Friday, January 1, 2016

Resolved: to part with the post-card

I found myself glancing through
a catalogue I've had for many
years, of works in the Art In-
stitute [of Chicago, it may be
superfluous to add], searching
through their Rembrandts, which
hold such a welcoming position
in their collection. Out popped
a post-card addressed in my hand
to my father, then a widower in
La Jolla, who had grown up in
Chicago until his early teens,
going west to school and stay-
ing on. With my favorite pen,
I noticed, I'd begun by saying,
this museum is fantastic. I say,
I'd begun this way, no saluta-
tion, Dear .. I never completed
the note, I never shared the 
picture or the sentiment, which
plainly had been intended to be
given. That meaning, that act
were forever lost.

I know very little of res-
olutions; I know ambitions,
I know expectations. But I
have learned a little bit
about communications. What-
ever else they convey, of
minor, trifling, passing in-
terest, they impart a qual-
ity of the personality. It
is necessary to discover,
this is not trifling, and
to persist in the transmit-
tal despite everything else.

Last year, the Rijksmuseum
mounted a "once in a life-
time" exhibition of later
works by Rembrandt, assem-
bled with the co-operation
of the leading collections
of the world. It had a can-
did purpose - to present a
privilege beyond valuation,

When I saw this photograph,
I confess I drew the most
sardonic and astonished con-
clusion; yes, it also struck
me as hilarious, for how the
genders spontaneously coagu-
late, seemingly molecularly.

But I do not question the
power of The Night Watch,
the canvas then undoubtedly
saturating the internet in
diligent flights of postal
surrogates. I see them hud-
dled in declaring what de-
lighted them, thinking what
they'd say, selecting their
recipients, hoping to show
what made one grateful. Not
failing to give it away. It
must be sent.

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