Hunting Berries

On one of my afternoon walks around the Djerassi grounds, I see a bright scrap of red set far back in the hunch of a thorny bush.  The color draws my eye, but as I crouch down to look close, it’s clear that the berry isn’t ready to be eaten.  Flat red and unglossy, it has the shape of a finished thing, the drupes lined up and articulated with precision—but it is still just an object, not yet a food, and to sample it would be a mistake.  I check back each week as I walk past the vacant space, and by the end of the month it is ripe and ready and soft to the touch.


I'm writing now from my studio at Djerassi, looking down the green hills of the Santa Cruz Mountains that roll all the way to the ocean below. When it’s clear, you can see the water, which most of the time is obscured by a cool marine layer. It’s late afternoon, so light infuses the grasses, some of which are starting to turn to the gold these whole hills will be by summer’s end. Earlier this morning, fog pressed its gray shroud to the glass.

Cloud hands on the mountain

My third day in residence at Djerassi, I join fellow residents Wei and Daiane in their Tai Chi practice. I have only previously tried Tai Chi once, for twenty minutes, when it was part of an employee wellness demonstration years ago. Here on the mountaintop, I decide to try it as a form of exercise. I can’t do my customary lap swims here. I imagine it will be something like yoga. Good for my body, but also meditative.


In Memoriam: Kinetic Artist Antonio Asis

Antonio Asis, a pioneering Argentine postwar abstract artist known for his vibrant paintings and interactive kinetic art, died in Paris on March 30 after an illness. He was 87. Asis, born in 1932 in Buenos Aires, was a key member of the South American expatriate creative community who moved to Paris in the 1950s and to explore color and geometry to incite movement and vibration in art. 

Art as Invention: Sherban Epuré in memoriam

Over three years ago, Letiţia Bucur shared the devastating news with me: Sherban Epuré, her husband, suffered a spinal aneurysm. It meant, among other things, paralysis from the waist down and a never-ending succession of medical interventions. The artist was not prepared to give in. Living on borrowed time, he fully rededicated himself to his art.