Courtesy of Nomad-Chic

One of my favorite memories from last summer is the afternoon I wandered through the The Morgan Library & Museum in New York. Modern second floor exhibition rooms taper into narrow stairs descending into gilded vaults. Oversized globes anchor catacomb-like chambers filled with original literary manuscripts preserved in vitrines. Velvet covered benches are scattered throughout the mansion. I surrender to the sumptuous cushions. Ornate astrological frescoes on the domed ceiling above me. The muffled echo of footsteps on the mahogany floors. Complete tranquility.
It was a good afternoon. 
That July, the museum was hosting Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists' Enumerations from the Collections of the Smithsonian Museum. A myriad of scribbled, painted, typed, and otherwise preserved lists, by a variety of cultural figures, were displayed in the cool, windowless galleries.  In the book that accompanies the exhibit, Liza Kerwin writes, “Lists are comforting. They set an agenda. They clarify and catalog. People formulate lists to impose order, to bolster an argument, to express an opinion, or to take inventory…Lists tell us what we have done or what we hope to do…Lists can be equally parts drudgery and desire…Some lists testify to an outcome; others present a process…Even the most mundane lists can be intriguing specimens of cultural anthropology…It is often the casual record that reveals the rhythms of an age. Lists, whether dashed off as a quick reminder or carefully constructed as a comprehensive inventory, give insight into the list maker’s personal habits and enrich the understanding of individual biographies. They reveal the process by which decisions are made or show the distillation of an argument to its essential points…This is especially true for artists, whose day-to-day acts of living and art-making overlap and inform each other. Artists’ list shed light on a host of motivations, attitudes, and opinions about their work and the work of others. In the hands of the artists, lists can be works of art in and of themselves.”
I love a good list. From the most banal to the most tawdry; bring it on. This is the NOMAD-CHIC list. Scribbles in a Japanese notebook with a fine tipped Sharpie marker.  

A semiotic point of departure.

August 2012