Martin Puryear (Museum of Modern Art, 11 W. 53, up through Jan. 14). A forty-five-piece retrospective by the American Brancusi, a master woodworker whose elegantly crafted creations, by turns playful and mysterious, allude subtly to political matters without once bowing to the tyranny of the idea. Is there a better sculptor anywhere? Not in my book (TT).
Archives for November 7, 2007
The day after I made my debut as a pseudo-scenester, I went to my neighborhood framer to pick up the latest additions to the Teachout Museum, two lithographs by Toko Shinoda, the Japanese artist whom Hilary and I discovered after seeing one of her prints in an upstairs bedroom of the Gropius House. Back then she wasn’t even a name to me, but I soon discovered that she was celebrated enough to have been collected by Charles Laughton and John Lewis–yes, that John Lewis–and written up in Time. (Neither of the pieces we bought can be viewed online, but you can see one of them by looking at my latest videoblog.)
Later that afternoon I went to Paul Moravec‘s apartment to listen to the fifth scene of The Letter, the Somerset Maugham opera we’re writing for Santa Fe Opera. Afterward we had dinner, then took a cab down to the Metropolitan Opera House to hear one of the singers who’ll be appearing in the premiere of The Letter two years from now. No names yet, but you’ll be impressed.
As we lined up to collect our tickets, I glanced at one of the fancy new TV monitors that flash information about the Met’s performances, and learned that illness had forced the singer in question to cancel out of that night’s performance.
“Damn,” I said, loudly enough that the other people in the line stared at me. (Actually I used a word of much higher voltage, one that The Wall Street Journal doesn’t print, even though it turns up fairly frequently in the plays of David Mamet.)
“What’s wrong?” Paul asked.
“Look at the screen,” I said.
“Damn,” he said. (Sort of.)
The next morning I flew to Chicago, regrettably unaccompanied by Mrs. T, who was stuck in Connecticut, waging war against the same virus that had laid her low throughout our honeymoon. Our Girl and I saw an amazingly good pair of shows and chewed over the wedding at length. Two days later I returned to New York to read my mail, write a piece, and change my underwear, and a few hours later I was en route to Smalltown, U.S.A., by way of Minneapolis, where I caught yet another important opening.
In Smalltown I told my mother all about the wedding (she’s too frail to travel by air) and ate biscuits and gravy with my brother at Bo’s, a superior barbecue joint that has just reopened after being temporarily shuttered, a disaster which forced hundreds of hungry Smalltowners to make their own biscuits or do without.
(To be continued)
• You will note some fresh stuff in the right-hand column. Act accordingly.
• I recently got a note from a longtime reader who mentioned in passing that he regretted my having “revoked his correspondence privileges,” which I assume means that I hadn’t written back to him lately. I hate to admit this, since I really do try to answer all my mail, but in recent months I’ve fallen down badly on the job, both here and at my Wall Street Journal mailbox. The problem is twofold. Not only do I now receive a horrendous amount of spam and publicity-related e-mail at both boxes, making it increasingly difficult for me to find the mail I want to read and answer, but I now have to use an intermittently overzealous spam filter in order to prune out the kudzu. (In addition there was also the little matter of my recent wedding, but enough about me.)
It’s worth saying again: OGIC, CAAF, and I all treasure your e-mail, and insofar as possible we mean to answer it. When we don’t, though, please keep faith in our good intentions!
“Using a camera appeases the anxiety which the work-driven feel about not working when they are on vacation and supposed to be having fun. They have something to do that is like a friendly imitation of work: they can take pictures.”
Susan Sontag, On Photography