Vera Berdich Spoke To Me
Julia and I went to the Art Institute Saturday. I think we’ll be spending a lot of time there this summer. I was excited to see an exhibit of the ‘See America First‘ prints by HC Westermann. Years ago Lara took me to the MCA and introduced me to Westermann’s work whereupon I had an aesthetic epiphany and wrote a poem about it and everything. When we were in the print collections, we stumbled across the work of one Vera Berdich whose prints were absolutely stunning. Here’s her obituary which serves as a biography and here’s another collection of her works. Her unique technique and the results achieved intrigue me.
I sat in the central hall and drew a sculpture of Vishnu and his consorts while Julia wandered through the galleries for a few hours. When she returned I had just about filled the page and had collected a small gallery of admirers. A woman in her early sixties and a group of boys were already thoroughly charmed by my pen but their jaws collectively dropped when Julia kissed my cheek. The lady said she was beautiful and I was lucky and I said, yes, yes, I am a damned lucky bastard and I meant it.
Since I’m whispering in the dark I will confess that I took great pleasure from the encounter. The kids looked like they had never been in a museum before and were there because someone was exposing them to some culture. They asked me primal questions and I had the opportunity to hold forth on aesthetics to an audience that regarded my words as authoritative; they were hypnotized by my pen while my mouth worked their ears. When the lady walked by she asked if she could attend the lecture; I held forth on aesthetics and philosophical opinions but will only repeat what I said on the subject of talent.
One of the young men by the name of Andre said that he wished he had talent like I had; I told him that he did, he just had to start practicing and stick with it for a few decades. I said that what most people wished for was what I was getting, which was earning the flattery and admiration of strangers. Most people desire what they think ‘talented’ people have, but what talented people have is a love for their art that drives them to practice, hone and pursue it; no one is born knowing how to play the cello.
I could say more, but it’s late and I’m tired. Besides, if you’re interested, you’ll ask to hear it. Here’s the drawing I did. My scanner still isn’t hooked up so this is just a shot from my sketchbook from Julia’s phone.