Tuesday, November 20, 2007

In Memoriam


A Humument p4, 1967 and 2007

As dawn broke on the day of my show’s opening at Flowers, Madison Avenue, I crossed the road from the Chelsea Hotel for my usual breakfast at the Malibu Diner, and, as usual, bought next door a copy of the London Times. My cheerful mood was dashed by reading news of the death of an old and dear friend, RB Kitaj.
As I made my way on foot for fifty blocks, in stages broken by coffees and lunch, to the gallery I thought of old and more innocent days, especially the long Saturday mornings we spent together at Austin’s of Peckham (Ron was then living in nearby Pickwick Road). There, opposite the place where Blake first saw angels, we rummaged amongst old books or hunted for some unnoticed old master etching in that furniture repository’s ritually revealed new stock. It was there also that I bought (on October 14th, 1966) for threepence, the copy of A Human Document, a victorian novel bound in faded yellow buckram which would soon start its second life as A Humument. With Ron as witness I vowed to work on the book for the rest of my life.
By the time I got to 75th St I had thought of a small way to commemorate my friend at the exhibition. The latest page of A Humument, a reworking of p4 to replace the original version of 1967 was in the gallery's back office. The best thing would be to pin it on the wall with a notice underneath dedicating it to Ron’s memory. This I did; to show his ghost that I had kept my word.

[note from studio – exhibition open until 24th November]

1 comment:

Silver said...

What a charming tale; seems a fitting way to honor your friend's memory.