Red Hook Box
There was something heartbreaking about this little box labeled RED HOOK DRWGS in stamped capital letters followed by a period. You name something by place once you have left that place or once you suspect you will leave. I guessed this piece was made with the knowledge or hindsight of departure. It was labeled on two sides the way moving boxes or boxes going into storage are. The color the box was painted was the tone and color of an interior wall. I could imagine the color was called sea foam or something like that. The drawings were made on the pages of a paperback book. To the touch they felt like household textures: wax and interior paint.
The drawings inside read like Diebenkorn when seen in reproductions. But after they were taken out of the box, moved around a large, narrow wooden table, they read more like interiors. They still seemed abstract but the way a bare wall is abstract, or a corner, or light coming under a pulled down shade. Home. Or a former home.
Anyone who has lived in New York and left knows that it means something to leave New York. I admit, I am projecting this on the piece, and can follow the biography of the artist. Even so, the small scale spoke to me of a New York apartment. The permission to move the drawings around the table reminded me of rearranging furniture in a small space. The drawings were packed up and labeled with the name of a neighborhood in a city almost everyone leaves eventually, or at least leaves a few apartments and neighborhoods behind.
But you don’t have to have lived in New York to appreciate the gesture of this piece. We have all moved more places than our parents. We have left many rooms we once occupied. The drawings were both full and empty like an apartment you’ve lived in, when you are looking around after your furniture has been moved out.