• Poetry
  • Everything is Continuous

    A skin drum, hand made in Morocco and an artifact of extraordinary presence, was lent to me by my friend John Wyrick and now hangs on my studio wall. Exercise First, forget what time it is for an hour. Do it regularly every day. Then forget what day of the week it is, and do […]

  • Art Making
  • Up Against Oblivion

    Sargy Mann, blind painter Here’s a story I have never encountered before. Sargy Mann spends 25 years as a painter and ends up losing his sight. But he decides to keep painting. From an article about Mann by Tim Adams in the Guardian: “After a bit I thought: ‘Well here goes,’ and loaded a brush […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Resting on Perception

    Saul Bellow Art and meaning. Big topic, and one that just keeps morphing and moving through our relationship with art making in whatever form that takes. I’ve written on that complex topic a lot here, if only peripherally given its depth, but my interest in it is tireless. Leon Wieseltier’s New York Times review of […]

  • Poetry
  • Openings

    The universe in a blade of grass (…or in a lid left on your work table in the angled light of afternoon) Here’s more on the theme of looking for and relishing the unexpected, life’s little and big exceptions, those “black swans” that appear out of nowhere (as I wrote about here.) I am also […]

  • Philosophy
  • Tinker Away

    It is important to have a secret, a premonition of things unknown. It fills life with something impersonal, a numinosum. A man who has never experienced that has missed something important. He must sense that he lives in a world which in some respects is mysterious; that things happen and can be experienced which remain […]

  • Current viewings
  • PEM Update

    18th century lacquer work from Quianlong Garden Currently at the Peabody Essex Museum: The Emperor’s Private Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden City, on view through January 9 before it moves to the Metropolitan Museum in New York. This collection of artifacts, never before seen by the public, is taken from a sanctuary built in the […]

  • Art/Theory
  • Irony and Meaning

    Barnett Newman I’ve been having a lot of discussions lately about irony, particularly its role in art. Many of these are conversations I have been having with parts of myself, but some of them are with friends and cotravelers. This interest was piqued a few weeks ago when a good friend with an exceptionally developed […]

  • Poetry
  • Some Days That’s All You’ve Got

    Ad for L. L. Bean, back in the day (1941) Photo: George Strock/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images “I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. I put them on and […]

  • Art/Spiritual
  • Backs to the World

    Agnes Martin. Her wisdom and point of view has stepped in and shifted my thinking many times over the years. This week I happened upon an interview with her, and it was like a Heimlich maneuver dislodging a blockage. She is so unabashedly mystical. Some say that she didn’t read a newspaper for the last […]