Tag Archives: Martin Puryear

Professional days…

Got a tip yesterday about yet another restaurant with free wifi Internet access, so this morning I’m sitting in the “Branding Iron Grill” on Houston St. between 8th and 9th. Good cheap breakfasts, rolls of paper towels on the table instead of napkins, and good country music blasting — what more could you want?

A fellow just walked in, friendly-looking guy, and placed his order — “Aigs, bacon, pahtatoes — and make sure mah aigs are burnt [said with a grin].” Judging by the accents I’m hearing around me, I’m the only northerner in the place.

I’m skipping the morning keynote presentation at Professional Days. The title of the presentation was something about “America as a Dry Drunk.” Which sounds vaguely interesting, but it also sounds like someone was going to shake their finger at me and tell me what a terrible country the United States is. Which may be true, but I decided I wasn’t ready for a heavy dose of guilt quite yet. Better to sit in the “Branding Iron Grill” and listen to some country music singer with a fine voice sing “Why not me?” over a nice riff on steel-string guitar.

Yesterday, I went off to the Fort Worth Museum of Art. I wanted to see Martin Puryear’s sculpture “Ladder for Booker T. Washington.” It’s a remarkable sculpture, some forty feet long, suspended so that the bottom of the ladder is about two feet off the ground. Puryear turned the rungs out of maple, and they look inviting and comfortable to hold — you want to grab the first one, and start climbing. But how can you climb a ladder that doesn’t even touch the ground? And the ladder gets more and more narrow as you get towards the top — you know by looking at it that you’ll never, ever be able to climb very far up it. An amazing piece.

(For a picture of the sculpture, go to http://www.themodern.org/collect.html, click on “Find artist by last name,” go to “P – R,” click on Puryear, and then click on “Next work” until you get to “Ladder” — and no, there is no easier way to get there.)

Yesterday evening, I went to the reception for ministers and directors of religious education, the official start to Professional Days. Caught up with a bunch of old friends, learned what’s going on with them.

Now it’s probably time to head back to Professional Days, and hear the last of the keynote address. So I can feel all guilty for living in a horrible country that acts like a dry drunk.

((The woman at the counter just told a man, “It’s just the ministers today, the rest of them come in later in the week. It’s this particular religious group, I’ve started reading up on it…” — but then I lost the rest of it because of the country music. I wonder what she found out about Unitarian Universalists?))