I fancied a conspiracy among them to shock the literary pilgrim, and to minify the precious emotions he had experienced in visiting other shrines; but I found no harm in that, for I knew just how much to be shocked, and I thought I knew better how to value certain things of the soul than they.
It was in this office, too, and in his intermittent frequentation of Pfaff's that his wit was tem pered. It was give and take there by the brightest minds in New York. The retold story and the repeated bon mot were rigorously barred, but the new good thing was sure of applause. In this fierce light Aldrich at first played a shrinking part, but soon he became known as the wielder of a rapier that no man cared to trifle with.
Yet, as hereto fore, his secure fineness of quality kept him from taking too deep a color of cynicism from his circle, or adopting its pose. There were many other phases of his life that tended to correct the provincialism of Bohemia, which is of all provincialisms perhaps the narrowest. In and he read poems at several college commencements, in company with such orators as Everett, Phillips, and Curtis ; and his summers of young sentiment in Portsmouth took him far from the coasts of Bohemia.
In July, , he wrote to Stoddard from Portsmouth: To see her every day I Ah, well, brush the dust off your courtship days and you will understand me. Besides the titular poem, the volume contained "Cloth of Gold," "We knew it would Rain," "After the Rain," "Nameless Paui," "Palabras Carinosas," "When the Sultan goes to Ispahan," and the "Invocation to Sleep," together with two-score pieces of a less disciplined poetic temper that Aldrich wisely discarded in the course of years.
It was this volume, apparently, that the poet had chiefly in mind when he wrote "L'Envoi" that appeared fifteen years later at the end of "Cloth of Gold, and Other Poems": Turning the pages idly, so, I look with smiles upon the woe, Upon the joy with tears! Howells, writing in the "Saturday Press," phrased this quality with a penetrating felicity: Aldrich is a poet, and better than an epic for him. All hearts, however dulled by care, and doubt, and wrong, feel sometimes the Nameless Pain, only different in degree.
How it thrills and trembles in the heart of the poet he has described? We do not, even the greatest-tongued of us, describe or express intense sensa tion. The best that any can do is to let the soul be seen for an instant with the secret lightning of feeling playing through it, and illuming it flammae inter nubes.
Aldrich's poem of ' Nameless Pain. As the editor stated in his last valediction, "This paper is discontinued for lack of funds, which is, by a coincidence, precisely the reason for which it was started. His relation to the paper had never been more than an elastic one, and even had there been more cause for discouragement, an event soon occurred which would have availed to cheer him. For three years he had been sending verse to the "Atlantic Monthly," then firmly established as the arbiter of taste in America, with, for one reason or another, ill success.
But one fine morning in April, , his mail contained this note: I must add some thanks and appreciation. I have put it down for June. Very truly yours, J. Lowell promptly called at the office to say that he was so enheartened by the recognition that he had about made up his mind to follow literature as a profession. Our poet was no longer the laureate of Bohemia. In the five years to come we shall find him still living hi New York, it is true, and still on terms of friendship with many of the Bohemians, yet constantly extending the radius of his poetic reputation, steadily advancing in characteristic achievement, and what was to prove still more important in his life rapidly strengthening his personal relations with the writers of the New England group CHAPTER III ARRIVAL THE summer of found Aldrich free for the nonce from all journalistic and editorial ties, happy as a lark in his freedom, and similarly employed in song.
For the sake of an effective chapter beginning it would be pleasant to allude to the thunder-clouds of civil war that were darkening over the country and trace their effect in the deepening of the young poet's mood. This will have to be done a page or two farther on, but for the present the veracious historian must content himself with portraying a mind happily preoccupied with poetical projects, and more concerned with rhymes than rebellions.
In July he cruised comfortably down to Portsmouth in his uncle's yacht, and there entered upon another of those idyllic seasons that played so important a role in the fur nishing of his imagination. A letter to Stoddard will help us to revive the spirit of that vanished summer: Sunday Morning, August, Don't fancy that pen and I have been strangers these five weeks.
Bayard Taylor couldn't write more verse than I have in the same number of days. A lyric, "The Robin," will be in the October number. I am forty lines into a blank-verse story. So you see I have been doing better things than writing letters. Is the "little party" with you yet? Has she been writing great, big passionate little stories and picturesque poems all summer? I would like to compare poetical notes with her. Good Lord, how contented I am here!
I hate a city more than I do the devil. I would like to have this sea and sky and forest around me forever. I shall have a host of things to tell you and Lizzy about the yacht trip. Give my love to her and the Taylors, to Mrs. He seems to have had during this win ter of 1 no regular connection with any periodical, and to have employed his time as the singing impulse urged.
In the summer he had written to Fields from Portsmouth again proposing the publication of a volume of his poetry: Sometime in September I shall have a small book ready for the types. It would be of such service to me. Upon its cover the volume bore the title " Poems of a Year," which led a wicked reviewer to describe it as " Poems of a Yearling. It contained of pieces that have been retained "Pythagoras," "Pampinea" a poetic recollection of his past summer , "Hesperides," "The Crescent and the Cross," "Piscataqua River," and "The Lunch " ; and the poems since discarded largely longer pieces, in the ballad vein not uncolored with maca- beresque were more mature in both temper and execu tion than their fellows in his previous collections.
Of all 1 Later spelled Pampina. ARRIVAL 53 the poems in the volume perhaps the one that lingers long est in the memory is the smooth yet ardent celebration of the well-beloved river of his boyhood adventures. Few readers will dissent from this view of Longfellow's: Mine is 'Piscataqua' of With all their beauties the others play mostly in the realm of Fancy; but this lives, moves, and has its being in the realm of Imagination, 1 clothing the palpable and familiar with golden exhala tions of the dawn. Throughout his later life he bought and destroyed every copy that he discovered in the auction catalogues.
All told he played Herod to some twenty-five copies. With the cheerful liberty of a free lance Aldrich went down again to Portsmouth very early in the spring of , and now we begin to find the sombre shadow of the war upon the page in earnest. In December, , he had written a poem entitled "The Man and the Hour," afterwards printed in the "Poems of a Year," which con cluded with this eloquent foreshadowing, we may believe, of the career of Abraham Lincoln: What master spirit from the dark shall rise: And with a will inviolate as fate's, God-like and prudent, merciful and wise, Do battle in God's name and set us right Ere on our glory ruin broods and night!
In April he wrote a letter to Governor Goodwin applying for an appointment on the staff of the colonel in command of the New Hampshire regiment. There seems to have been some delay in the decision, and when some weeks later a telegram arrived announcing his appointment to the staff of General Lan der, Aldrich was away from home and the message never reached him. Al drich J s collection of contained this elegy, which was never afterwards reprinted: He fought the Good Fight valiantly and won.
Speak of his daring. This man held his blood Cheaper than water for the Nation's good. Rich Mountain, Fairfax, Romney he was there. Intolerant of every mean desire ; Ice where he liked not; where he loved, all fire. Other days, Peaceful and prosperous, shall give him praise. How will our children's children breathe his name, Bright on the shadowy muster-roll of fame! Take him, New England, gently; you can fold No purer patriot in your soft brown mould. His temper at the time is apparent in this letter to the Stoddards: Lizzy ; for you must know that it found me in bed where I had been laid up for a week.
Yesterday was my first day out. Waiting to see the Com mander of the Sabine is one of the circumstances which keep me here for the present my ill-health and a neces sary economy are a couple more. I have got a prose volume ready for the press. I have also got a thing not so easy to get a publisher, when the times come favorable ah, woeful " When! From your friend, TOM. The project of obtaining a berth on a war vessel came to nought, too, and the post of naval laureate was to be brilliantly occupied by Henry Howard Brownell.
Never theless Aldrich, distinguished as he always was for a cer tain belligerency of temperament, could not rest content until he had smelt powder. Following Stedman's exam ple, he applied for work as a war correspondent, and in the fall of 1 86 1 went to the front as a representative of the "Tribune," attached to General Blenker's division of the Army of the Potomac. Of his experiences in the field he had many vivid memories, a typical one may be told in his own words in a letter to his mother written from Washington, October 30, I have been on horseback two days and two nights, I was going to say, but I did get out of the saddle to sleep.
What a strange time I had of it. House of the New York ' Tribune ' and myself started on a reconnois- sance under the wing of General Stapel and staff. I don't quite know how it was, but suddenly I found myself alone in a tangle of dense forest and unknown roads. Close on the rebel lines, not knowing quite in what direction, with out a guide, and nothing to eat you may imagine that I wished myself on the harmless banks of the Piscataqua.
To crown all, a moonless night was darkening down on the terrible stillness ; and as the darkness grew I caught glimpses of lurid camp-fires here and there a kind of goblin glare which lent an indescribable mystery and unpleasantness to the scene. Whether these were the camp-fires of friend or foe I had no means of telling.
I put spurs to my horse and dashed on now by the black ruins of a burnt farmhouse, now by some shadowy ford where a fight had evidently taken place, for I saw trees that had been barked by cannon-balls, and here and there significant mounds under which slept New England braves. I did not feel alone at such places ; for my fancy beheld long lines of infantry, and parks of artillery, and squares of cavalry, moving among the shadows, in a noiseless conflict.
I wish I'd time to tell you of the ride how I stole by the senti nels, and at last feeling that I was going straight to Manas- sas, stopt and held a council of war with T. It dawned on me that Washington lay in the east. To make a long story short, I slept on my horse's neck in the woods, we two lying cosily together, and at sunrise, oh so hungry, I saw far off the dome of the Capitol and the Long Bridge. Here I am, a year older in looks. I have feasted, and after this is mailed shall go to bed and sleep three days.
Hope sprang in his breast, and he rode eagerly forward to peruse it. It was an undertaker's sign! After a few weeks more, the poet decided that his pen might be better employed than in war correspondence, and early in , in vigorous health from his life in the open air, he went back to Portsmouth and Parnassus. Yet his brief experience of war with its hardships and horrors, its tremendous pictures and heart-rending dramas, was of the utmost value in ripening his work. In a volume of "Songs of the Soldiers," compiled in , there is a forgotten piece by Aldrich that may per- ARRIVAL 59 haps be printed here without incurring the poetic maledic tion that he called down upon whoever should add aught to the canon of his poetic works: The fol lowing lyric will assure him that I have not forgotten how generously he shared his scanty blanket with me, one terrible night in the Virginia woods, when a blanket was worth fifty dollars an inch.
It is a rather striking piece of fantastic macaberesque, com posed in paragraphs somewhat too short, after the French manner, and with an obvious straining at unusual rhythms. With its studied impressionism, its musically phrased murder, its lurid picture of the outbreak of the cholera in New Orleans, its consistent morbidezza, which is not quite the same thing as morbidity, it might almost be mistaken for an early tale of Lafcadio Hearn's. Yet at the end there is a characteristic smiling "Note by the Editor" that is pure Aldrich. The other stories in the volume, collected from " Harper's Magazine," "The Knickerbocker," and other periodical 1 Songs of the Soldiers, arranged and edited by Frank Moore, New York, In particular, "The Lady with the Balmoral" is notable as exhibiting his first use of that subtly contrived illumination of surprise at the end which was in his later stories almost an habitual effect.
One story in the volume has gone into his collected works and taken rank as one of his most successful ventures in prose, "Pere Antoine's Date-Palm. Save for a private issue of "Pere Antoine's Date-Palm" in , Aldrich published no more prose until In the inter mediate six years his life fell definitely into its appointed channel, his temperament attained the happy poise of maturity, and his literary faculty reached its full ripeness.
When next we encounter his prose we shall have to deal not with promise but with complete achievement. For the year there is a dearth of correspondence, and a resultant difficulty in relating the course of Aldrich's life to the succession of the months. He was in Boston a good deal in the course of the year, and was the friend and something more of a charming and clever girl, the ward of one of the great men of that city. There even seems to have been what is quaintly termed "an understanding" between them.
In the note-book that he kept in his later life, from which extracts were printed as "All Sorts of a Paper," Aldrich wrote out one of his rare bits of personal reminiscence which refers to an event in this summer of Many years ago a noted Boston publisher used to keep a large memorandum-book on a table in his personal office. The volume always lay open, and was in no manner a private affair, being the receptacle of nothing more important than hastily scrawled reminders to attend to this thing or the other.
It chanced one day that a very young, unfledged author, passing through the city, looked in upon the publisher, who was also the editor of a famous magazine. The unfledged had a copy of verses secreted about his person. The publisher was absent, and young Milton, feeling that 'they also serve who only stand and wait,' sat down and waited. Presently his eye fell upon the memorandum-book, lying there spread out like a morning newspaper, and almost in spite of himself he read: An inspira tion seized upon the youth ; he took a pencil, and at the tail of this long list of 'don't forgets' he wrote: That afternoon, when the publisher ARRIVAL 63 glanced over his memoranda, he was not a little astonished at the last item ; but his sense of humor was so strong that he did accept the poem it required a strong sense of humor to do that , and sent the lad a check for it, though the verses remain to this day unprinted.
That kindly publisher was wise as well as kind. Yet not to be forgotten of the Muses, his first proceeding was to pub lish through Carleton a collected edition of his poetry, con taining the pieces he most valued from the first decade of his poetic career. Of the fifty pieces in the volume twenty are to be found in the definitive Riverside Edition, a notable increase in percent age over any previous volume. The little book is full alike of suggestion for appreciation, and provocation to critical discussion, but there is a hitherto unpublished letter from Dr.
Holmes that renders other comment supererogatory. I have just been reading them and find them dewy and sweet-scented. This utterance is Rhadaman- thine. You must not feed too much on " apricots and dew berries. Do not let it run away with you. You love the fragrance of certain words so well that you are in danger of making nosegays when you should write poems.
There are two dangers that beset young poets young American poets at least. The first is being spoiled by the praise of women ; the second being disgusted by the praise or blame it makes little difference which of the cheap critics. You may have noticed that our poets do not commonly ripen well, they are larks in the morning, spar rows at noon, and owls before evening.
We have no Fahrenheits and Rdaumurs and centigrades to gauge our young talent with, and allow it to form false estimates of itself. Now your forte is sentiment and your danger sentimentality. You are an epicure in words and your danger is that of becom ing a verbal voluptuary, the end of which is rhythmical gout and incurable poetical disorder. Let me beg you, by your fine poetical sense, not to let the flattery of insuffi cient persons render you too easily contented with your self, nor yet the hideous content of reporter-critics alienate you from the love of verse which does not seem to thrive so naturally and spontaneously as art in your great city , nor lastly your tendency to vanilla-flavored adjectives and patchouli-scented participles stifle your strength in cloying euphemisms.
It would have been cheaper to praise without reading than to prose after doing it. Still, I think you will take these few words kindly, for they are really complimentary, much more so than the vague generalities with which I commonly clear my table of presentation-copies. There is so much that is sweet and true in your best lines that I want you to be fair to yourself and pinch off all the idle buds before the summer of your fruitage. These poems are most of them must, not wine. Happy man, whose voice time will be mellowing when he is cracking those of us your preterpluperfect contemporaries!
Very sincerely yours, O. There was much else besides to give him pleasure in the reception that his book met; perhaps best of all was this note from Hawthorne: MY DEAR SIR, I thank you most sincerely for your volume of Poems, which I had not time to read, as true poetry ought to be read, when it first arrived, and therefore handed them over to my domestic circle, my wife, a daugh ter of nineteen, and a boy of seventeen, who unanimously awarded them higher praise than ever I knew them to bestow on any other native poetry.
They admire them greatly; and I myself have been reading some of them this morning and find them rich, sweet, and magnetic in such a degree that I am sorry not to have fresher sympa thies in order to taste all the delights that every reader ought to draw from them. I was conscious, here and there, of a delicacy that I hardly dared to breathe upon. I cannot doubt of your acquiring a high name in Ameri can literature, and believe me, I very earnestly wish it. Very sincerely yours, NATH. Let him be in our minds for the rest of this chapter as an alert, slender young man with clear, steady, gray-blue eyes, and crisp, golden hair.
Let us imagine his witty, winsome manner, with its slight distinguishing touch of Parnassian dignity, and we shall be tolerably well acquainted with the "lovely fellow" of his friends' recollections. Throughout his youth and young manhood Aldrich had been a favorite with the appreciative sex that always takes kindly to poets.
The first stanza of his discarded Herrick- ean verses, "The Girls," was veracious autobiography: Yet despite his affairs of young sentiment in New York, in Portsmouth, and in Boston, the love that makes or mars had not yet touched his life. Early in , however, the true love came. In the late fall of he had met at Edwin Booth's rooms the woman who was to be his lifelong companion, and from that first or at any rate from the second meeting our poet seems to have lost interest forever in "Marian, May, and Maud.
In their sincerity, courage, and humor they lay bare the very heart of the man. The privi lege of reading them has helped the biographer to what ever of vividness there is in his resurrection of that inner current of hopes and frustrations and attainments which is the very essence of personality. So intimate is their character that the pen pauses in the attempt to char acterize them, and quotation is out of the question. Yet so illuminative are they of the young poet's heart that a sentence or two must be culled particularly to show a peculiar vein of melancholy that runs through them, a melancholy more personal than that which belongs to old lions and lovers' lutes: The unsympathetic sky bending coldly over my graveyard makes me sick.
I think I could stand superhuman tender ness just now. But I must even be content to sit alone in a small room where I have known such happy and wretched hours. I shall hate some day to leave this same cozy room. Here I have dreamed and written for eight years. The carpet Haroun Aldrich's , the curtains, and the very figures on the wall-paper seem a part of my literary life. In the latter months of Aldrich was engaged in preparation for the launching of another poetic argosy.
He had already written several longer poems in dramatic form, but for some years he had wished to try a long- breathed narrative in blank verse, and had been looking about for a subject that would at once give an opportunity for the employment of the Oriental imagery that he took delight in, and afford scope for the epical treatment of an ample episode. Finally, taking a hint perhaps from Tenny son, or perhaps from Willis, he turned to scriptural themes, and, whether with any knowledge of the fine old English poem of that name or not, selected for his purpose the striking story of Judith.
For many months the poem grew and was the magnetic centre of his thought. In his corre spondence with Miss Woodman there are many allusions to it. The alterations you sug gested are admirable. See if there are not any passages where the idea is not worked out sharply. Obscurity, I think, is a kind of stupidity, and I seek to avoid it always. Carleton's would not publish it because it was not long enough. The 'Atlantic' refused it because it was too long, and now I have submitted it to the editor of a new literary journal to be called 'The Round Table' , who will probably fall asleep over it.
Judith has fallen back in good order, like the army of the Lord on the Rappahannock. I mean to drive him wild by writing the finest poems God will let me. I have been so much alone recently that I can speak only of No i, which I shall do kindly, thereby setting a right pious example to all Christian people. I have, as you may have noticed, followed with ad vantage some ten or twelve of your suggestions. I intend to make other alterations before putting the poem into book form. I trust that a second reading of the verses has not made you reverse your good opinion of them.
I have just completed another poem of about two hundred and fifty lines, entitled "Friar Jerome's Beautiful Book. It is a picturesque monkish story, told in an off-hand colloquial way, and is so different from anything I have attempted that I am no fit judge of its quality. I like the thing now but then my last child always seems the best-shaped whelp. During the past two years I have cut adrift from the in fluence of my favorite gods. How comes on "The Picture of St. The passages you read to me, and the story they indicated, or, rather, the manner of the story, lead me to think it will be your finest poem.
One of the highest rewards of an artist is the conviction, in his own soul, of increasing power. For a man to be what he was is damnable. Your true friend, TOM. The year passed pleasantly for Aldrich, happy in his love and poetic labor. How pleasant that was no one can realize who has not guided a sympathetic sweetheart through the Happy Hunting Grounds of his boyhood.
In the autumn they were back again in New York, going out much to gether, and arranging and rearranging golden plans for the future. Aldrich was even thinking of buying land at Bay Ridge and building a "love-in-a-cottage residence" there, though owing to the present impracticability of the plan, the residence was already christened "Breakheart Villa.
He likewise saw much of the artistic circle that gathered in the old Studio Building on Tenth Street. His letters of this time contain many vivid pen-miniatures of the men he is meeting, suggesting, perhaps, that the picture-making talk of the studios was in a minor way not unserviceable to his verse and prose. Take for a single example this memorable vignette of George Augustus Sala. There for weeks and months he lived, the melan choly target for all the cruel notes and letters that came daily to his door. The only mitigations of his mood came through the friendly ministrations of Launt Thompson and Aldrich, who shared his solitude both day and night.
The record of the year, with this exception, is a record of increasing prosperity and joy. Part of the summer was spent in a visit to some friends at their home on Owasco Lake.
I take my departure for that place to-morrow morning. It was my intention to remain in these lovely regions one week; but my friends would not hear of so short a stay. I have made five starts for home, but each time a picnic on "The Point," an ex cursion on the Owasco, or a pilgrimage to Cayuga Lake, was purposely proposed to detain me. But my trunk is packed, and determination to go is the prevailing ex pression of my countenance. I fancy that I have had the cream of my summer's milk.
To live in an old rambling cocked-hat mansion with one's betrothed: I thought to write some poems here, but I have been too happy in the flesh. I have to be a trifle melancholy to escape from something to write decent verses. I wanted to escape from nothing here especially the library. On the other side of the lake a joyous row is it across is a place called "Willowbrook. It belongs to one Mr. The building con sisted originally of four rooms: There is no attempt at architecture in the thing, the extensions have been stuck on just where they were most wanted and handiest. The result, outside, would set a lover of the grotesque quite wild with pleasure: In this shapeless old pile is a collection of books that would make your eyes stare Shelf after shelf of rare old black-letter volumes, annotated and autographed by famous hands original editions of almost everything that is rare.
I should like to be confined there with you for two weeks on bread and water rations. We 'd come out mere souls. I suppose I cannot tempt you to envy me my content, since your own summer has been so pleasant. I would like to add your visit to Whittier to my list of congenial doings. I would also like to confiscate your delight in writ ing a long poem. Men who cannot write verse are ignorant of the highest earthly enjoyment the least earthy, I mean.
In the autumn of three events occurred which definitely mark that year as the true annus mirabilis of our poet's life: Of the volume more than half and all that he had written since has gone into the canon of his works, and there is little need to analyze it. All that need be said of it here was said by Dr. Holmes in another of those ad mirable letters, this one written November 13, I began with 1 Judith,' whose story you have told very effectively, I read 'Friar Jerome's Beautiful Book' over again with renewed pleasure, I passed by 'Garnaut Hall,' as I re member it very vividly, and I refreshed myself with the sweet and touching story of ' Babie Bell.
And how often does it happen that you can mention so many as having given you delight to read? I think some of the hints I once gave you were not ill-judged your danger is of course on the sensuous side of the intellect, you see what I mean the semi- voluptuous excess of color and odor, such as you remem ber in Keats' s ' Endymion,' a very different thing from vulgar sensuousness. But your cabinet pictures are really so carefully drawn and so cunningly tinted that I am disposed to cease from criticism and trust your Muse to finish them according to her own sweet will.
It lies before me now as I write, a yellowing bit of paper with some black marks on it, a queer faded thing to have caused so much joyful excite ment forty years ago: Please meet me on Sunday at the St. Denis at as early an hour as convenient, say nine o'clock, and we will decide upon details. The " details" were arranged to the entire satisfaction of both parties, and it was decided that the paper should make its bow in Boston on the first of January, At the time, however, it was not precisely the conduct of the paper that was first in Aldrich's thoughts.
There was no delay, or elaborate preparation. Bayard Taylor wrote a sonnet for the occasion one of his best. Sad Autumn, drop thy weedy crown forlorn, Put off thy cloak of cloud, thy scarf of mist, And dress in gauzy gold and amethyst A day benign, of sunniest influence born, As may befit' a Poet's marriage-mom! Give buds another dream, another tryst To loving hearts, and print on lips unkissed Betrothal-kisses, laughing Spring to scorn!
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Yet, if unfriendly thou, with sullen skies, Bleak rains, or moaning winds, dost menace wrong, Here art thou foiled: Round her the sunshine of her beauty lies, And breathes round him the spring-time of his song! Never, perhaps, was happier marriage made by poet. On November 27, , Aldrich wrote to one of his closest friends: Forty happy years with only one great sor row. How many married pairs in this sad world can say as much? His real and vital life was always at his hearthside ; his deepest joy was in the daily companionship of her to whom he wrote "Forever and a Day.
He was no sooner fairly settled in the friendly, lettered, somewhat leisurely circle that awaited him there than he felt that his life had found its appointed channel. Though he always liked to joke about the Brahmin caste, he caught, uncon sciously perhaps, something of its dignity, and as time went on he cared less and less to revisit, even in memory, the glimpses of the Bohemian moon. The young couple took lodgings in an admirable board ing house in Hancock Street, on the very summit of that acropolitan portion of Boston known as Beacon Hill. This classic eminence, whether one views its fine definite round ness on the map, or from across the Common beholds its calm acclivity rising against the clear New England sky, stands to the imaginative mind the microcosm of all that is mellowest and best in the historic city.
Throughout the rest of his life Aldrich's urban residence was always on its slope. William James, an editor, a general, two re tired naval officers, and Mr. Bugbee, secretary to Mayor Lincoln, who was to become a lifelong friend. The group was congenial, and from the first the daily din ner partook of the nature of a festivity. It was not long before the Aldriches found themselves sharing the com munities of friendship with the elder circle.
Fields and his poet-wife took them under a friendly wing, and it was in their long drawing-room in Charles Street, a rich treasury of lettered memories, whose windows now look somewhat sadly out upon the river and the sunset, that they first came to terms of intimacy with Longfellow, Lowell, Holmes, and Emerson. Our poet's charming personal presence and ready wit soon made him a favorite with the older men, and the acquaintance thus begun speedily ripened into affec tionate friendship. In the adjoining room Fields and his new assistant, Mr.
Ho wells, directed the destinies of the "Atlantic. Aldrich from New York a few weeks before I arrived upon the scene in that dramatic quality which I think never impressed any one but Mr. The house was careful, in the attitude of its senior partner, not to distin guish between us, and we were not slow to perceive the tact used in managing us ; we had our own joke of it ; we com pared notes to find whether we were equally used in this thing or that ; and we promptly shared the fun of our dis covery with Fields himself.
This passage from a letter to Taylor, written March 26, , sheds a bright and pleas ant light on the beginnings of Aldrich's friendship with Mr. Howells and upon his own delight in his situation: He is a thoughtful, able, good fellow, and I am glad the firm 'imported' him. We are of course thrown much together, and pro mise to become the warmest of friends. You speak of the great city drawing us atoms into its literary vortex.
I 'm a-Tom that does n't want to come back just at present. I miss my few dear friends in New York but that is all. There is a finer intellectual atmosphere here than in our city. It is true, a poor literary man could not earn his salt, or more than that, out of pure literary labor in Boston: The people of Boston are full-blooded readers, appreciative, trained.
The humblest man of letters has a position here which he does n't have in New York. To be known as an able writer is to have the choicest society opened to you. Just as an officer in the Navy pro viding he is a gentleman is the social equal of anybody so a knight of the quill here is supposed necessarily to be a gentleman. In New York he's a Bohemian! The luckiest day of my professional life was when I came to Boston to stay. My studies and associations are fitting me for higher ends than I ever before cared to struggle for. In the "Athenaeum " for March 3 appeared an appreciative, even enthusiastic, notice of the more recent Blue and Gold collection.
He was compared, not altogether to his disadvantage, with Longfellow, and described as "an addition to that small band of American poets that is so slowly reinforced. It was printed in the "Atlantic" in the summer of , and its author received many friendly compliments, though it seems not altogether to have pleased some of the critics who then held sway, as appears in this characteristic letter to Bayard Taylor: I am especially glad to have you like the music of " Miantowona," for the dactylic flow of the poem has greatly annoyed the large and unaccus tomed ears of those superior beings who sit in awful judg ment over us, and they have abused me roundly.
I can't find the paper, but take my word for it, he talks to me as if I wore his livery. What sort of criticism is this, which one could reverse by giving the fellows a mug of lager beer the more independent intel lects would require the addition of a potato-salad? Seri ously, these inexpensive people do not disturb so much as an eyelash of me. But I tell you what does make me writhe when I compare my work with my conceptions, and my conceptions with those of the Masters then I catch it!
Booth has been with us these six weeks, acting won derfully. We shall miss him sadly. He is a great actor. We love the boy. I like to mix his gloom with my sun shine. Throughout the summer of Aldrich was busy as a bee, "busier," he would say, "than a T. Some hint of the nature of his assiduities is contained in a letter to Mrs. Fields declining an invitation to visit at Manchester: The idea is this: To have sixteen impartial notices written by me!
Now, how to say the same thing sixteen different ways, week after week, is a problem which I am obliged to solve every Monday and Tuesday, days which I formerly gave to lotus-eating, days which I ought to pass at Manchester. Of the many interesting letters that he received in return, the most interesting, perhaps, is this fine full- flavored note from Mrs.
The Work of the CPA Prison Arts Program
I do not believe that in the English language there is anything more delicate, tender, arch, and spherical in rounded beauty. It is as ethereal as a snowflake, and as radiant as those rosy blos soms of the tropical plant which resemble snowflakes in form, as they tremble upon their cobwebby fibres and seem BEACON HILL 85 to the eye falling through the air. One so seldom finds such sobriety and purity of composition. I want more and more forever of just such gems of art. I hope you are an inex haustible fountain or mine of such jewels. I quite lost my sense of the proprieties of place when I read this Legend and exclaimed aloud in the Saloon of the Station, " Oh, how perfect, how beautiful!
I do not wonder at Mr. Hawthorne's demanding the rest after he had read a portion. I do not wonder that some one had a sense of poetical justice keen enough to print it in this fair generous style. If I abounded in means, I would bind it in purple velvet edged with diamonds and gild the leaves with solid gold.
I meant to be moderate in my acknowledgments, but it is hard to repress my natural ardor when you provoke me so. Hawthorne endeavored to discipline my style of expression into his own statuesque and immaculate beauty ; but the scarlet, blue, and gold of the painter will, after all, flame and glow on great occasions over the white marble purity. I took this tiny sheet so as not to multiply words, but really, dear Mr.
Aldrich, I thank Heaven for gifting you with this most ethereal delicacy of genius, for all our sakes. Despite the pleasantness of the life at 55 Hancock Street, the Aldriches were from the first looking about for a still more homelike shelter. Al drich for his remembrance on the second Christmas of their life together. They decorated and furnished it at their lei sure during the winter, and settled there in the spring of Of the characteristic charm of this their first home there are many records.
The compact little house, known to their friends as "Mrs. Aldrich's work-box," soon became cele brated as the happy home of a happy poet. Not the least interesting feature of it to the many callers was "Little Miss," the seven-year-old daughter of the cook, who in a long brown dress and white apron performed the office of handmaiden at door and table. A vivid picture of "Little Miss" and the household that she primly served is con tained in a letter written by a visitor in the house at the Aldriches' first Thanksgiving there.
In its pleasant gos sipy flow it is like a living voice from the mists of forty years ago. The climax of the story comes in these para graphs: I went over for Julia to come and dine, but she had to go as usual to her grandmother's. However, they came and looked at the table, and then over the house, which looked like an abode for fairies in its fresh flowers and fall leaves, silver, and soft coal fires. He kissed us all at parting, and as soon as he and the girls had left Mr. Fields drove up, and in a moment said, 'I am going for Dickens; he must see this! We went all over the house, and Mr.
Dickens said, 'I want to see Lizzie; I know all about her. He has since declared himself delighted with all the people in the house, and everything about it. Longfellow came to the little home in Pinckney Street, where we had set up housekeeping in the light of our honeymoon. As we lingered a moment at the dining-room door, Mr. Longfel low turning to me said, 'Ah, Mr. Aldrich, your small round table will not always be closed. Gradually the long table will shrink to a circle again, leaving two old people sitting there alone together. This is the story of life, the sweet and pathetic poem of the fireside.
Make an idyl of it. I give the idea to you. Longfellow in which he expressed a desire to use this motif in case I had done nothing in the matter. The theme was one peculiarly adapted to his sympathetic handling, and out of it grew ' The Hanging of the Crane. Stedman, written just after the Thanksgiving festivity described above: I think there is rare musical music in the verses you mentioned, and several of the little poems in nutshells, the sonnets, have pleased me greatly.
It must be pleasant for you to know for "truly, truly," as children say, that you are indebted to your mother for those mysterious impulses which have made you a Poet. When you come to Boston, if you put up at the Parker House while the Aldrich House is in existence, it will be because you are no friend of the proprietor of the latter hotel.
I want you to see what an odd little cocked- hat home I have, what a pleasant life I lead in it, and what an aston ishing housekeeper presides over my manage. Your mention of Bayard makes me ashamed of myself. I don't believe that two days have passed since he went away without my having a warm thought about the dear fellow. He 's had a place at my chimney corner ever since we lighted the first fire in our cozy house.
And yet I 've not written him a line! Indeed, I have had no time to write out even the verses that raise their voices in my brain, and refuse to be comforted with anything but printer's ink, the miserable brats! The summer of was spent as usual at Portsmouth, and throughout it Aldrich was giving all his spare moments to the writing of "The Story of a Bad Boy. On the seventeenth occurred one of the great happinesses of his life. A month before he had received from Mr.
Howells a note, saying, " I have a fine boy"; on the eighteenth of September Aldrich re plied: Everything seems to be well with my wife and with the little fellows, God bless the three of them! They are, too, destined to put in a frequent and engaging appearance in the correspondence: LOWELL, I think you must have had a benevolent suspicion that a copy of your book from your own hand would give me no ordinary pleasure. At all events it was very kind of you to send me the volume.
I shall treasure it carefully for my boys, who are not the fel lows I take them to be if they dispose of it, even at the highest cash price, to that tasteful bibliophile born last month perhaps who will be going round in the year , let us say, buying up your autograph copies. I sit here, chuckling to think how the perplexed collector will stare at my name on the fly-leaf and wonder who the deuce I was to receive such coin from the mint itself. Then, may be, the name on the fly-leaf will take off its hat, so to speak, and address the startled bibliophile as follows: Others have done so before you.
No, sir ; this copy of ' Under the Willows ' is not for sale. It is to be kept in the family ; but I should be delighted to lend you the volume, if you will leave a handsome deposit with the twins, here. An old bookmonger like you is not to be trusted with ' a first edition. What-d'you- call-'em are printing a ninety-seventh edition from this text. If I were to attempt to tell you how much I admire these poems, I should make awkward work of it, lacking that coolness which enables a man to praise another to his face.
But I am not shut out from thanking you for remembering me, and I do thank you very heartily. This pleasant letter was to bring a rich reward. Three weeks later, at Christmas-time, came a large paper copy of "The Biglow Papers," second series one of twelve copies printed, inscribed, "To the other twin with the best wishes of Hosea Biglow. So great was its success in the periodical that several thousand subscribers were promptly added to the circulation, and after its publication in book form in the autumn of dated , it speedily ran through some eleven editions, a notable record for a book of its kind in those days.
In the forty years that have gone by since then, it has had a constant yearly sale that would be regarded as excellent for a new book. Even to-day the lists of books most in demand at the great city libraries rarely fail to con tain "The Story of a Bad Boy. Hitherto, in America at least, the heroes of boys' books had been either impossible little prigs, conceived by elderly ones as improving examples for the young, or youth ful Natty Bumpos enjoying adventures passing quite beyond the farthest bounds of credibility.
Aldrich set him self to tell the story of a natural, actual boy engaged in the natural, actual escapades of boyhood. Never perhaps has a boy's story combined so keen a zest in the imaginative reconstruction of a boy's world with such neat and telling literary workmanship. Certainly not even in " Tom Brown at Rugby" is there a more sweet, wholesome, and sure footed record of the humor and sentiment of a boy's life. It has always found equal favor with old and young, and VAv. It is true that within this period he wrote and printed in the "Atlantic" several of his most charac teristic poems, among them "The Flight of the Goddess," "Lost Art," " Destiny," "An Untimely Thought," the son net to Henry Howard Brownell, and the lines "On an Intaglio Head of Minerva"; yet this handful of poems comprises almost the sum of his poetic work for five years, and it seemed for a time as if the success of "The Story of a Bad Boy" and the pleasure he had found in writing it, might eventually lure him far from the Muse's bower in the paths of prose.
In April of the latter year he wrote to Taylor: I intend to become a 'subtle humorist' while you are abroad.
Painting in Four Takes
But we have been treading rather too briskly on Time's heels, and must go back a little and pick up the thread of our author's personal life. After the birth of the twins the little house on Pinckney Street had been found somewhat incommodious, and early in Aldrich had bought a larger house on Charles Street, just across the way from the houses of Fields and Holmes.
In May, , he wrote to Mr. I have bought a young Palace on Charles Street cellar frescoed, coal- bin inlaid with mother-of-pearl and the skulls of tax- collectors, and joyous birds, in gilded cages, in every room, warbling promissory notes to the tune of seven per-cent! Come and see it. Among the new friends of this period was Mark Twain.
The story of the whimsical origins of this life long intimacy is told in an entertaining series of letters, which, through the kindness of Mr. Clemens, may be printed here: Will you please correct your mis-statement, inasmuch as I did not write the rhymes referred to, nor have anything whatever to do with suggesting, inspiring, or producing them?
They were the work of a writer who has for years signed himself "Hy. I burned the letters without answering them, for I am not in the imitation business. Slocum's" plagiarism entitled "Three Aces". If you would simply state, in a line and a half under " Literary Notes," that you mistook one "Hy. Slocum" no, it was one "Carl Byng," I perceive "CarlByng" for Mark Twain, and that it was the former who wrote the plagiarism entitled " Three Aces," I think that would do a fair justice without any unseemly display.
But it is hard to be accused of plagiarism a crime I never have committed in my life. I have just crossed Mr. Carl Byng and Mr. Aldrich to Samuel L. About 42, copies of your note, with my apology nobly appended, are now printed, and we hope to have the rest of the edition off the press by to-morrow night. In the next No. I will withdraw my apology, if you say so! Inclosed was a clipping from "Every Saturday," headed: That was our only authority for attributing the verses to him.
We are very glad that he did not write them, for the rhymes lack that freshness and brilliancy which Mark Twain has taught us to expect in his writings. Hang it, I don't want to abuse a man's civility merely because he gives me the chance. I hear a good deal about doing things on the "spur of the moment" I invariably regret the things I do on the spur of the moment. That disclaimer of mine was a case in point. I am ashamed every time I think of my bursting out before an unconcerned public with that bom bastic pow-wow about burning publishers' letters and all that sort of imbecility, and about my not being an imi tator, etc.
Who would find out that I am a natural fool if I kept always cool and never let nature come to the sur face? Well it is funny, the reminiscences that glare out from murky corners of one's memory, now and then, without warning. Just at this moment a picture flits before me: Goodman editor and proprietor " Daily Enterprise " , and " Dan de Quille" and myself, reporters for same; remnants of the feast thin and scattering, but such tautology and repetition of empty bottles everywhere visible as to be offensive to the sensitive eye ; time, 2.
Artemus thickly reciting a poem about a certain infant you wot of, and interrupting himself and being interrupted every few lines by poundings of the table and shouts of, "Splennid, by Shorzhe! Once more I apologize, and this time I do it " stanning! Untitled Dividing Time , by Robert Longo. The flag was raised on September 13 at The Aldrich and will be on view through October 11, The project is a serialized commission of sixteen flags, each created by acclaimed artists to reflect the current political climate.
The drawing, Untitled Nov. Brooklyn Museum in Brooklyn, NY 4. He was among the five artists included in the seminal exhibition Pictures at Artists Space in New York. Pledges of Allegiance is a nationwide public art project by Creative Time. The project is a serialized commission of sixteen flags, each created by acclaimed contemporary artists: Pledges of Allegiance aims to inspire a sense of community among cultural institutions, beginning with an urgent articulation of the political demands of the moment.
Each flag points to an issue the artist is passionate about or a cause they believe is worth fighting for, and speaks to how we might move forward collectively as a country. In a series of performances Schweder and Shelley will physically occupy the structure for extended periods during which they will negotiate the sharing of nine basic amenities while engaging the public with their daily routines and conversations.
Their practice conflates architectural form and function with performance art, coaxing meaning out of both the practical and the absurd. The exhibition will be on view October 1, to April 22, For their exhibition at The Aldrich, they will construct a twenty-three-foot-high living environment, which they will inhabit as both the authors and living subjects of the work. An adjacent gallery will present the first survey of their reverse paintings on Mylar, which not only act as preliminary renderings for their projects, but also as autonomous works that reinforce the formal aspects of their practice.
The artists will occupy opposing sides of the monolith with nine amenities including a bed, a desk, an easy chair, a kitchen, a sink, and an enclosed composting toilet , each of which will slide on steel tracks from one side of the structure to the other. So, when Shelley is sleeping in the bed, Schweder cannot sleep; when Schweder is writing at the desk, Shelley cannot use it. The sharing of the amenities is based on both a pre-planned schedule and spontaneous negotiation. For the performance periods the artists will wear identical jumpsuits, bring all necessary supplies with them, and occupy the structure twenty-four hours a day.
When awake, Schweder and Shelley will each read, work, prepare meals, and complete acts of simple daily hygiene. Mack mines Americana, its artifacts, folklore, and rituals, and explores American vernacular traditions, examining their shifting role in a dialogue between the history of art making and the culture of collecting. Through all new objects, Junk Kaleidoscope will re-envision The Fair in a way that weaves together over two decades of work, sixty miles from the Durham Fair fairgrounds that inspired this project.
The Fair was first realized in , when Mack entered all seventy-three craft categories at the Durham Fair, the largest agricultural fair in Connecticut; she had participatedin the fair, located near her hometown of Guilford, CT, throughout her childhood. In , she remade the project as The Fair 10 th Anniversary Edition by generating new entries for all of the craft categories available that year. On both occasions, the objects were displayed at the fairs and then re presented in a commercial gallery with their winning ribbons.
At The Aldrich, Mack will create a layered exhibition that engages fairs in new ways. For Junk Kaleidoscope , she will utilize a self-generated list of seventy categories—comprising actual competition categories collected from various county and state fairs, as well as those of her own invention—to generate and support the works in the show. The list will serve as a catalyst for production and as a framework for understanding the shifting, participatory display that the objects will enjoy at The Aldrich.
Mack attends county and state fairs nationwide, where her experiences fundamentally reshape her approach to the creation and staging of her work. These objects are symbolic containers of a collective memory that can travel across time. Ultimately, Mack positions herself as both an artist and maker, placing herself inside a subculture and adopting its system of classification for her own re invention. This enables Mack to move seamlessly between two distinctive locales and contexts, each of which has its own structure, methodology, and currency.
The objects embody these alternating experiences and distinguishing histories. Generous funding for Anissa Mack: Shared Space features contemporary artists from twelve countries: These artists capture myriad spaces for communication and interaction—urban and rural landscapes,homes and backyards, city streets and plazas, and ports and terminals.
Photographs by Raghubir Singh, Thomas Struth, and Massimo Vitali depict masses of people gathering in public spaces from Los Angeles to Vietnam, and the Netherlands—expressing an unprecedented universality of access to information. Matelli will debut his singular, larger-than-life-size outdoor figurative sculpture on May 6, Based on an ancient Greek statue of Hera and poised atop a pedestal, the statue, fabricated out of cast stone, is painstakingly aged to mimic a centuries old patina.
An imposing nine-feet tall and sited on a three-foot tall pedestal, the neo-classical figure will be juxtaposed with flawlessly hand-painted cast bronze watermelons, whole, halved, and quartered, that balance upon her head, within the creases and folds of her drapery, and at her feet. These faux-perishables, poised upon the intentionally eroded and debased figure, are presented in an eternal state of freshness.
In doing so, Matelli stages opposing entropic forces, the synthetically preserved, and the forcibly decayed. Suspended in changing physical states or transformative stages of existence, his work concerns the very circumstance of actuality, joining the ordinary with the speculative in order to assess cultural worth: Recent solo exhibitions include the State Hermitage Museum, St. A mid-career survey, Tony Matelli: He lives and works in New York City. Past recipients include Tom Sachs and Jackie Winsor. This exhibition premieres a series of new works, all painted in black and white, which the artist has completed since The exhibition will include fourteen works on paper, as well as two monumental wall paintings, the largest incorporating two walls and covering over square feet.
Rosen approaches written language as structure, with words and letterforms functioning as building blocks, and where, through unusual typographic arrangements, words and phrases can embody the thing they are describing. Realizing that the aspects of language that most interested her needed to be expressed visually, for the past four decades Rosen has channeled her exploration of language through color, scale, art materials, and non-linear composition. Additional support is provided by Hotel Zero Degrees, Danbury.
If so, what are its characteristics? And more importantly, what does Contemporary Art suggest about the future of society? Generous funding for William Powhida: Noonan, and Janet Phelps.
This exhibition will present three interrelated bodies of work, the Potential Future Drawings series —present , Mobiles —present , and the Future Past Drawings series —present. She exposes the inherent beingness underlying daily phenomena through a manipulation of reality, an externalization of internal sensations, and a deft employment of humor, ultimately challenging our perception of the human dimension. In , Campbell introduced her now-acclaimed Potential Future Drawings series, channeling the Surrealists to give tangible shape to interior monologues. She begins with an event in her own life, and then uses a diagrammatic system to create a latticework of potential outcomes from the most wanted to the most devastating.
Campbell mirrors our inward desire for mass acceptance and wide success, while also tapping into our general fear of ultimate failure and crushing embarrassment. Comprised of bent steel and wire, some in taut primary colors, they vary in size—from body size to architecturally scaled—and cast shadows and create pulsating optical patterns that mime the circulatory matrix of her drawings.
The Future Past Drawings series, initiated in , includes the newest work in the exhibition. All the drawings in this series are on black paper and, like the Potential Future Drawings , they operate as a flowing feed; reflecting back and looking forward, they conflate personal and historical experience, in the end considering how subjectivity reshapes the past to condition the future.
Generous funding for Beth Campbell: Spanning twenty-five years, Just Left Feel Right focuses on works from specific periods of her career that share a distinctive commonality, capturing the eruptive and disparate voices of a shifting American vernacular and its rippling effect on the way we communicate in our hyperkinetic time. McClelland is most widely known for her deft use of linguistics and her sensually textured surfaces.
She mines the ways in which communities speak, collecting language and choosing words that trend, are debated, heard on street corners, and absorbed from streaming news feeds; words that are rich in meaning, that reach and multiply, that drop in and out of everyday life. The words she selects hover between materials; letters press up against each other, run off the surface, join together, dissolve, loop, and collide into and onto themselves.
Employing a wide range of materials, her compositions have a rhythm and beat as they perform, throb, and swagger, capturing the cadences of our speech, mimicking the physicality of how people express themselves. Pauses, utterances, and hysteria, the inflection of tone and the modulation of our tempo, bodily expressions and gesticulations, all are translated into painterly rhythmic compositions modeled after oratory repartee. McClelland seizes these audible sensations, stealing words right out of the mouth, but also embodying our micro-expressions.
In , she began to incorporate numbers into her work as a reaction to the data onslaught of the Internet age. A mind-numbing rush of streaming lists for everything and anything are published on the Web. McClelland, a collector of messaging, in particular emotive and directional information, began researching the data that represents the individual and vice versa.
This endless data stream is how twenty-first century society forecasts outcomes: Just Left Feel Right will also include many other never-before-exhibited works from past and current series. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. The exhibition will be accompanied by a full-color, soft-cover scholarly publication, available during the exhibition, intended to serve as an enduring archival document and limited-edition artwork. It will include images of the works in the exhibition, a checklist, an essay by the curator, and a poster designed by the artist.
Generous funding for Suzanne McClelland: A full-color, soft-cover scholarly publication will be available during the exhibition. Virginia Overton is a site-responsive artist. Her sculptures and installations appear minimally composed, but their engagement with the features of a space—as well as its exterior and the landscape—generates a maximalist sensation from an efficiency of means. For The Aldrich, she has created thirteen site-reactive sculptures and a video, presented inside the galleries, in the Sculpture Garden, and on the roofline.
Each informs the other as the works reverberate throughout the building and boomerang out onto the grounds, offering multiple lines of sight. Some works feature indigenous materials scavenged on the premises alongside items Overton collected at the studio or recycled from past installations. Overton transposes the energy encapsulated within these objects, draining them of their normative purpose, and imparting them and their circumstances with a new functionality.
Whether reflecting the architectural features of a gallery or the contours of a natural landscape, Overton assesses the material—studying and learning its physical properties, seeing how far it can go, how much it can withstand—as it is processed through countless hours of experimentation.
Ray, Aldrich, and More
Once installed, her space-shifting sculptures and installations, through a process of re-articulation, demonstrate the inherent being-ness of an object, its materiality, its connection to a specific place at a particular time, inviting the viewer to navigate it anew as elements emerge and vanish from up close and at a distance. During a career that now spans over four decades, Kim Jones has created a singular and subjective body of work based on both extreme personal experience and a wide range of artistic influences.
Commentary about his work often dwells on details of his biography, which include surviving a severe childhood illness and serving in the Marines during the Vietnam War. The title of this exhibition, White Crow , refers to the extremely rare occurrence when a crow is born without any pigment in its plumage.
This marks the bird as not only an outsider, but also, in folk mythology, as an omen of impending change.
The Criterion Collection - The Current - Ray, Aldrich, and More
It should be noted that Jones thinks of White Crow , which includes some individual elements that Jones has worked on over a thirty-year period, as one continuous installation, echoing the importance of memory and the life he has lived in his practice as an artist. This installation, which was created during a ten-day residency at the Museum, involved the transformation of a grove of four small crabapple trees in front of The Aldrich into a festooned and wrapped sculpture.
Obsessive and labyrinthine, these drawings evoke the diagrammatic battle drawings done by children with their aerial perspective, weapon trajectory lines, and geographical and architectural abstraction. Generous support for Kim Jones: Typed on an Olivetti manual typewriter, these proposals—complete with typographical errors and hand annotations—describe ideas from the practical to the far-fetched. Liversidge wrote sixty proposals for The Aldrich all of the typescripts are included in the exhibition , and twenty-three have been chosen for realization, guided by the concept of connecting the interior of The Aldrich Museum with both the surrounding landscape and the community.
The artist sees his proposals as gentle invitations, not explicit instructions—which is different from most art that is based on written directives—and the realization of a specific proposal is always open to negotiation, a fact that reveals his interest in expanding conventional notions of authorship. He is just as interested in the proposals that are not realized, as they are ready to be brought to life in the imagination of each reader.
The Museum would like to thank the restaurants, shops, and other venues that have participated: Two of the groups have been installed at The Aldrich: Generous support for Peter Liversidge: Williams and Keris Salmon. The project is understood as one continuous action that is expressed in a myriad of sculptural moments. Brooks uses the distinctive form and function of the disassembled combine analogously, allowing it to mirror the philosophical impasse at which we find ourselves as our hyperkinetic era faces an escalating ecological crisis.
The installation stages a metaphor. A combine harvester provides a quantifiable service: Through an elaborate mechanization of moving parts it produces a product. Similarly, an ecosystem, representing a complex set of organisms and their environment functioning together, serves a life-sustaining purpose clean air, food, energy, and filtered water and is mistakenly likened to a mechanized instrument.
Brooks makes a compelling visual correspondence here. He has chosen to group the machine parts into nine zones that represent nine ecosystem services that occur continuously in our biosphere and upon which we rely daily: Continuous Service Altered Daily ultimately attempts to channel evolutionary time. A John Deere combine is a symbol of nineteenth-century innovation updated in a twentieth-century model.
Brooks captures this progression through four stages of presentation, and thus likens it to the processes of interconnected life forms themselves. The wear and tear over its forty-year existence is self-evident in a rusty green corn head past. The machine is then stripped of its lived history as its age is sandblasted away present. Shiny objects with a fetish finish are re-presented as ornaments or modernist tabletop sculptures future.
But this is a temporal arrangement, one that marks time and space by compressing it within a schematic system that is itself impermanent. Generous support for David Brooks: Ridgefield, CT May Four Solo Exhibitions Engaging Place. Other sculptural works were fabricated on-site during the installation period, incorporating elements harvested from the tree as well as items found around the Museum property and neighboring community. Once installed, her space-shifting sculptures and installations produce shadows, light leaks, and sound echoes that, through a process of re- articulation, demonstrate the inherent beingness of an object, its materiality, its connection to a specific place at a particular time, inviting the viewer to navigate it anew.
Her sculptures and interventions are made up of indigenous readymade objects and materials Overton scavenges from within the surrounding community. Virginia Overton is part of Site Lines: This series of exhibitions also features David Brooks, Kim Jones, and Peter Liversidge, presenting site-specific commissions, ranging from sculpture to drawing and performance-based works. Gravel Mirror , a work by the influential artist and writer Robert Smithson, incorporated gravel found on the grounds of The Aldrich, and was a significant touchstone for the development of this exhibition series.
Overton was born in Nashville, Tennessee and lives and works in New York. Founded by Larry Aldrich in , The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is dedicated to fostering the work of innovative artists whose ideas and interpretations of the world around us serve as a platform to encourage creative thinking. It is the only museum in Connecticut devoted to contemporary art, and throughout its fifty- year history has engaged its community with thought-provoking exhibitions and public programs.
The Aldrich, in addition to significant support from its Board of Trustees, receives contributions from many dedicated friends and patrons. For his first solo museum exhibition in the United States, currently on view at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, British artist Peter Liversidge wrote sixty proposals, including performances and physical artworks across a variety of mediums. Of these, twenty-four have been selected for realization and—with some help from local residents—will be presented at the Museum and in the surrounding neighborhood as part of Site Lines: Typed on an old manual typewriter, these proposals—complete with typographical errors and hand annotations—describe ideas from the practical to the far-fetched.
Unlike LeWitt, however, he is anything but a formalist, engaging every conceivable approach to cultural production with an emphasis on ideas that are extremely accessible to the general public. His work is a reminder that art can be created out of almost anything and that realizing a simple idea can result in anything but a simple outcome. This series of exhibitions also features David Brooks, Kim Jones, and Virginia Overton, presenting site-specific commissions, ranging from sculpture to drawing and performance-based works. In , Peter Liversidge began collaborating with Low , a band from Duluth, Minnesota, which ultimately resulted in Liversidge creating a backdrop for their international tour as well as several album covers and release proposals.
Peter Liversidge lives and works in London, England. Throughout his practice, Brooks investigates the tenuous relationship between our ecological life and technological industry. Brooks born , Brazil, Indiana presents every single part of a used John Deere combine harvester in his exhibition at The Aldrich, which will be on view through February 5, Distinctive elements like the corn head and cab remain unaltered in a weathered John Deere green, while other parts are sandblasted, removing rust, paint and all traces of wear and tear; still others, like pipes and fittings, are brass-plated and housed in museum vitrines, the traditional trappings of highbrow art objects or precious natural history displays.
A combine is the ultimate example of agricultural technology, the otherworldly design of its bulky metal body concealing the integration of all stages of the harvesting process into one machine designed to reap grain, a resource that the efficiency of a combine allows us to take for granted as eternally and inexpensively available. This series of exhibitions features Kim Jones, Peter Liversidge, and Virginia Overton, presenting site-specific commissions, ranging from sculpture to drawing and performance-based works. David Brooks is a New York-based artist whose work investigates how cultural concerns cannot be divorced from the natural world, while also questioning the terms under which nature is perceived and utilized.
In he received a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and in a research grant to the Ecuadorian Amazon from the Coypu Foundation. He is currently on the faculty of the Maryland Institute College of Art. It is the only museum in Connecticut devoted to contemporary art, and throughout its fifty-year history has engaged its community with thought-provoking exhibitions and public programs.
Artist Kim Jones connects nature, culture, and memory through a material- and labor-intensive intervention into the galleries and surrounding landscape of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. His exhibition, White Crow, part of the presentation Site Lines: Jones born , San Bernardino, California has created a singular and subjective body of work based on extreme experiences that deeply affected his life and art making. He identifies himself as an outsider, and this estrangement has been played out through an interrelated series of performances, sculptures, drawings, and writings that exhibit a range of elemental and expressionistic impulses.
White Crow refers to the extremely rare occurrence where a crow is born without any pigment in its plumage. Aldrich exhibitions director Richard Klein, the curator of the exhibition, explains: The rat, which appears frequently, he identifies with as a species that, although usually reviled, is resourceful and intelligent, and lives in close association with human society.
White Crow is part of Site Lines: This series of exhibitions also features David Brooks, Peter Liversidge, and Virginia Overton, presenting site-specific commissions, ranging from sculpture to drawing and performance-based works. For over thirty years he has been working on a consistent oeuvre of drawings, sculptures, and performances—war drawings, rat sculptures, combat vehicles, and performances as his alter ego Mudman—that all have their origin in his personal experience, including his participation as a soldier in the Vietnam War and the illness that kept him in a wheelchair between the ages of seven and ten.
Join or renew at this level until September 30, and receive the official Aldrich Member Tote! New Benefit for ! The last one hundred years have witnessed the explosion of virtually every available means and medium in the service of art making, yet painting has not only maintained a central position in visual art, but has also adapted creatively to rapid changes in our culture as a whole. Today, painting is embedded in the broad debate of actual vs.
This fall, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut, will present Painting in Four Takes , a series of solo exhibitions that will provide a window into the practices of four engaging painters who imbue the medium with relevance and character. The series, on view from November 15, , through April 3, , will mark the first time in over twenty years that The Aldrich has dedicated all of its galleries to painting. The four exhibitions will be celebrated at a free opening reception from 2 to 5 pm on Sunday, November 15, to which the public is invited.
In a career that spans three decades, Steve DiBenedetto b. Evidence of Everything is his first major solo museum exhibition. DiBenedetto has consistently rejected formalism throughout an era where both formal and conceptual approaches to painting have become de rigueur, taking. Utilizing an inventory of leitmotifs, including the helicopter, octopus, wheel, and glass office tower, DiBenedetto paints and repaints his subjects in states of apocalyptic trauma where content and technique become unified, while the boundaries between the objective and subjective become uncertain.
Through his work, DiBenedetto has cast himself as a kind of baroque symbolist, working in the deep tradition of European Romanticism, with his excesses tempered by a terrible, yet transcendental beauty. Evidence of Everything has been organized by Aldrich exhibitions director Richard Klein. The practice of Hayal Pozanti b. For her first solo museum exhibition, she will debut a new series of paintings and digital animations. Pozanti negotiates two opposing image- producing interfaces, the digital, with its mechanical, frenetic pace, and traditional studio practice, with its slowness, imperfection, and tactile insistence.
Embedded within these shapes are bundles of mined data relating to the impact of contemporary technological developments on human lives. Through this process, Pozanti acts as a digital-to-analog encryption system so as to preserve information that could be lost or altered in the cloud. Her movement, from freehand to track pad, reinforces her intent, so that the final composition is equally successful online and in person. Alongside her paintings, and sometimes shown side by side, she creates digital animations, both informed by her back and forth translation of mechanical and digital processes and her desire for the means via which they are seen to be interchangeable, non hierarchical, and streamlined.
For her first solo museum exhibition, Julia Rommel b. All are intimately connected to their edges, as they are stretched and re-stretched numerous times over the course of their making in. For more than two decades, she has worked within the language of abstract painting, exploring the physical and illusory boundary of wall and object, foreground and background, even inventing her own color wheel to challenge canonized color theory.
Old, Odd, and Oval , will focus on her latest body of work, medium- to large-scale to site-engaged paintings that demonstrate her experimentations with new materials and fabrication methods as she combines hand-painted Plexiglas with colorful fabric patterns she designs digitally. These small, shaped, works on paper are geometric abstractions that feature quirky cartoonish elements to rupture color fields—madcap flourishes humanizing pure abstract reduction.
Each exhibition will be accompanied by a free, fully illustrated, full-color publication with an essay by the curator. Root began making the bookmarks when she had finished a large body of work and was trying to restart her practice by reading art books, bookmarking images as she read. It was as if these huge monumental paintings became smaller and elongated, functional and bookmarking other things that I wanted to think about or incorporate into my work.
Founded by Larry Aldrich in , The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is dedicated to fostering the work of pioneering artists whose interpretations of the world around us serve as a platform to encourage creative thinking. The Aldrich is one of the few independent, non-collecting contemporary art museums in the United States and the only museum in Connecticut devoted to contemporary art, and engages its diverse audiences with thought-provoking, interdisciplinary exhibitions and programs.
Generous support for Hayal Pozanti: DiBenedetto has consistently rejected formalism throughout an era where both formal and conceptual approaches to painting have become de rigueur, taking a position where the canvas and the act of painting initiate a site for struggle, invention, and, ultimately, reinvention. Curated by Richard Klein. Generous support for Steve DiBenedetto: Pozanti negotiates two opposing image-producing interfaces, the digital, with its mechanical, frenetic pace, and traditional studio practice, with its slowness, imperfection, and tactile insistence.
Curated by Amy Smith-Stewart. All are intimately connected to their edges, as they are stretched and re-stretched numerous times over the course of their making in a physical wrangle of layering and effacing. Generous support for Julia Rommel: It is the mission of the Public Programs and Education department of The Aldrich to foster direct interaction with contemporary art and artists, inspire and nurture ideas that cultivate critical and creative thinking, encourage curiosity and reflection, and create transformative learning experiences.
Founded by Larry Aldrich in , The Aldrich is dedicated to fostering innovative artists whose ideas and interpretations of the world around us serve as a platform for dialogue and learning. The Aldrich is one of the few independent, non-collecting contemporary art museums in the United States, the only museum in Connecticut devoted to contemporary art, and one of just twenty museums in Connecticut and art museums in the country to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
The Aldrich has a year track record of identifying and supporting significant artists at seminal moments in their development and interpreting their work for a broad and cross-generational public, and a history of engaging the community through exhibitions that investigate current cultural and societal issues as well as complementary art-making workshops and thought-provoking interdisciplinary programs. The ideas motivating the artists, and how their concepts and endeavors are presented to diverse audiences, define the activities and character of the Museum.
The Manager of Academic Programs Manager reports to and works closely with the Director of Public Programs and Audience Engagement Director , to research, develop, implement and assess pioneering programs for schools, educators, and the adult volunteer Museum Guide team. The Manager will develop innovative, forward thinking strategies that increase service to regional schools and educators, and position The Aldrich as a leader in the field of museum education.
These strategies and the resulting programs will be developed in dialogue with administrators, educators, and curriculum specialists from the schools and districts served by The Aldrich. The Manager will maintain an active, productive, and communicative relationship with area educators, administrators, parents, regional arts and culture institutions, arts education organizations, and other institutions and individuals whose mission it is to serve students and teachers.
In keeping with the collaborative and cooperative structure of the Public Programs and Education department, the Manager will work in partnership with the Manager of Education Programs and Youth Initiatives to 1 develop pilot programs for all audiences; 2 develop and foster key partnerships with schools, school districts, teachers, school administrators, and community and peer organizations; 3 develop interpretive content for programs for all visitors, including but not limited to lesson plans for school groups, family gallery guides, and adult tour scripts; and 4 train the Museum Guide team.
The Manager will develop and maintain a professional team of Museum Guides who are prepared to serve as museum ambassadors and gallery educators, equipped with the most current and relevant understanding of museum education theory and practice. Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to: The successful candidate is an innovative thinker and dynamic leader with a minimum of 5 years experience working in a museum, art center, or similar setting with docent volunteers, as well as demonstrable excellence in teaching K school and educator audiences with original works of art in a museum or gallery setting.
The candidate will have experience developing fundable, innovative school and teacher programs, setting strategic goals for programs and prioritizing tasks to support these goals, and implementing and evaluating such programs. The successful candidate is a self-motivated individual who excels in a fast-paced creative environment and thinks both strategically and logistically. The candidate will possess excellent organizational and communication skills, and provide evidence of well-developed collaborative skills and experience leading teams through complex projects.
The exceptional candidate will have demonstrable experience in developing public programs for all ages, including youth, family and adult. Experience working with artists and in artist-driven programs and audience engagement required. A Masters Degree in art history, art education, museum education or a related field is preferred. Familiarity with Connecticut and Westchester school districts is preferred. Please send 1 a cover letter including salary requirements, 2 current resume, and 3 a description of a program for K students designed, implemented, and evaluated by the applicant to: Calls will not be accepted.
Only qualified applicants will be contacted. The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is committed to: Consistent with these principles, The Aldrich does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, expression and characteristics, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, visible or invisible disability, veteran status, or any other protected status. Her exhibition at The Aldrich is dedicated to two important sources of inspiration: The outdoor sculpture, a geometric flower in stone and glass, is based on the geometry of a traditional quilt pattern.
Adjacent to these influential works, on loan from institutions around the country, she also includes objects from her own collection. Circumstance highlights inspiration and its influence across object- making, through the specifically commissioned work of six multi- generational artists. The exhibitions underscore the intersection of installation art and exhibition design, and show how the convergence of fine art, design, and non-art objects within the exhibition format informs and elucidates creative expression.
In doing so, Circumstance attempts to explore the interstices where art and object come together, come apart, and reunify, by examining context, its many shifts and permutations, and tracing the movement of art and objects from the studio to the museum. In the captivating maze of intersecting rooms, craft, found, utilitarian, historical design, and everyday objects will sit beside works of art, informing us as to how artists take inspiration from what is around them.
Wurtz will take center stage in the development, conceptualization, and reception of their work, as the Museum assists them to reveal never-before-seen aspects of their practice. Generous support for Virginia Poundstone: Old, Odd, and Oval, will focus on her latest body of work, medium- to large-scale to site-engaged paintings that demonstrate her experimentations with new materials and fabrication methods as she combines hand-painted Plexiglas with colorful fabric patterns she designs digitally.
Ridgefield, CT September Old, Odd, and Oval , part of the Painting in Four Takes series of exhibitions, will focus on her latest body of work, medium- to large-scale to site-engaged paintings that demonstrate her experimentations with new materials and fabrication methods as she combines hand-painted Plexiglas with colorful fabric patterns she designs digitally.
Old, Odd, and Oval is part of Painting in Four Takes , a series of solo exhibitions that will provide a window into the practices of four engaging painters who imbue the medium with relevance and character. On view from November 15, , through April 3, , the exhibitions will mark the first time in over twenty years that The Aldrich has dedicated all of its galleries to painting.
The public are invited to a free reception celebrating the four exhibitions from 2 to 5 pm on Sunday, November Richardson Fund; and Fairfield Fine Art. Rommel will debut a series of new paintings presented alongside small works from to The oil paintings range from head to body size, and oscillate between cool and warm palettes, color fields of denim blues, moody greys, creamy whites, salmon pinks, and citrus hues.
Two Italians, Six Lifeguards is part of Painting in Four Takes , a series of solo exhibitions that will provide a window into the practices of four engaging painters who imbue the medium with relevance and character. Turkish-born artist Hayal Pozanti will debut a new series of paintings and digital animations in her first solo museum exhibition, Deep Learning , to be presented at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum as part of the Painting in Four Takes series from November 15, , through April 3, The practice of Hayal Pozanti spans painting, digital animation, and sculpture.
For the exhibition, she will debut a new series of paintings and digital animations. Pozanti negotiates two opposing image-producing interfaces, the digital, with its mechanical, frenetic pace, and traditional studio practice, with its slowness, imperfection and tactile insistence. Deep Learning is part of Painting in Four Takes , a series of solo exhibitions that will provide a window into the practices of four engaging painters who imbue the medium with relevance and character.
Hayal Pozanti was born in Istanbul in and now lives in New York. In a career that spans three decades, Steve DiBenedetto has established himself as an idiosyncratic artist who has brought the pursuit of painting into the unpredictable chaos and flux that categorize the Postmodern world. The artist has consistently rejected formalism throughout an era where both formal and conceptual approaches to painting have become de rigueur, taking a position where the canvas and the act of painting initiate a site for struggle, invention, and, ultimately, reinvention.
The exhibition will include works from to the present with a focus on the past five years. Evidence of Everything is part of Painting in Four Takes , a series of solo exhibitions that will provide a window into the practices of four engaging painters who imbue the medium with relevance and character. Today, painting is embedded in the broad debate. For more than forty years, B. Wurtz has been transforming throwaway objects found in daily life—shoelaces, plastic bags, food containers, buttons, socks, hangers—into elegant, poetic compositions that evoke the condition of being human.
These inexpensive and disposable pans transcend socio-economic class, passing through every home; but by painting over the patterns and texts on the exterior of the pans with various colors of acrylic paint, Wurtz has transformed the ordinary into something invaluable. For The Aldrich, he covers three walls of the Erna D. Leir Gallery, salon style, with over of his pan paintings dating from to Appearing like geometric abstractions, their compositions are predetermined not by Wurtz, but by a nameless maker, as he accentuates the full range of their embossed designs.
The objects—from American Brilliant cut glassware to Wedgwood pottery and mid-century Danish modern Krenit bowls—represent a number of distinctive styles and periods, and have no immediate connection to each other. In bringing them together, Wurtz offers up a compelling dialogue about high art, decorative art, form and function, as well as the act of collecting. Historically, Iznik reflected the patriarchy of the traditional society, with male artists and craftspeople producing work that adorned the walls of spaces mostly limited to men, such as their segregated quarters in mosques and baths.
In Iznik today, women are very dominant in both the management and labor of ceramic production. A functioning ceramic fountain sits in the center of the gallery atop a carpet-like grid of painted tiles. In a tiled wall niche, small vessels are placed on a long shelf, a nod to their inherent domesticity. On the outside wall, a painted tile mural inspired by a historic Iznik panel from the Topkapi Museum presents central figures that resemble Art Nouveau water nymphs. Generous support for Elif Uras: For artist Penelope Umbrico, light, and our changing relationship to it, has become one of the main subjects of a practice that challenges what normally constitutes ideas about photography and its presence in our lives.
Umbrico is part of the first generation of artists to have participated in the transition from traditional photography to digital media and its attendant complexity. Rather than just swapping one technology for another, however, Umbrico has completely embraced the world in which photography now finds itself—a world where light is transformed into code and completely disassociated from its original context, and where even the sun has become a digital artifact. This exhibition presents a ricocheting trajectory through photographic history: The most fundamental of all photographic technologies, the image in a camera obscura is based on contingency: Sun Screen Camera Obscura has taken the fundamental contingent nature of the image in a camera obscura and replaced it with information that comes from the Cloud: In other works in the exhibition, Umbrico has photocopied images of solar eclipses from the picture collection of the New York Public Library and transformed them both by hand and with cell phone camera apps, expanding and engaging the way that an eclipse inverts the usual roles played by the sun and the moon.
Through time these objects have fallen in and out of favor. The wall arrangement will consist of multiple casts of her works, designed as a tiled repeat pattern. This interplay of references, espousing both the high and low, explores questions of taste, originality and value. Nancy Shaver, in a career that has spanned four decades, has consistently worked to challenge expectations on the aesthetic hierarchies found in visual culture. Her practice, which involves finding objects, making objects, and recontextualizing objects, has been informed by a critical eye that looks—and looks hard—at the culture of materiality with an attitude approaching that of an anthropologist.
But in this instance, the exhibition is framed by the presence of two artists whose names have probably never been linked before: Walker Evans — and Sonia Delaunay — Evans is the American photographer who became known in the s for his stark depictions of life during the Depression, particularly in the rural south; Delaunay, the French Modernist artist, was a painter and textile and fashion designer. She selects fabrics not just for the abstract patterning and color, but also for their encoded sociological meaning.
The collaged fabric-scrap nature of these works resembles quilting, and Shaver is very aware that her process relates to vernacular fabric collage; but by wrapping fabric around wooden blocks and assembling the blocks into three dimensional objects, she is declaring them to be more a part of the world of art—not craft—a position where both making and philosophical inquiry are on an equal footing. Generous support for Nancy Shaver: Reconciliation has been provided by The Coby Foundation. To join at this level, please contact Ashley Prymas, Associate Director, Marketing and Partnerships at aprymas aldrichart.
Sara Cwynar, Cover Girl, , 16 mm film on video with sound, 9 min. Dash March 3, , to September 15, Dash, Untitled, , adobe, string, styrofoam, jute and wood and aluminum support. Harmony Hammond, Bandaged Grid 1, Upcoming residency dates Risa Puno, Common Ground , Courtesy of the artist. Membership Library Join Today! June 24 to July Marina Zurkow was born in in New York City, where she lives and works. July 16 to August 5: Jillian Mayer was born in in Miami, Florida, where she lives and works.
August 6 to August 27 to September Connecticut Post Extensive Aldrich exhibit explores tabletop art objects June Richard Klein, exhibitions director. Xaviera Simmons Underscore September 22, , to March 9, Richard Klein, exhibitions director Each image in the exhibition is accompanied by a recording of an iconic song performed by the musical artist whose fans are portrayed. Martin Creed Scales September 22, , to March 9, Jack Whitten Evolver April 6, , to July 6, Richard Klein, exhibitions director Jack Whitten: Michael Joo Drift April 6, , to September 21, This exhibition has been generously supported, in part, by Cynthia and Stuart Smith.
Richard Klein, exhibitions director Ernesto Neto was born in in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he currently lives and works. This exhibition is supported, in part, by the Stanley Family Fund. Genesis Belanger, Double Cherry , Courtesy of the artist and Mrs. Objects Like Us — Installation Images. Analia Segal contra la pared May 20, , to September 23, Related Events Spinning a Yarn: Artforum Previews Analia Segal: The Brooklyn Rail Analia Segal: Contra la pared September Almost Everything on the Table — Installation Images.