ALA Midwinter was in Atlanta later in January. My regular ALA roommates skipped this Midwinter (Daniel has retired, Scott's regular Midwinter meeting has gone virtual) so John and I shared a room. ALA was the normal mix of meetings and seeing friends and colleagues, and this year the Women's March combined with Martin Luther King Day events. John and I went up to high floors in the atrium of a couple of the Portman hotels. I did get to the High Museum which was between shows so it was mostly permanent collection on view. No problem.
About a week after getting back from Atlanta, I headed to New Orleans for the ARLIS/NA conference with a few days before for looking around. There was a nice show of Mickalene Thomas works at Tulane, Rasheed Newsome at the Contmeporary Art Center, John Laughlin at the Historic N.O. Collection, Newcomb pottery at Madame John's Legacy, and I also toured a few cemeteries. Daniel and I stayed at the Biscuit Palace Guesthouse in the Quarter which was fun but quite a hike to the conference hotel. The Cataloging Advisory Committee was able to make great progress on the art genre/form terms. We had some yummy food, including oysters (twice) at Acme and lunch at Willie Mae's Scotch House with Daniel, Patricia, and Carol.
The College Art Association conference in New York City was right after ARLIS and I actually delayed going down to the city in order to have one day at home for repacking and whatnot. I enjoyed many of the papers I heard at CAA and got to see a number of friends, discovering that grad school buddy Caroline actually lived in Wellsville as a child when her mother was a student at Alfred University. Now, poor thing, she has to live in Pont Aven in Brittany. We had another reunion supper of our little group of travelers from the Cuba trip in 2015. The day after the conference, I got to the Cloisters, Bronx Museum, and Studio Museum, for a good dose of art viewing.
I slipped over to Cleveland a few days after getting home for the show at the Cleveland Museum centering on the Gothic fountain and also found the wonderful Adam Pendleton show at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Sara Jane and I had plenty to talk about, including reminiscing about grad school days.
Later March brought the annual conference of the Association of Architecture School Librarians in Detroit. I'd helped some with the tours, based on love of Detroit more than knowledge of the city. We had wonderful tours of Lafayette Place, Fisher Center, and the Detroit Institute of Arts, and some bus touring of several neighborhoods. I also got to have a nice breakfast with my cousin Megan and her husband Les in Lafayette Park.
I spent April at home but went up to see Christie in central Maine after classes ended in May and the Scholes obligation was on hiatus for the summer. It was wonderful to hear tales of Christie's camino to Santiago last fall. We have been talking about going to Turin and Milan but haven't quite made it yet. We didn't go too far afield but climbed about on Mount Battie near Camden and spent some time in Camden and Belfast.
Another trip to NYC in early June, cat-sitting at John's and seeing as much art as I could including the Whitney Biennial, Marsden Hartley at the Met Breuer, "The Arcades" at the Jewish Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright at MoMA, Lissa Rivera at ClampArt, Kehinde Wiley and Laurent Grasso at Sean Kelly. A fairly quick turnabout to ALA Annual in Chicago which included the regular meetings and a supper gathering with Daniel and Gary and some others, supper with Nicole who was my AFSC fundraiser and we love talking NYC and a thousand other things, supper with Anne who had the audactiy to leave the library world but fortunately lives in Chicago, drinks with John atop the Hancock Tower, and a day following the conference in the Art Institute and other art venues. I didn't get to Boston and/or Provincetown during the summer but did go see Bill in October. The week in Boston was followed by a joint ARLIS chapter meeting in Williamstown; Bill and I went out early and spent several hours the day before at Mass MoCA and then the day after at The Mount, Naumkeag, and the Berkshire Museum. Warm for the middle of October and Naumkeag was especially wonderful. Bonus: a quickie trip to Boston in November with Elizabeth.
These annual letters end up being mostly about the un-ordinary days. I have continued to index for the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals which is based at Columbia University and I do the work online. It's piece-work so timing is flexible. My two days a week at the Scholes Library of Ceramics is regular when school is in session but provides interaction with the staff and students. I must admit I sometimes feel constrained by the regular hours, especially when I read about others' trips to exotic places. I am now the treasurer of the local Baker's Bridge Historical Association as well as of the Alfred Seventh-day Baptist Church where my dad was pastor in the 1960s. I do always have a book in progress, using Goodreads to keep track. There was some traveling about in the region including touring sacred sites in Bath and Corning, up to Rochester and Buffalo a few times including twice to Buffalo for Frank Lloyd Wright lectures, to Canajoharie for an ARLIS/Upstate meeting and Ithaca for a VRA/Upstate meeting. All that traveling but somehow I didn't make it out of the U.S. this year.
Special music this year included the MostArts Festival in Alfred in early July and a couple pop-up concerts of contemporary music at Miller Theater in NYC in June.
Books: Americanah by C.N. Adichie; Bad feminist by Roxane Gay; Counterpreservation by Daniela Sandler; The tin can tree by Anne Tyler; Life mask by Emma Donoghue; Paper by Mark Kurlansky; Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 by Francine Prose.
Crazy solace: binge-watching Downton Abbey. I've been around three or four times this year and just let myself fall into the all-consuming world of the abbey upstairs and downstairs. Sadly (?), I can say a number of lines before the actor does so I'm not going around again right away.
May your new year bring peace and well-being to you and yours.
Sherman Clarke, 33 S. Main Street, Alfred, NY 14802