14 August, 2006

hotter than Hesse

Now that the temperature has returned to nice normal Connecticut numbers not in the triple digits, I can look at this photo and recognize that Avery is actually MELTING! And my poor friend Sarah Webb! Of course, it was her idea to meet up in the city, but when we scheduled the visit back in, gee, May, who knew it would be 105 degrees in New York that day! Just awful. But the reason for our visit was worth the hellish temperatures. The Eva Hesse show at the Jewish Museum was, Sarah and I agreed, the single best and most significant exhibition we have ever been to. She is, of course, the co-author of our book, "Singular Women," which we wrote together over seven years, the most rewarding project of our careers. Undoubtedly our feelings on this matter are colored by the fact that our work, and our emails about the project, were shared in equal measure by discussions of the completely remarkable things our baby daughters, then toddler daughters, then school-age daughters and Sarah's baby son, were doing, plus in those days we knew what each other was cooking for dinner every single night and exchanged many, many recipes and dinner party stories. But still, Eva Hesse is huge for both of us. Much of Sarah's own artmaking is inspired by Hesse, and I myself have taught Hesse's work in countless seminars, one at Christie's devoted to her. And so many of the artists whose work appeared at my gallery, and grace the walls of our homes, shows the lineage of her influence.

So there we were, in the sweltering, beyond torrid heat, contrasted by the near-arctic temperatures of the museum itself and the cafe where we had lunch. It was wonderful and touching to catch up with Sarah, to hear about her daughter's exploits. We reminisced about the dedication of our book: something like this. "To our daughters, who with their innocent question, 'Can men be artists too?' showed that feminism has indeed achieved its goals."

From there we headed to Tribeca, frankly driving slowly to take advantage of the air conditioned car! But even the heat could not spoil dinner with my friend Alyssa and her kids Annabelle and Elliot, at our old neighborhood haunt, "Roc." Rocco himself was there in all his Italian charm, and it was simply wonderful, and so heartwarming, to be back. Avery spent the night with Annabelle and I repaired to John's midtown hotel for a nice rendezvous! Being back has taught me this much: you in fact CAN go home again!

Three cheers for Eva Hesse, and all the artists who make life a bit more than just living. And sweating, for that matter!

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