains, the show is going up.  Last winter, it was country by country, a Paris window, a London window.  A pink Eiffel Tower, a red and blue London Bridge.  Last year I tried to photograph them, but I didn’t try very hard.  There were moving elements, and it was dark.  I wanted to show people back home, but maybe they didn’t care to see them anyway?

Image: Portrait of a Woman with a Man at a Casement by Fra Filippo Lippi, the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

Chelsea, 19th Street.

IMG_1822The gallery is upstairs,” she says.  It was PSAT day, thus I had a moment to flit away from school and look about.  I love the PSAT even more than I did when I took it and it led me to be offered lots of money for school which I was too young and foolish to take.

Up and around the corner of this Chelsea gallery, and it sounds like merry-go-round-broke-down is about to come off its tracks.  What?  Around another corner, and “Metal” is the piece: two guys sitting on a slightly see-sawing contraption, hitting blocks of wood.  I thought they were just making music, but they were pounding gold into a thinness to be used on sculptures for the artist in the future.

There are other people in the room: four people playing madly on various cymbals.  They stop when there’s a loud gush from a speaker, and they start setting what look like tiny pink vibrators next to or inside the cymbals, to make them play on their own.  There was a score, they were doing things I didn’t understand, but they had a plan.

The walls have words painted, including: muscles.  And some letters, epistle-type letters, in French.  I sat for a while as this madness went on, until the clangy banging was enough.  I get quite a bit of that riding the subway.

IMG_1824At Marcel Dzama’s show I didn’t love taken-apart cases of stuff so much like Marcel Duchamp’s boxes, even with little painting trading cards, one dedicated to Duchamp, with chess pieces, but they looked only pale imitations to me.  They just made me miss Duchamp, one of my loves.  I much preferred Dzama’s dioramas, which had witty paper people prancing around heavier sculpted heads.  And his wall of video, which showed a dance battle against dead chess pieces, led by zombies in black and white polka dots, which I also happened to be wearing when I watched them.  I danced a little, when the one other woman in the gallery had gone around the corner.

My last stop was Gallery Shchukin: Russian work from my favorite era, early 20th century.  Loose, humorous drawing of dogs in Constantinople (who knew they had dogs there?) a couple of Kandinsky’s pieces I liked just as well as any of his work, not too blurry or out of control as he got later, he still allowed himself some sharpness.

IMG_1836A brilliant collage piece  by Aleksei Kruchenykh with amazing water stain, dust spots, bow tie shapes and basketball hoop shapes working so well together.  1915, what a great time for art.  And the most gorgeous drawing of Paris I’ve ever seen, by Mstislav Dobuzhinsky.  Probably the red on the boats did it, not just the perfection of the scoops of boats and bridge arches and how they live together.  He’s pretty great, and more of his stuff is here.IMG_1830

Top image is also Marcel Dzama, as you may have guessed.

Marcel Duchamp on Artsy

Jeff Koons at the Whitney

 

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I hated the Jeff Koons show. It felt like he went out of his way to make things I would not want to look at. I thought I was so open-minded about what I would look at, what I could enjoy. I am sometimes bored, sometimes uninterested, in an art museum, but I have felt so get-me-out-0f-here as I did at the Koons show.

Let me stop here to say: I am remaining true to my “if you can’t say anything nice” motto.  I am not at all saying the show was bad, or the work was bad.  Men in suits who work in finance are also not right for me, and they are not bad.  Orange juice and beer and pugs are not for me, either.  This is only about my reaction, and no one should take that too seriously, including me.

There is this play-doh mountain, which sounds delightful, but the fringed edges of it, just the way you pull play-doh apart and it frays, and the color, and the way the shapes are so poop-like, it made me so sad.

And ads, ads, ads,why ads, the horror.

I wanted to at least like or be interested in something that said, “Moses,” which is a portrait of Michael Jordan.  Not even Biblical allusion could get me.  Moses.  Right.  Basketball players leading.  Yeah.

The taupe and beige Michael Jackson-and-Bubbles sculpture.  Oh, God.  The taupe and beige, the shininess!  Was I a Puritan?

Is there some place we could be?  Is there somewhere Koons and I could talk?  The vacuum cleaners.  The way he placed them up on lights, lovely.  There were some flowers looking at themselves in mirrors forever in octagonal bounces, and a telephone looking backward and forward at itself that I thought was pretty great.  An Incredible Hulk as pipe organ, okay.  A giant Popeye, why not?

I like shiny things, too, I kept thinking.  He loves his stainless steel, I love black patent leather shoes, so, so much.  Why can’t we get along? And: to figure out things about myself that I didn’t know, like where my aesthetic enjoyment ends, it ends right there at what I think “tacky,” what I think “unoriginal,” what doesn’t fit me at all, which for me is not Warhol or Damien Hirst, but is, I can definitively state, Jeff Koons.

I sometimes stop at a painting I don’t like, I don’t get, and I force myself to look at it a while, to get something out of it, to learn from it.

You learn the most from people who drive you crazy, people you hate, if you can get going that much (I can).  I hate the woman painting by William de Kooning at  my home museum, the Nelson.  I have always hated it.  Not like, I don’t get it, force myself to look at it, but just hate.  Resent.  What is it doing there?  The scrawling of it.  It reminds me of the Cy Twombly show I saw at the Pompidou Center a long time ago.  I didn’t hate that, I just didn’t like it much.

The Koons show pushed me too far.  I would like to think of myself as a very cultured and open-minded person, I enjoy lots of wacky art, but I learned how far was too far, and I still don’t know quite what to do with that knowledge.

I didn’t force myself to stay with the play-doh mountain or the Michael Jackson sculpture, or the basketballs in tanks.  Maybe it was because it was too close to my birthday, and my tolerance for extra discomfort is low?  Maybe you can’t force yourself to be ready to learn from things.  Maybe that day was a preview of what I could, or will, learn from Koons.  I used to have no interest in Warhol, but I got there.

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play doh mountain

Cobra and Peacock

imagesAs many of you know, my favorite methods for having a nervous breakdown include migraines and panic attacks.  Yesterday, with no warning I could note, my bedroom, where I was peacefully watching “The Cat Whisperer” with my cat, became a very frightening place.  Even the bathroom down the hall was much too scary a place to go, in fact, to be inside my body in that moment was so scary I could not take it.  It was too scary to open my eyes, too scary to think about anything I could think about, too scary to not have my cat there, too scary to move, too scary to keep my eyes closed.  Pills.

The headaches make you crazy, coming and going, make you frazzled and worried and worn from pain, and jittery from caffeine, and this tells your nervous system to kick it one notch up and go all the way because clearly my veins are poison and I have to somehow outrun myself.

While I wait for my medicine to work, I watch “30 Rock,” which I always, always find funny, and listen to people yammer on about Disney World on some podcast.  Sometimes I try to do some yoga or meditate, but it’s very, very hard, even though I am in practice from sane moments.

I set my timer for 30 minutes over and over.  After 30 minutes, you’ll feel better.  After this 30 minutes.  Definitely after this 30 minute.  Thirty minutes, the human pill-taking gap to be jumped.  Wait.  Thirty minutes.

Funny, I had tried to go to a therapy appointment on Thursday.    I did not realize even a cab would take so long to get uptown.  I thought a cab ride would be a luxury, but with my headache, the potholes were just as bad as the bumping on the subway, and anyway, I ended up fifteen minutes late.

I figured out the building was a funny atrium off a big apartment building, climbed some stairs, buzzed a buzzer.  It buzzed back, and I opened the door.  Inside was a black guy sitting next to a lamp.  “Hi,” he said.  “Hi,” I said.  We were surrounded by peachy walls and at least five doors without any labels.  Would the doctor be out to greet me?  Hadn’t she just let me in?  I took out my magazine and tried to read a little.

My migraine was getting stronger, chopping away at a fat noodle-shaped section on the left side of my head.  Over the weeks, it trades off sides, out of politeness, I guess.

There was a shelf with odd old dishes lined up.  There were a few magazines on a table.  The chairs were mismatched.  The ceiling was a little too low.

I thought, as I often have in therapists’ offices, that this was my chance to behave really crazy, do something really, really crazy, but I can never think of anything I want to do.  Jumping jacks?  Scream obscenities?  Interpretive dance?  I wasn’t in the mood for any of that.  (This idea actually applies to the entire city of New  York, if you want to know the truth.)

Five minutes.  I called the therapist.  No answer.  Huh.  I called again.  The guy left his phone and wallet on the table next to him, and went into a room I assumed to be the bathroom.  He was in there a while, though.  He was trusting me, a fellow crazy person, with his thisses and thats?  He was crazy.  I should take his phone and sell it out on 85th Street.  But my head hurt, and I just wanted to go home.

Finally I walked over to the water cooler in the corner, pulled myself a cup of water and grabbed a handful of Cheerios from my bag.  As I had been leaving school that day, someone pulled an extra free breakfast of Cheerios out and handed it to me.  “Can you eat these?”  “Sure,” I said.  I ate two bites of Cheerios and split an Excedrin in half and threw that down with the water.

This was ridiculous.  I walked out.  So I had been late.  I would try again.  I would  try again.  I went back down to 85h Street and got on a 4 train home.

After migraine-to-panic-attack on Saturday I called my family.  They told me all the healthy things your family should tell you, including, “Every time this happens, no matter how many times it happens, it’s awful.  But it goes away.”

“You could buy yourself a plane ticket,” they also said.  “And you could just come back here.”  My school year is almost over, and I could do that, very soon.  “I don’t want to,” I said.  “I want to be here.” I was surprised I was saying that.

I do love New York more than ever, more all the time, the summer smells of the street, even sweating here, looking for the shady side of the street, and I love that the lady at the shop where I bought safety pins wears a sari, and that the guy who runs the register says to me three times, “Bag?” until I understand and say no.  The comfort of the subway always doing the same thing.  The citiness of it which is more citiness than anywhere in America.  Listening to mom tell her son about why the people in the subway ad are working on a pretend person.  The old guys on Eastern Parkway who sit outside their building at a card table and play dominoes every day after work.  The first spring day I saw them out there, I was so happy, they were my robins.

I didn’t want to leave town, I just wanted to be sane again.

I’ve done this before, this migraine/panic attack cycle, and I’ve gotten out of it before, too.  Mostly it seemed to require patience, until it runs itself out.  This is my brain saying it’s had enough, and it knows I have time to fall apart now. Unfortunately it is right.  Four days of wrapping up at work, and my brain gets a solid two months to go as crazy as it wants.

Did I not do this big thing?  Did I not settle in enough?  Did I not make enough friends?  Did I not invest enough in my new place?  Did I not take good enough care of myself?  Did I go back home too much?  Did I spend enough time in my neighborhood?  Exercising?  Reading?  Writing?  Praying and yoga and stuff?  Was I too brave, or not brave enough?  Should I have been more outgoing?  Was I too outgoing with the wrong people?  How do you actually select your new life, your new friends, your new places, in a new place?  How does that happen?

What does it mean that this is even possible, people getting to know some new and other you when they haven’t had the right to know what you used to think of as the real you?  Although it was definitely not a continuous personality, the you turtle-shell shy fifteen to lazy, secretly mouthy seventeen to devilish twenty-five to half mule/half eagle of thirty-five.

Some time and place is required to let my brain chew on all these questions, and review, as it does in dreams, everything that has happened, what it might mean.  I feel my subconscious is about six months behind my consciousness, most of the time.  Which is what I intended to do some of with the therapist except I was late, and what I can, gentle reader, do here for free.  Tell, and review, or reveal, that I am peacock/cobra now, heavy, delicate, earthbound, defensive, symbol of unrequited love (of various sorts), sharp-tongued, and can I lie?  Liking the plumage.

IMG_0823“Peacock and Cobra,” James Prosek

Young American

IMG_0078A couple of months ago, I was on the subway, and in a classic liberal fashion, I was talking out my guilt to some innocent bystander, and I said, “I don’t think we should teach about the Holocaust any more.” What I meant, I realize now, was: “I can’t teach about the Holocaust. I can’t do it.” When you tell me something is hard to do, I am usually inspired.

This places a close second to the evening that, at closing time, instead of going somewhere else to make out with a charming Jewish boy, I instead castigated him for not knowing about both creation stories, and directed him to go home immediately and study Torah.

I can’t do it. I really can’t. I don’t have the balls. Or the guts, or whatever it is you need. I am too without armor. I don’t have nightmares. Maybe if I did, I could.

When I was studying the Holocaust, I shivered and I wandered and there was not enough yoga or prayer and I got too drunk and art was more like food to me than usual.  I could hardly eat, though.

And hearing about anti-Semitic violence reminds me of all that.

I read that some white guy had gone crazy and started shooting outside the Jewish Community Center in Kansas City. It took me a while to feel it. Then I did, and it hit me in the same place where I felt it when my students got shot four years ago. The violent deaths all hit in the same spot with the same kind of sharpness. Cancer and Alzheimer’s and heart attacks are different, an ache.

I was at the JCC for work, most recently. They have a day care center where we did research.

We also did research at the federal building’s day care center, which always reminded me of the one in Oklahoma City, and the photos of the wounded kids being taken out of it.

I’m sure I was also at the JCC to pick someone up, or to see someone perform something, when I was in my Jewish groupie period.

A crazy white guy also shot up the parking lot of my Kansas City Target, ran into the mall where I had gotten my photo taken with Santa and the Easter bunny.  He went in there and kept on shooting.

This is our Christian season of mourning. Three days til our biggest mourning day.  All the sermons, I realized, in the four long days I’ll spend at church, all the sermons will be about this.  The priests are writing them now.  “Our Jewish brothers and sisters.”  They will be in all the prayers.  “The victims of the shooting,” at my old church where we had a candle lit for every person killed by “community violence,” and the candles got lit, one by one, every year.

Yesterday I felt like I was on vacation. It was seventy degrees and I wore a dress. I went into The City for this literary festival. I never bothered with such things in Kansas City, but one funny side effect of being here is that I have all this room in my life, and I get to decide what goes in it. I spent four hours or so listening to people read and tell stories. I thought I hated readings because if you don’t like the work, you are stuck there, unlike an art show. I didn’t mind too much when the work wasn’t great, though, I was happy to be out of the house and entertained and sort of social without having to work at being social.

In line for the bathroom, the woman ahead of me was someone I knew. She was in my session at the conference last week. Small town.

One session was about music venues of New York that have shut down. It seemed very cool, and God forbid anyone should try to be cool, but I was hungry, and that was what was happening at the place with the food. So I ate and listened.

One woman had bleached blonde hair and wore a pink hoodie and said she had gone to Sarah Lawrence. I went to Sarah Lawrence. She was a scholarship kid, she said. I was a scholarship kid. She had to scrounge for money for the train into the city. Seven dollars each way, it was, I think. She had an internship at the Village Voice. I, uh, did not.

And I wouldn’t have wanted one. While she was having these drug-softened and drug-enhanced adventures in a New York club so fabulous that she was asked to recount the tales at a literary festival, I was soberly reading St. Augustine and making pilgrimages to the Met.

At least I did a little underage drinking. At least I wandered into some sex shops, saw some good drag. But goodness, I was so afraid, afraid of sex and all manner of drugs and other people as well as myself. She probably was, too, but I kept cautious, thinking that would protect me, and she acted out, and we were probably more the same than different.

Then I was home again, and New York was no longer mine.

Instead of learning about art and art scene downtown (I think it was still downtown then, though probably creeping to Brooklyn), I learned in Kansas City. Instead of a hungry sort of ambition, there was a haunted sort of impudence. People were still poor and scrappy, but there was much less flow. There were not choices of scenes. If you liked art, or you were a writer, there was what there was.   There wasn’t all this extra stimulation, people from all over, all these places to have adventures. You had to, much more so, make your own. There was a solidity to things, a steadiness, that was frustrating and also, probably, good for me.

Do I wonder if I missed something? I do.

I did sit at those readings and think, a couple of times, I have read at a thing like this, and I could have written something better, funnier, more engaging, for this occasion. That was a nice feeling.

At the end of the nightlife eulogies, the woman next to me said, “Did they talk about Mud?”

“I think it was mentioned,” I said. “But no one really talked about it.”

She explained she was not a music writer, but had been there for another event. “I was in this booth and had this forty-five minute chat with someone and he had his hat down mostly over his face, we had a nice conversation, and then he looked up, and it was David Bowie.”

“That’s a great story,” I said. I wanted to ask her more about it, but I didn’t know what to ask.

I still wish I had danced to “Young American” when I was in London and I was one. It was a minor playlist oversight on the part of an otherwise lovely Nigerian DJ.

I am sorry, sort of, that people flew me out to New York three years ago and put me up and taught me about teaching the Holocaust and I didn’t do much with what they gave me. We all get gifts we don’t know what to do with.

Pictured: Iowa somewhere, I think.  I had no idea how to illustrate this one.

The Armory Show I

This is what I knew:

1. Most of the artists I love best were “discovered” in America at the Armory Show in 1913.

2. It cost $40.  Damn.

3. It’s on the piers on the west side.  I have been to Chelsea Piers now, with my kids, to take them ice skating.  On these huge things that go out into the water, they’ve put other stuff, now.  Like lots of convention centers that have great views.

Here were my pressing questions:

1. Will I be able to get a cup of coffee?

2. Will I be able to get food, or a glass of wine?

3. How can I possibly see it all?

So I find something to wear that makes me feel I am adding to the careful and arresting visual environment.  When I get to the proper pier, guy tells me they can’t find my ticket with an ID or credit card.  I am too new to smartphone to realize when he asks if I have my ticket, I do.

I go down to the next pier.  That first pier was Modern, the other pier is Contemporary.  I think we should have stuck with calling our current art modern, but then, I love modern, either way.   I figured Contemporary was the place to be, anyway.  Once I got down to Contemporary, past a tented area selling food and offering stools and tables, I realized I did have my ticket, and successfully navigated several confusing checkpoints to get my wristband and get in.

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Like most things in New York City, the Armory show is too big for anyone to figure out or manage, even the people who are running it.   That is both what I love about New York, and what is frustrating.

Indeed it was an art fair where I definitely could not afford any of the art, not even a little print in a bin.  There were no little prints in bins.

What I didn’t expect was that, in addition to all the booths of art, there were periodically areas of couches and stools, and several areas to get food and drink.  Like an art opening, like a Dolphin opening, for KC folks, the atmosphere was very relaxed.  People sat around and people napped, between art looks.  I realized I could have gone early and taken a very slow approach.  Unlike at a museum, where I feel I have to pace myself and force myself to be aware of when the cafe is open and make myself take breaks there and get fed, the Armory Show has all the time in the world to let you snuggle down, chat with friends, come and go.

Most of the hundred booths had stuff I found interesting enough to glance at, plenty of them were interesting enough to want a closer look.  At a few places, I thought, what is this doing here?  But there’s no accounting for taste.j

It was fun that there were people there from all over the world.  The bored people sitting at the tables in the booths chatted with each other in German, Chinese.

But enough: what was there to see?

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Bjorn Dahlem, Probability Tree.  I love trees.  Dahlem’s trees grow out of perfume bottles, and the little P in the middle is P for perfect.  See how the way things go can spread out and where things can go?

 

IMG_0669A photo of a  library I didn’t think could look so gorgeous, at least not a nondescript library like this, but it’s about color, right?  Blue, blue, blue, and like all the pieces here, it looked much better in person than my poor iPhone skills would suggest.  (Hrair Sarkissian.)

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Third: because I am a bad person, I forgot to photograph the name of this artist, but it was a set of nine photographs, seven of them the beautiful backs of black women’s heads, showing off their complex hairstyles, and one in profile, and one from the front.  So many of them as objects, as what people might ask them about, or wonder about, instead of themselves, troubling, maybe.  They were lovely, though, all of them, and this one rather tree-like, speaking of trees.  Dr. Seuss trees.

 

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Why does this rabbit trust all these cats?  I have no idea, but look at him go.  This booth had a whole collage of pieces like that hanging, including one with the rabbit making a sculpture of the cats to go with his painting.  One thing that makes me sad is that people are often so serious when they look at art.  This was the first silly piece I saw.  (That one by Atsushi Kaga.)

 

Last in this post, one of the most popular pieces: a view.  Patrick Jacobs makes portholes that you look into and see a whole world.  People gathered around them and grinned and oohed.  There were three.  One reason you go look at art is to see magic, and these were magic.  There was a world in there, sure as the world you imagined of fairies living in tree roots or Borrowers or Pee Wee’s ants or whatever.IMG_0674