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"[There is] no better physic for a melancholy man than change of air and variety of places, to travel abroad and see fashions." So said the Oxford University scholar Robert Burton in his encyclopedic Anatomy of melancholy (1621). I read this in Some reasons for travelling to Italy by the Australian architect Peter Wilson who practices in Germany as well as around the world. Most of my traveling the past couple years has been virtual but thank heavens for memory and armchair traveling by reading or other means of consuming another's travels.

I did get to New York City once and Boston a couple times during 2021 but mostly I didn't get beyond the local area. The second trip to Boston was to see the Titian show at the Gardner Museum. What a special experience that was. They'd cleaned up their Titian and gathered the others in the mythological series for Philip II to celebrate the cleaning project. I met Christie at the Gardner and then went up to her house in Maine for a couple days before returning to Alfred. We had a particularly nice day trip to Bar Harbor. The first trip to Boston was as a waystation before and after a week in Provincetown with Bill (and part of the week with Barbara). That was enjoyable though the July 4th fireworks were cancelled. I stopped at MASS MoCA on the way home both times from Boston, always an enjoyable art venue. Also visited the Clark Art Institute in November. MASS MoCA had a significant ceramics show in November.

There was plenty of art and architecture during a long Memorial Day weekend in New York City: Frick Madison; "Grief and Grievance" at the New Museum (especially Dawoud Bey and Rashid Johnson); Alice Neel and Ellison ceramics collection at the Met; NYC views at Arader; "Reconstructions" at MoMA; Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe at MAD; more Dawoud Bey at the Whitney; Nina Katchadourian at Pace; Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station; Sanford Biggers at Rockefeller Center; "Ghost Forest" by Maya Lin in Madison Square. And supper with Daniel and Gary and staying at John's.

I find myself parading through my pictures from European (and other) trips, and letting the memories flow. My reading this past year also included Italian journey by J.W. von Goethe. I really enjoyed it when he was traveling around Italy and less so when he was arguing with his publisher. Art as therapy by Alain de Botton and John Armstrong had come highly recommended but I found it annoying. For me, art is not explicit therapy. I find solace in art viewing and art can distract in a good way but it's not therapeutic in the way that the authors argue. That is, for example, art work X can ease your problems because of Y. It was rather like the iconographer who explains the meaning of every object in an early Netherlandish Annunciation. Yes, but it's a beautiful painting.

Other books that I especially enjoyed: The yellow house by Sarah Broom; The Dutch house by Ann Patchett; Alec by William di Canzio; Invisible man by Ralph Ellison; Becoming Duchess Goldblatt.

I did get to see some out-of-Alfred friends when I was traveling and see folks on various virtual platforms. In person is better, as you know. For now, some of my spring 2022 conferences are scheduled to be in person but Omicron may squelch that. It has been nice to be able to attend lectures and other programs at distant places when they're presented virtually. Examples: Paul Revere Williams architect with the Getty; Breuer's Wellfleet cottage with Docomomo; Jenny Tobias on her Bard Graduate Center project; Belle da Costa Greene with the Morgan.

The MostArts Festival and young pianist competition was cancelled again this year. Live music is pretty sparse in the area and no classical music station is available on the radio waves. Yes, I know I could stream music or play a recording.

Indexing for the Avery index to architectural periodicals (based at Columbia) continues to be very enjoyable. It's not very different now than it was before the pandemic. All remote work, connected to a Columbia server. I am also working part-time at the ceramics library, just Sundays this past term plus some cataloging when it comes up. SUNY changed to a new catalog environment a couple years ago and original cataloging has moved to OCLC Connexion.

I have been to see a couple films in cinemas: King Richard and The French Dispatch. I do enjoy seeing films on the big screen but the sparse audiences are not terribly different from watching a film on Netflix. It doesn't feel that collective.

We all dream of getting past the pandemic. Hopes rise, hopes fall. May you find joy and peace now and through the new year, with what it brings and how it brings it.

With love and best wishes for 2022.


Sherman Clarke
33 South Main Street
Alfred, NY 14802
sherman.clarke@gmail.com
http://shermaniablog.blogspot.com/