Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Art of Art

I only met Anne D'Harnoncourt once, but it was magical. I was at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on a Sunday, touring the arms and armor exhibit with a three-year-old boy who was wearing a full knight's costume: dragon-emblazoned tunic, mesh faux-chain-mail shirt, pants, and hood. Ms. D'Harnoncourt came around the corner, saw him, and gushed. She identified herself as the director of the museum, complimented his outfit, said she'd never seen someone wear armor to the arms exhibit, lamented that she didn't have a camera, and spoke to him for a few minutes, asked him all about the exhibit and what he knew about knights. She had a presence about her, an ease with herself, with other people, and the things around her, that closed distances without feeling obtrusive or forward. Ms. D'Harnoncourt died on Sunday, at 64. The early reports signaled that she'd had a stroke, but more recent announcements have all been reticent about the cause of death.

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