Sunday, April 19, 2015

Docents Touring Docents

Of Mere Being
By Wallace Stevens

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze decor.
A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.
You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.

The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.
The incomparable Ann Bauer was as the edge of the parking lot as the scheduled tour began to assemble. The students from Washington University, St. Louis arrived in two or three separate cars. At least one had time considerations because she had return for an evening class. 10 students in all with Ann, two Laumeier docents in training and myself. Ann was already teaching the group with an overview of what the tour might include. She pauses only briefly to suggest that I would take the lead after she – on doctor’s advice – heads to the hospital. (My goodness, we are fortunate to have Ann as our kick off presenter, but by all means Ann, listen to your doctor. I am happy to take the lead and hopeful that Ann seeks appropriate medical attention. It seems reasonable for a ninety year old to do so – even if that ninety year old has the spirit of the very college students listening intently.)
Ann asked me to elaborate on the Jackie Ferrara second original. She wanted to make sure this tour included the Sam Durant Free Hanging Chain, the newly refreshed Donald Judd and what Ann referred to as the Juan William Ch├ívez ghost piece. I obliged Ann, in due time, over the course of the next 90 minutes. Along the way this group of youngsters exuded the joy of being outside together. They are docents too (at the wonderful Mildred Lane Kemper Museum located on their campus) – some for only a semester – and by show of hands most self identify as artists in their own right.
The youthful energy resulted in smart phone group photos, selfies, and childlike joy in discovering Ian Hamilton Finlay’s site specific Four Shades and finding Vito Acconci’s Face of the Earth. We walked around Charles Ginnever’s Crete as the views frame the lush green Spring landscape against the patina of Cor Ten Steel – an especially beautiful site this day because of the light and energy this group brings to the work.  
I assigned Of Mere Being as homework -- the Wallace Stevens Poem that inspired Richard Lobe’s Palm at the end of the Parking Lot along with the challenge to return to our sculpture park again and again. I hope they do. We are a better place for having them as guests.    

Contact: Allison Fricke
Work Telephone: (314) 935-5624 
Complementary Tour for Student Docents with
Allison Fricke, Assistant Educator @ Kemper. Collection Highlights Tour/Info on LSP Docents
Lead Docent:  Ann Bauer
Docent 2:  Wes Morgan (Q’s about Docent Program)
Docent 3: Loren Ludmerer/shadow
Docent 4:  Florence Kramer/shadow
               

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