Years ago I got into a taxi with my large portfolio.
"What have you got there?" said the cabby.
"It's my work," I said, "I go to Art School."
"That's a nice hobby for you," he said.
"I plan to make it my life's work!"
"Well, you know what they say; 'Happy the man who loves his work and one woman.' "
Then he turned all the way around in his seat to get a look at me and said,
"I guess that might work for a woman, too." I agreed, but finding The One wasn't easy.
In High School my best friend Susan went out with Dan, the coolest boy in the school--a student
activist, a "serious person," and cute in that early Sixties way of short hair but not too short, khakis,
button-down shirts and tan bucks. He used to take her into the city to visit the Museum of Modern Art.
They had a favorite painting.
He sent her a postcard that said, "Giacometti is dead, the world will revolve a little slower." That was so romantic, so glamorous, so cultural, I was sick with envy. I couldn't imagine having such an elegant boyfriend. What did I have to offer a boy who talked about Giacometti? I didn't even know who Giacometti* was.
I moved to New York City and my actress friend, Margaret, said to the man who had just directed her in a play at the Actor's Studio, "I know just the girl for you and if you don't call her I'll never speak to you."
To me she said, "He's okay looking--he looks like he belongs with you." And that was Arthur.
We met for drinks and after a very pleasant hour he said,
"I have a meeting and I have to go."
I laughed and said, "You didn't think you'd like me so you had an escape plan, right?"
He said, "Why don't you meet me at Joe Allen's in an hour and a half?"
I did. Joe Allen's is a theater bar. I heard someone at the next table say, "He built his career on the corpses of other careers."
I thought, "Oh boy, this is the real deal," and it's all worked out quite well since then.
Recently on a trip to Washington we dropped in to the East Wing of the National Gallery. That lobby with the giant Calder hanging from the ceiling takes my breath away.
We found a room full of little Calder mobiles and I said to the guard, "I'd love to see these move--do you ever want to give them a push?"
He said, "There are cameras all around." So I kept my hands to myself. I could have stayed there but Arthur wanted to see the Rothkos so we proceeded past Barnet Newman's Stations of the Cross,
into a gallery full of Mark Rothko's large color fields.
I waited impatiently while Arthur wandered around and finally said, "Rothko leaves me cold."
"I don't want to hear that" he said, "these paintings move me. I feel it deeply, right here." And he touched his heart.
"Well, I'm going to keep moving." I walked out and ran right into
Giacometti's Walking Man. Life Size.
I said to God or whoever runs the universal messaging system that had just spoken to me,
"You don't have to tell me twice," and went straight to the gift shop and bought Arthur a Mark Rothko coffee mug.
Isn't it a beauty?
Arthur with two nieces
January 26, 2023