Saturday, January 23, 2016


Edgar Degas, "Dancers Practicing at the Barre"

Elsewhere, there’s a painting set on a conservator’s stand. It
waits for the touch of a blue nitrile glove, for her gaze under
the light. In another place, two dancers at the barre embody
and contradict that object on the conservator’s stand. Always
like this, it seems—the hand, the object, the body, the work
of love and attention, the brief time we have to practice such
skills as are needed to restore what’s been damaged, to make
things (and ourselves) whole. Sweat and rhythm and grace, the
solvent for our dancers; ethanol and patience, the solvent for
copal and age; our restorations revealing beauty, unvarnished.

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