••• 2 0 0 6 •••

No European trips this year (sigh!) but Mac and I did see “Casanova” on January 2nd and it felt like Venice for a couple hours. Definitely not the same as being there but it sufficed for days. I was reading Snow by Orhan Pamuk then and he won the Nobel Prize for Literature later in the year. I’ve read several of his novels as well as Istanbul and I recommend them all. My favorite of his novels is The black book and someone was looking for it at the reference desk today but she settled on a Saramago title. I could understand entirely the shift from one book to another. So much to read and I turned 60 this year so maybe one of these decades I’ll just sit home and read. Clearly, the stacks of books are getting ready for me.

Reading is just part of the business of getting through the year. There were performances of music, dance, and theater; art galleries and museums; walking tours and architectural lectures; professional conferences; and going to the office too. Work has been somewhat frustrating as we have worked on system migration which has taken longer than anticipated. I so enjoy however the daily interaction on cataloging business as well as working on the authority control processing we are doing in conjunction with the migration. I have also taken on a couple hours of reference duty each week and find that very satisfying.

The year of professional and other traveling started in January with ALA Midwinter in San Antonio. Lots of visits to Mi Tierra, a festive restaurant in the Mercado, somewhat touristic but amusing and good margaritas. Daniel and I stayed at the Saint Anthony Hotel where ARLIS had met several years ago. San Antonio is a great city for conferences.

February 12th brought a record-breaking snowfall. Arno and Marvin couldn’t get into the city from Princeton so I trekked down to the Henry Street Settlement for Britten’s “Albert Herring” to use their tickets. The adventure and the opera were good but the fluffy snow was totally gone in four days as the temperature rose. At about the same time, Theater Askew was doing its “I, Claudius Live” at the bar under Acme Bar. What fun: silly but a live re-creation of the Masterpiece Theatre series was pretty amusing. About a week later, it was off to Boston for the College Art Association meetings. I stayed with Bill Connor in Cambridge but got to lots of interesting sessions, and spent good time with Tee Corinne and others. Saturday night the Queer Caucus had a reception at an exhibition out at U Mass Boston. Tee was feeling a little peeked at the reception. She discovered a few days after getting back to Oregon that she had bile duct cancer.

Tee and I had edited the Queer Caucus for Art Newsletter together since 1995 or so. I did go visit her in August in Oregon and she died soon after. I miss her input but I feel her inspiration in the newsletter and on life in general. She enjoyed hearing about my gallery hopping and my reactions to art I was viewing. Her friend Jean Sirius maintained a blog while Tee was sick so that those of us away from Oregon could keep up. I got a blogger account because I thought I had to in order to contribute a comment to Tee’s. It’s really just like a diary but of course you can share it which makes it very different. When I was growing up, my mother got a letter from her father every week. I used to be pretty good about writing to Mom and Dad and others but have gotten worse and worse at it. Why is it that we can find time to blog or email, but don’t get letters sent? Of course, some people use the phone a lot.

VRA was in Baltimore in early March. Again, lots of good interacting with friends and colleagues and walks around the city. The conference hotel was just across the street from Harborplace so it was easy to get to the water, the Visionary Arts Museum, Fells Point, the Walters, and the buses out to Hopkins or the BMA. I found Bertha’s Mussels again where the UCAI group had dined during ARLIS a few years ago.

ARLIS wasn’t until early May in Banff and was normal and very special. I was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award which is a great honor. Liz O’Keefe of the Morgan made the presentation at the convocation. It was very sweet. The convocation concluded with a bit of Shakespeare: love sonnets and bits of dialog set against the Brokeback mountains of Alberta. The convocation reception was also extraordinary. Some folks were going out dancing afterwards so I joined them at a chest-thumping dance club where the next younger person than us ARLISites was about 100 years younger. Nonetheless, it served as a fine release to dance my toesies off. The next day, the clerk at the hotel desk recognized me as did the maitre d’ at the hotel restaurant. Sigh. You gotta have a gimmick.

Another exciting moment at ARLIS was during a session on the digital reconstruction of medieval manuscripts. Otto Ege was a Cleveland dealer in the 1940s and 1950s who constructed albums of loose ms leaves for sale. Some folks at Saskatchewan and Denison universities are re-building the mss digitally by sequencing images of the various manuscripts he used in building his albums. As the speakers showed their slides, I realized that I have a few Ege leaves in my own collection, bought in grad school days in Cleveland for $10 or $15 or maybe $25.

The interstices of the spring had been filled with preparing a paper for a preconference on Cataloging cultural objects at summer ALA in New Orleans. The preconference went well. Being in New Orleans was, of course, somewhat unusual. The French Quarter and convention area were much restored and I didn’t get out into the neighborhoods. Daniel and Gary did and they said it was devastating to see block after block of destruction, as did Nancy Green’s husband who had been out exploring while Nancy was at meetings.

On July 4th weekend, I went up to Ithaca to join Diane Hillmann in driving up to Syracuse to help Charles Tremper celebrate his 60th birthday. There were upwards of 6 or 8 of us that were turning 60 in 2006. Baby boom, you know. About a week later, Heidi Hass hosted a birthday party for me and it was splendid. She and John Maier had picked a quote by Virginia Woolf from my commonplace book to decorate the red velvet cake (“How shall I find the grains of truth in this mass of paper?”). Great cake and such a wonderful (and appropriate) surprise on the frosting. Another short trip during July was up to Providence to see Deb Kruse and to attend the opening reception at the new RISD Library space in a renovated bank hall. Lovely space, great fun to see a lot of RISD folks.

With the CCO paper behind me and the conference season over, I decided I had to go to Oregon to see Tee so I made a reservation for August 14th. She was in the hospital when I arrived but came home before I left. My last sight of Tee was her on the couch and a deer in the yard nibbling on a bush, and her caretaker Jeanne Simington saying it didn’t matter. I had several good chats with Tee and it was very good to meet several of the people who had been caring for Tee over the months she was dying. While there, I stayed at the Wolf Creek Sanctuary, a Radical Faerie commune, in the woods near Tee’s. Tee gave me a few singleton earrings, one of which is especially cherished and has the shape of a calla lily with all its layers of meanings, and association with Tee and her work.

Bill and I spent the week after Labor Day in the apartment in Provincetown where we had stayed a couple years ago. We had a good time swimming in the ocean and eating clam chowder and other good things. Susan and Gabriella were there for part of our stay, and added greatly to the festivities.

A few other highlights of the year: Memorial Day with the family at Carol and Barb’s in Branchport (Finger Lakes), including a ritual in the woods; lecture by Adelheid Gealt on Domenico Tiepolo in conjunction with show at the Frick (Sherry and Woody Kelley invited me to the lecture and a reception afterwards for Indiana University patrons, with the reception being at a home with a Bruce Nauman on the deck and an exquisite Flemish portrait in the library among many other works); lecture by Ellen Landau on Herbert Matter and Jackson Pollock in the old Whitney Museum building in Greenwich Village (Heidi and I had dinner with a bunch of CWRU alumni in a fabulous space on Macdougal Alley); helping Christie Stephenson get from her rental in Fort Greene to the coop in Boerum Hill, both Brooklyn (now she can really get settled after returning to NYC 18 months ago); dining at Aroma on East 4th Street with other officers of the SAH chapter and our speaker in a wine “cave” entered down a narrow staircase between buildings.

Thanksgiving was spent at my sister Roberta’s home in Queensbury, New York. On Friday, I dragged several family members to the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College for the Nina Katchadourian show. It was wonderful: great art, accessible, good for family stories, lasting memories. The weather was so mild that we also took a lovely and easy walk along the shore of Lake George.

Before I close, I’ll just list some of the special books and art exhibits from the past year. Among the books that I especially enjoyed were the Caravaggio biography by Francine Prose; The story of the night by Colm Toibín; Now is the hour by Tom Spanbauer; Wanderlust: a history of walking by Rebecca Solnit; and On beauty by Zadie Smith. I re-read Ship of fools by Katherine Anne Porter and was delighted to find her on a postage stamp not long after. Some of the special art things were Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao’s photos of Queens; Alejandro Cesarco at Murray Guy; “Neo con” at Apex; “Down by law” on the mezzanine at the Whitney Biennial; John Arsenault photos at ClampArt; Emily Jacir lecture at IFA; and Kara Walker and Sean Scully at the Met. Lots of music including the Belcea Quartet with Ian Bostridge and Sofia Gubadulina cello pieces at Zankel Hall. And so much else too including theater with Mac and several visits to Cinemarosa at the Queens Museum. But I’m out of space and you’ve probably stopped reading. I plan on spending Christmas in the city and maybe go up to Boston for a couple days before New Year’s to see the new building of the Institute of Contemporary Art.

May your holidays be filled with happiness, peace and health, and may your new year get off to a splendid start and continue on that path.

Sherman Clarke
14 Washington Place #6J
New York, NY 10003