The Life of a Ghost

“I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was – I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas

Are there ghosts around us… ghosts that are simply moving too fast for us to see? There are definitely live people moving too fast for anyone to see. Maybe a blur. All you feel is a buzz of wasted excitement and maybe a bit of a hot breeze.

And they are gone.

The sculpture in the photograph above is a Henry Moore bronze – Three-Piece No. 3: Vertebrae (Working Model). It is a prequel for Moore’s larger Three Piece Sculpture: Vertebrae, also known as the Dallas Piece, which sits in a forlorn spot in front of I. M. Pei’s Dallas City Hall.

I’ve always loved that sculpture and have visited it for decades. One especially cool time was when Rachel Harrison added a temporary pink arrow in a sculpture known as Moore to the Point as part of the Nasher Xchange project.

Moore to the Point
(click to enlarge)

Rachel Harrison
Moore to the point
City Hall Plaza
(click to enlarge)

Moore and Serra, Bronze and Steel

“The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for the rest of your life. And the most important thing is, it must be something you cannot possibly do.”
― Henry Moore

  Henry Moore, Two-Piece Reclining Figure No. 2 Richard Serra, Vortex Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth


Henry Moore, Two-Piece Reclining Figure No. 2
Richard Serra, Vortex
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

What interests me is the opportunity for all of us to become something different from what we are, by constructing spaces that contribute something to the experience of who we are.
—-Richard Serra

Two Archers

Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans, Louisiana

A good archer is not known by his arrows but his aim.

—-Thomas Fuller

(Click for a larger version on Flickr)

What we want is not freedom but its appearances. It is for these simulacra that man has always striven. And since freedom, as has been said, is no more than a sensation, what difference is there between being free and believing ourselves free?

—-Emil Cioran

(Click for a larger version on Flickr)

Sculptures in the photos:
Henry Moore, Reclining Mother and Child

Pierre Aususte Renoir, Venus Victorius

Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Diana, The Huntress

Antoine Bourdelle, Hercules the Archer

Three shot from one spot, resting my feet by the Henry Moore

Working Model for Three Piece No. 3: Vertebrae, by Henry Moore

My Curves Are Not Mad, by Richard Serra

Eve, by Auguste Rodin

There’s a nice stone bench behind the Henry Moore sculpture in the Nasher Sculpture Garden, where you can take a load off of your feet and look out at all the folks wandering around. It’s one of my favorite spots.