I went to the Hudson River Museum in order to show my friend, Vivien, the Eastlake furniture and the Arts & Crafts wallpaper at the Glenview mansion, because she has an Arts & Crafts inn in Fort Bragg, California – which town CSB insisted on referring to as Fort Knox and actually got my friend’s 14 year old son to crack a smile. Given that the HRM is 10 minutes from our house I have seen this mansion more times than I can count, with visitors from several states and countries. Some like it better than others. Everyone admires the view of the Palisades.
I was not expecting to be surprised by anything; I thought I might daydream in the presence of stuffed Victorian birds under glass. (The Victorian fondness for stuffed animals under glass strikes me as a PhD thesis topic just waiting to be grabbed up.)
Upon exiting the mansion – not through the proper front door but through what used to be a library window – and reentering the museum we discovered this strange and remarkably cheerful exhibit. I don’t know the last time I used the word cheerful to describe anything in an art museum; it is entirely possible that I never have. But Federico Uribe’s Fantasy River struck me as cheerful. To explain that it is comprised of flora and fauna made of pencils and sneakers and flip flops, garden hoses and spigots, paint brush handles, trowels, spades, bullet casings, screws, rakes, shoelaces, plastic forks and books does not do the trick.
How many times in one afternoon can you think: what a brilliant thing to do with old curly telephone cords (or flip-flops or fake fingernails...). Why didn’t I think of it?