Image: August 2004 Archives


More than 25 years ago a friend in Boston brought me a present she had carried all the way back from a visit to El Paso, where she had grown up. It was a peach-colored Bougainvillea plant, and it made the trip in the back of her little Ford Maverick. I was absolutely delighted with her generosity and her thoughtfullness.

At the time the plant could hardly have seemed more exotic to me, or in the interior of the simple 1760's house in Providence which became its home. The Bougainvillea was primarily something I had read about in novels set in Mediterranean climes, and the simple parlor on Transit Street contained nothing but 18th-century New England stuff, pretty modest but intensely curated. I found myself justifying its presence with the fiction that it had come to my quarters in the cabin of some sea captain returning from Brazil,* but the plant quickly took on a character of its own, and brought life to a beautiful room. Its branches and its flowers also showed intensely and stubbornly romantic through most of their existence, somehow haunting my memory of that very classical house.

The Bougainvillea survived for years, regularly pushing out at least a few brave blossoms in front of its curtainless window, but it never looked very happy in spite of the happiness it gave to my friends and to me. It didn't make the move to New York, but our relationship has made every sighting of its relatives, anywhere in the world, a sweet joy.

* Hmm. I just found out that the flower was discovered (for Europeans), in 1768.

[The image was captured last Wednesday afternoon, near the Central Garden of the Getty]

untitled (palms in the blue)

These wonderful creatures could easily turn me into an animist. These palms were waving above the high terrace of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art this afternoon.

But, at least on the surface, the current featured exhibition, "Beyond Geometry: Experiments in Form 1940s−70s," could hardly be more removed from these beautiful sentinals outside. It's a stunning show, even if I somehow missed the argument of its curatorial premise.

untitled (Chung King Road) 2004

The very pedestrian Chung King Road is the site of six or eight of the most exciting galleries in Los Angeles, but it's also still part of Chinatown.

This page is an archive of entries in the Image category from August 2004.

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