Art Vent Letting the Fresh Air In
This isn’t De Chirico, but Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, another culture where art isn’t a separate intellectual activity for the privileged, but is as pervasive and natural as the sun.
Then revisiting one of my favorite places, the old synagogue that Camille Pissarro’s family belonged to, off the beaten tourist track in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, V.I. Who knew that this famous French Impressionist was Jewish and from the Virgin Islands? I found out when I saw an exhibition of his work in St. Thomas some years ago, and reviewed it when it went to the Jewish Museum in New York. The synagogue is tiny and opulent, a rich interplay of colors and textures—mahogany, brass, blue velvet cushions—and a white sand floor, in memory, I was told, of illicit congregations in medieval Europe who put sand down to muffle the sound of their prayers.
In contrast, the geometry of Philadelphia’s new civic center in construction, across from the ornate Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, which my great-grandmother attended, and no doubt looks exactly as it did when she was there.
Then Stanford, which has to be the most beautiful university campus in the world. Yale and Harvard should weep. This is Palm Drive, three blocks of majestic trees leading up to the campus. One of the students told me that a replacement tree arrived like an enormous rocket on a flatbed truck and sat for awhile on its side near the studios. Cost (I was told): $80,000.
The Stanford graduate fine art program has only nine students, who are fully funded, and working in the most well-appointed and vast studios I’ve ever seen. For one brief moment, degree-less as I am, I was tempted to apply. This was lunch:
And palm fronds on the ground around the studios:
Finally, the weekend before last I flew back to JFK late Friday night and early Saturday made it up to Central Park West for an all-day This last weekend was the Anne Truitt opening at Matthew Marks, the guests intermingling with the sculptures:
For the next few weeks I intend to hole up in the Berkshires, finish off one essay, write another, and get up to speed in the studio. Oh, and work in the garden and finish the taxes I got an extension for. It never ends.