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  • Writer's picturedjbc1956

At Home with Curatorial Associates

As many of my friends & colleagues already know, in late 2018 I signed the lease on a beautiful former law library on the 3rd floor of the Colvin Building in upstate Glens Falls, NY. There were three factors that made the decision so simple: (1) I'd gotten married a few months earlier & finally faced the reality that my personal library could no longer be housed in our shared 1-bedroom apartment; (2) the new space was defined by its floor to ceiling shelves, which meant that I could organize and shelve all my books, and still have plenty of space left over; and (3) I grew up in nearby Hudson Falls, which meant that I have family & friends scattered throughout the area & know all the landmarks by heart, so there was no particular pressure to find a place to live when I was upstate -- I could always crash with siblings, cousins, friends or even local Airbnb hosts (when I felt like ditching the automobile). With the decision to make this my upstate retreat came a commitment to spend an average of one week/month in residence, which became particularly useful as I began to strengthen my commitment to making collages while I was there. In a very short period of time, I had my three-tiered workspace, which I started calling Curatorial Associates, all figured out: a place to read, a place to write, and a place to make pictures. With the exception of March & April 2020, when like everybody else I was homebound, I haven't missed a month over the past 3 years, although there will be some blurring between October & November this year, and since I'll be on the road January 3-26, it's unlikely I'll get back until the very end of the month.

I'm posting this today because I want to note how well my work rhythms have adapted to my still-recent calendar modification. When I'm in the city, I feel free to visit galleries and museums all I want, and I tend to go to the gym everyday, and schedule several meetings during the week. I do sometimes begin my writing assignments in the Manhattan apartment, but the habit of setting up my laptop at Curatorial Associates and digging into the latest deadline has become second nature, so I tend to save the longer stretches for upstate. Also, since looking at art while in Glens Falls is a stretch, and there is no obvious gym to join, I have the "luxury" of devoting all of my waking hours to working, which means I can walk into my space and do what I wish to do for 12 uninterrupted hours, if I feel like it. Yesterday that meant starting on my re-write for the Bishop Museum catalog on PIW! WOW! before 6 am, and finishing it up at 3 pm., then turning to work on some collages that were in progress. Being able to concentrate for 9 straight hours is not simply that comes easily in NYC, and probably never will, but here it's comparatively easy because I have no interruptions, no commitments, and barely anybody coming to visit me. This doesn't make me a misanthrope or sociophobic, but it does mean that my own instincts about what kind of environment is conducive to getting my work done has been pretty sound. Now that I've got my work rhythms adjusted to adapt to this terrific upstate resource, I've forgotten what it's like to try to manage without a personal library/archive/office/studio conveniently located just 200 miles up the Hudson River!

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