Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Living in a Jar

Choosing a subject a week on 52 pieces sometimes causes me to filter other information through that lens. This week two people have emailed me the article recently published in Telegraph surrounding the claim that it was Gauguin who cut off Van Gogh's ear. I wonder if that's because we just received a painting by Gauguin and had the world's leading Gauguin expert, Richard Brettell, here to discuss it. When I thought of that ear I thought of the best way we could have preserved it, and of course that led me to thinking about John Buck's Jar.
Then my colleague Kate came home from AAM, a Museum Conference in Philadelphia she attended last weekend. One of her highlights was the solo journey she took to see the Mutter Museum, part of the college of physicians. The Mutter museum was constructed to educate doctors about anatomy, now it educates the public about the history of medicine. Kate says she saw the skeletons of siamese twins, a 45 pound colon, the body of a boy whose soft tissue turned to bone and a collection of things found in the throats of hundreds of humans.
Of course, that reminded me of a collection fit for jars. Jars, they're on my mind. My sister and mom both can things. They used to take their canned things (which are in jars, not in cans, so I don't know why they don't call the act jarring)to a fair, their banner said We Certainly Can. My mom moved out of the house where I grew up a few years ago, I never made it home one last time and wasn't there to help her move. She says she threw everything into boxes. Last weekend we were all together for a Mother's Day celebration. I said "Remember all those cupboards on the far side of the kitchen where stuff sat for years, like powdered milk and dry yeast, remember how I would look there for something to eat and those things were always there, but never edible."
My sister and mom and I laughed. My mom said "When I moved here I brought that stuff wtih me, I brought ten year old canned cherries! can you believe that?" I said "what did you do with them when you got here?"
"I finally threw them out," she said.
"No you didn't, they're in the gargage," said Howard, her husband.
That is the nature of a thing in a jar.

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