but I'm content that this one bears unchanging delight to children, for- ever. (My marginalia, anyway).
For the camellias, I have only treasurings of sweet memory. They
were propagated in our own garden,
nearby, by my father, who delight-
ed in original graftings of his
selections. How interesting, it
strikes me, for no reason what so
ever, that those camellias have
long been mulched for the enrich-
ment of others I've never seen.
It is a fact that reacquaints me
with my sense of his fatherhood, and this contents me, too, as a frame for my undoubted degradation.
But we are willing to accommodate ourselves to the framing of any masterpiece. After all, it's also a protective act, and offers con- soling conservation. Yet, I don't mind to concede, that one can't be framed and still be seen, whole. It is a problem we have with the photographs of Valéry Lorenzo - they don't mesmerise, they remind. Steady, like a log riding a sawmill's spillway, the steady coydog.
The other day a columnist for The Washington Post - or would that be, a blog- ger; one never knows, in the Amazon kingdom, where the stuff is coming from - was hailing a subsidence of the Tea Party's ram- page against the 5th Com- mandment, and I found my- self tallying the list of deficiencies in that pro- ject, of chastising the Republican Party for ad- mitting modernity through the blinders. Is it too late a stage in this dawn- ing transition into back- sliding, to speak up for traction in the tea cup?
Something has happened, as I know you don't need to be told, to the composition of our materials. Some kind of hamburger helper concoction has invaded our porcelain, a weirdly shiny agent of slipperiness, which I sup- pose could be some cousin of that non-glass stuff that's going into glass these days, in bar tumb- lers of exotic endurance. And this, mind, is taking place at the very time that Lucretius' knowing complaint on behalf of a supporting finger, is be- ing addressed by reducing the diameter of the ring to a mockery of digital passage (not that it was ever to be condoned). That is to say, it's getting so one can't get a grip anymore.
Far be it from anyone's in- tentions, "after" what we're going through with the Repub- licans - always assuming, our scribe is on to a trend, be- yond coincidence - to open up a purge of the purgers, some indelicate raising of stakes in a game that was naughty in the first place. But a decline in our mettle is just certain to settle, if a shtetl's new kettle is not swept, pristine. As they say.
We repulse the slippery slope of tractionless teacups today, or we defend against this slip and fall of civilisation, it- self, in backlit boots of mil- itancy. (Whee! These bipolar binomials are fun, I've always wanted to try one). Nor is the slide confined to tumblers and go-go first responders, anymore. Even as we speak, we're find- ing an addition to one of the page's preferred edifices, con- fected of concrete diluted by 2 percent glistening titanium. And these are bearing walls, mind you, no dangling scrims for Renoir and Rubens and such stuff. How on earth, may we at least demand, could this have come to pass in Texas?
Martin Filler No Harm to the Kimbell The New York Review of Books December 9, 2013 Renzo Piano Building Workshop
The servants were preparing the dining-room for the eve- ning's reception. The after- noon sun squeezed through the velvet draperies and bounced off a runway of white damask, reflecting light over walls of Cordoba leather and a painting of amorous geese by Picasso's father, Ruiz Blasco. And then, poof, Argentina had gone, as if the canvas had been not a forgery, but another character of fraud, an unblinkable hypocrisy.
After the ceremony the older generation relaxed in the win- ter garden, attended by a maid in black and white, who served scones and pale tea. The conver- sation turned to Indians. The Englishman of the family said: All this business of Indian kil- ling is being a bit overstretch- ed. You see, these Indians were a pretty low sort of Indian. I mean, they weren't like the Az- tecs or the Incas. No civiliza- tion or anything. On the whole they were a pretty poor lot. Bruce Chatwin brought a cura- tor's gaze to narrative proven- ance. If he were a novelist, we'd know the painting were ironic, the shock would be diffused. But would we have Argentina?
This would be a sacrifice, of hunger, inquiry, love and aspiration we are not consti-tuted to make, short of the subtlest torment. We recognise the decor of Star Chamber. Who doesn't know by heart the lines of this play in his own langu-age, his own voice? We don't want to give up Chatwin, belonging by art as he might not have done to a life, he's just described in so few words. We don't want to give him up because he wrote for people who were friends of ours, whom one can remember through him, for whom we have left the table to drive off in the night to be with, them, hundreds of miles away. The season of our ceremo-nies brings the tableau back. And Argentina?