Thank you for understanding. I will keep publishing and promise not to give out your name, only the exact coordinates of your address like they did in S-Town. Just kidding!
Last night was the Cleveland Museum of Art with Doug! The highest sober high. Felt like we had dipped beneath the surfaces of something and ran in those currents that you can’t see on top of the water but that carry people far and fast. he said about a Diebenkorn:
“it’s one of the good ones,” and I believed him.
We ate Indian food and talked about how he met his first wife and they moved to a pug farm together and lived there and loved it and each other and then decided to get married after two months. A pug farm. Can you imagine that many improbable mouth breathers in one place?? We walked through an Alex Katz show together full of two dimensional 1950s bodies and portraits of his gorgeous wife Ada. The ones (unsurprisingly I guess) that interested me most were tiny, what the curator called, “intimate” collages of strange interiors and sunbathers and cats. It must be strange to have our last name sound like the plural of an animal.
Today my body is a pile of mushy bones and pulpy brains. I want to stay here for a while which is scary. I’m sinking in anyway. But right now I’m staring athet door waiting for you to walk through it.
The vision of a lake you described makes sense ot me, knowing you—your erotic life as a vast lake—Lake Erie maybe? Something that seems like an ocean but which is in fact drinkable. Something with boundaries and limits not immediately perceptible to the eye, something to ride on. You’re anything but frigid to me but I see the moments when you dissappear and go somewhere else. I want to reach you in these moments—to travel to the icy limits of your heart and thaw them but I wonder if that’s really for me to do.
I sat down with artist Ryan Dewey yesterday. He’s such a brainiac. It’s wonderful. He has a background in cognitive science and is about to come out with a book. Check him out. I feel like you two would really connect over a love of theories of capitalist production, distribution and science—again the technical aspects of things, but he and I had a conversation about the vicissitudes of intimacy. He has a piece called KEEP US ALIVE which is a terrarium embedded in cement with a grow light. He ran down to his basement and then back up to plop it down in front of me. He got the idea for the project from Tamagotchi pets, those digital pets that rely on constant human interaction to stay alive. (Remember how I told you I named one after my middle school crush and then Emma totally tortured me about it once she found out? Yeah, that 90s tech shit was WAY intimate.)
If I told you to take an actionin relation to this object, what would you do? Ryan asked
I wrapped my hands around it and he pushed further,
I drew it towards me.
I looked blank. He showed me a small red button on top of the concrete cylinder.
So, in order for the plant to survive you need to depress this button down for eight hours every day. If you don’t spend time touching it every day this plant will die, he explained.
Even after he laughingly admitted that he’d fulfilled the plants quota that morning by “sticking a can of paint on top of it,” I kept my finger on the button for a full twenty five minutes. Towards the end of this time Ryan went on:
The intimacy is formed because of the empathy that’s pulling you into relation to that object. And there’s something you know about that plant that makes you want to take action and it kind of could also play on like a, depending on your motivation for it, it’s either just a benevolent act or maybe you feel some obligation to the plant or maybe you have a savior complex—
I have been doing it for a while, I replied.
Yeah, you have. So, I don’t know.
It got me thinking about my own pursuit of intimacy—how I act like some kind of bloodhound for it. When I took my finger off the small red button on top of the concrete containter it had left a similarly red indented mark on the skin of my fingertips. The plant pushed back. Ryan’s work deals in part with traces left by objects or other people on humans and other objects. I showed him the effemeral trace on my savior-complexed finger as it seemed like a slap kiss given to me by art.
Later, at the CMA with Doug, we were both drawn to the same oil painting of Katz’s which was not the typical portraits that I guess he’s known for from the 50s but rather a smallish oil on masonite of a vase of flowers. Its layout reminded me of a William Morris wallpaper—the pastel colors and casual symmetry. Doug though it looked a little bit Indian (we had just been talking about my time there) and as I thought about it today, I thought of the image of the of the tree of life from the 17th century:
I guess I researched it a while ago when I was thinking about Wink’s Tree of Life designs for Shackleton Thomas. Katz’s colors are markedly different and his is a still life in the western tradition, but it has the same sense of flat growth. I can’t find of image of it, even though I scoured the internet, so you’ll just have to trust me. Patterns are everywhere:
Ok, I’m so hungry, have to go eat something.
Love you so,