CASVA: an office to die for
I am just getting settled in at the the National Gallery in Washington DC, where I am based at CASVA (the Center for the Advanced Studies of the Visual Arts) - busy preparing my lectures on the "Twelve Caesars".
The truth is that I have loads of ideas on this, and some amazing new stuff that I'm sure most people won't know about. But, for better or worse, I haven't yet got The Big Idea. But there is still six weeks to go (and actually it seems to me that it may be 'for better' not to have the big idea .. never quite sure how crudifying those 'big ideas' are).
But if there was any place you could get a Big Idea, it would be CASVA.
The picture at the top is the view from my office.
How cool is that? This office is in the new East block of the National Gallery in Washington DC, a wonderfully idiosyncratic building by I M Pei (the story is that there are no right angles...). And actually I dont quite see what the picture at the top shows, because Pei has insisted that no one actually pulls up their blinds (I put my iphone on the other side of the blinds).
But architecture apart (and I really like it), it is a wonderful place to do research. And I have to confess that it is easier and better resourced than anything you would get in the uk. That goes for everything from people with time to help you (thanks all) to photo-copying and locating books. Can you believe it that in Cambridge, if someone has a book out that you want, you are not allowed to know who it is ('data protection' madam) -- here they just tell you who has it out AND they tell you how to get in touch with them. That makes several days' difference in tracking something down.
The truth is that this is a better place to do research than the UK. The reason for that is CUTS at home -- even though I never thought I would say that. You dont usually get good research without good money.
Meanwhile, I cant help thinking that if my Mum and Dad had seen my office (neither of them had ever been to America) they would have been so proud. I'm 56 -- do you ever stop thinking about what your parents would make of how you have turned out?