Warning: my friends in Montreal and the North-East, STOP READING NOW! What follows will be bad for your mental health. Scroll until you see bones.
I felt a mounting excitement as we turned into one of my favorite, top-secret, spots in Paris. An imposing 19th century building sits in the northeast corner of the Jardin. It is the Gallery of Evolution, a vast space filled with bones. Downstairs are plain old animals, upstairs extinct ones. The skeletons, in their hundreds, seem to march down the hall toward you. They are all sizes, including very large ones like whales and elephants, but small ones are also ranged around the room in oak cabinets. The whole space is entirely lit by daylight, giving a particular warmth to these old bones.
I find it hard to express or explain why this space is so inspirational for me. It has to do with life, death, the connections between us all, present and extinct. It relates to me and what I am doing here in Paris, visiting the past, with its old dinosaurs of art and architecture that nonetheless continue to move us in the present. This space will come into my painting, I know.