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New Year's Eve, coming into 2016, meant a bus ride back from New York City. In New York, a dozen or so of us from last year's Cuba trip got together for a most enjoyable supper at a Greenwich Village restaurant named Cuba. This year's big anticipation was going to the Netherlands to see the 500-year show of Hieronymus Bosch. He died in 1516. And I was figuring on other things being predictable. They started out that way, with ALA Midwinter in Boston after a few days with Bill in Cambridge. The Black Mountain College show at the Institute of Contemporary Art was especially interesting, as was the Crivelli show at the Gardner. We were in Scott's home territory so John joined Daniel and me at the hotel during ALA.

I was scheduled for Mohs surgery, in Rochester, for a spot on my nose just after ALA. That got postponed by the doctor and it was back to Alfred until early February and the College Art Association meeting in Washington. I got to see Elizabeth as well as bunches of CAA friends and colleagues. And hear lots of interesting papers. The hotel wasn't near the museums so there was less gallery-hopping than I would have liked. Again, my surgery which had been scheduled for the day after returning from Washington got postponed. The timing was beginning to get complicated since ARLIS/NA, which was meeting jointly with VRA and AASL, was coming up in Seattle in mid-March and I'd gotten tickets for Amsterdam at the end of March.

Finally, Mohs surgery day came on February 23rd. After several rounds of Mohs, the right side of my nose was pretty much gone but they got to the bottom of the basal cell sarcoma. The left side of my nose had been similarly de- and reconstructed in late 1997. This reconstruction started on the 24th. It was complicated because of the way the 1997 work had happened. I am very lucky to have my dear friend Rachel live next door to the plastic surgeon who did the reconstruction. I ended up spending most of March at Rachel's, with major parts of the surgery on March 3rd and 22nd which happen to be my dad's and sister Cathy's birthdays. I did get to a few concerts and a talk by JoAnn Falletta but mostly it was medical business all month. My mobility was not particularly hindered and Rachel's apartment is within walking distance of Eastman House, Memorial Art Gallery, Eastman School, as well as downtown and Park Avenue with its shops. But I did miss the ARLIS conference (AA did refund the cost of the flight) and had to delay my Dutch trip until late April/early May, just before the Bosch show closed.

The trip to the Netherlands was really enjoyable. I had a misterbnb room in Amsterdam for the whole time but went on several day trips and stayed in Den Bosch for two nights. The only Bosch exhibition ticket I could get from the U.S. at the late date was a Sunday night reservation at 10 p.m. The show was open until 1 a.m. and open 24 hours for the last few days. When I got to Den Bosch, there were also day tickets so I did get into the show twice for a couple hours each time. It was great to see so many of the paintings, many of which I had seen but there were some altarpieces whose component panels are in different collections and were now on view together as well as a Louvre/Yale panel that was split horizontally (probably my favorite moment in the show). My day trips included The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and Hilversum, plus plenty of days in Amsterdam, some in museums and some out on the streets. I had never seen the Rietveld-Schröder House in Utrecht or the Hilversum Town Hall and both monuments of 20th-century architecture are really splendid. We climbed up to the top of the Town Hall tower and could see Amsterdam and Utrecht on the horizon. Lots of Amsterdam School architecture and the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague by H.P. Berlage who also did the old stock exchange (Beurs) in Amsterdam. There was a nice show of Berlage and contemporary works inspired by his work on the lower level of the Beurs. My sister Carol had been interested in a show at the Van Gogh Museum, a show on prostitutes in French art. It was full of wonderful work and a fine installation. At the Gemeentemuseum, there was a Klimt/Schiele show that was a real knockout installation of the two featured paintings. A special treat was running into, thanks to Facebook checkins, Elaine and David Smyth who I hadn't seen for 30 years and happened to be in Amsterdam at the same time.

ALA Annual was in Orlando and the logistics were way better than the last time when the meetings were flung all across central Florida. This time, the bulk of the meetings were in the convention center and Scott and I had a hotel not too far away. Daniel skipped ALA. I did get to see Daniel and Gary after the ARLIS/Upstate visit to Storm King Art Center in the Hudson Valley, and then went up to my sister Roberta's. Also got in a couple trips to New York City as I worked on the required minimum withdrawals from my pension funds in this year that I turned 70 1/2. Beware, you boomers. I also got out to Boston and up to Maine to see Bill and Christie, and more art and other friends and bookstores.

The year also brought plenty of talks here in Alfred, the MostArts festival in early July (chamber music at lunchtime and evening concerts for a whole week), trips to Buffalo and Rochester to see art and the doctor, indexing for the Avery Index for Architectural Periodicals, reference/cataloging duty at the ceramics library during the terms, plenty of reading and being, morning walks around the loop, a shift back to being alone in the house as Jeanette has bought a house in Almond, watching Christie's progress as she walked the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain, along with watching with horror as the U.S. seems to be backing up on social and environmental progress. The surgery and the election season probably took more out of me emotionally than I have let myself feel but the solace of good books and friends usually restores me. So do episodes of The Durrells in Corfu. I even read Bitter Lemons by Lawrence Durrell, about his time on Cyprus. Beautifully written and evocative of a place and time.

I wish you all a good holiday season, and strength for peace and justice in 2017. I'm looking forward to ALA in Atlanta, ARLIS in New Orleans, CAA in NYC, AASL in Detroit, and maybe VRA in Louisville. They're all pretty much on top of each other, date wise. No Europe on the schedule but lots of dreams and a few schemes. I'm reading an Anne Tyler novel at the moment, my first in a while, and it's calling me. You can read more about my travels and see some pictures on my blog or Flickr photostream.

Sherman Clarke, 33 South Main Street, Alfred, NY 14802

http://shermaniablog.blogspot.com/
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