One fall night last year, we created a project for ourselves. The American students were studying abroad in Paris, and I was a mentor in their program. Two artists and three writers, we assigned ourselves homework. We’d spend an evening all together at one of Ernest Hemingway’s famous haunts. The writers had to choose someone, or someones, from among the clientele as their inspiration for a short story. The artists’ drawings would be similarly inspired by someone who was there that night. We’d package the works together and discover what we’d jointly created
I turn the corner and am jolted by fluid splashes of color, original blues, greens, and oranges, not their recreated versions. Then I hear myself sigh, easing from the city into this quiet space.
When Monet designed the Water Lilies galleries in Le Musée de l’Orangerie, he specified that they should be experienced in silence. Viewers should whisper, step softly. It’s a space set apart—a cathedral built in reverence for the absence of sound.