Sometime earlier in the year 2020 in Los Angeles at the Hammer Museum I was staring at an old painting of a doctor in red robes. It’s a famous painting of sorts. That is why it hangs in a museum probably. I was admiring the meticulously painted folds in the robes and the delicacy of the hands. Great gestures of an artist concerned with the persona of a well known doctor of the region and time. Also I just so happen to be studying the drawing of drapery on the human body.
As I was standing there an older woman, smartly dressed, approached me. She immediately began to tell me about this doctor. His scandals, social life, work with knife, and overall trajectory through history. She told of the artists life and acquaintance and fascinations. She remarked about what in the painting tied to what event and deviant behavior. She took a pause to ask why I was studying it so intently.
I replied, “Because I think I was meant to meet you.”
“Hmm. Yes. Are you a student or a painter somewhere?” She inquired back.
“I suppose. I study seeing and making under a master artist or two and… but really, I’m more concerned with the universe, and moments like this. Right now I have a sensation that I needed life to work it out, me to study what I have, me to be confused about what I am confused about, so that I could meet you and hear what you have to say.” My awestruck rambling continued until it didn’t.
“Well, if that’s the case, I recommend you read up on this painting and this doctor. I have done so and needed to immediately re-acquaint myself with him. I have been a museum lecturer for a long time. There is always something new in what was always here.” The woman in red and gold declared, “Things are always more than they seem. And this man was many a thing indeed!”
“Yes, the painting, the longer you experience it, makes it clear that this is not a singular moment. This mans hands are far too sneaky, far too delicate, far too of all moments, “ my mouth lobbed as I got lost in an imagined scene in Europe of a guilded man among the socialites…
“Young man, I am going to leave you and the good doctor alone. Pay attention and you’ll do great.” And she whirled red right out of the gallery doors.
The doctor continued to observe me and I he. The security guard kept smiling.