Cage Gallery, in the middle of the show
Cage is cagey but never a cage.
Some works on paper (etchings, drawings, etc.)
and words that drew me: Déreau. New River Stones. Score Without Parts
(40 Drawings by Thoreau): Twelve Haiku. 62 Mesostics re Merce Cunningham.
Eninka. Edible Drawings. Smoke Weather Stone Weather. Music for Carillon:
Incomplete Worksheets (star tracings). Without Horizon.
Such tender violence:
branded & smoked & burnt
hard-ground or soft-ground
edibles grated and dried
to score: to write musical signs
or to scratch & scarify
"déreau" rhymes with Thoreau.
Henry Thoreau's handwritten journal is placed in the
center of the room, open for us to read the entry for January 31, 1856.
Did JC choose these two pages?
Presumably this journal is not moved about, as the drawings are everyday;
the cabinet looks like it's not meant to be moved. So this room has one
center (?) unlike other rooms---a still point around which whorls the carnaval
("carnival," we spell it in the North).
The pages contain ink drawings of many animal tracks and other animal markings
that Thoreau found in the snow during a walk. The drawings are interspersed
among his written notes, which are very hard to decipher and are obviously
written quickly, on the spot. (Did he wear write bare-handed in winter?)
One part includes carefully rendered marks made by an animal's tail or other
parts, near its footprints, with speculation by Thoreau on how and why the
marks were made. Other drawings allow the comparison of tracks, side-by-side.
These pages are quintessential Thoreau---the trivial and the minute transforming
itself (through an act of mind) into the sublime. Compare Emerson (a paraphrase
from memory): "genius shows us the miraculous in the commonplace."
Near one of the drawings Thoreau asks, "but what track is this just
underneath the bank?"
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