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Blog on Moving South


Blog on Moving South

On Tuesday morning, February 28th, I fly down to Berkeley (actually to S.F., to be picked up at the airport and brought to Berkeley), to spend about two months there, until the end of April or so. This is part of my continuing back-and-forth lifestyle, which I will keep up for as long as I am physically able, because I need both to be in Vancouver (to work with Rand Chatterjee on our video-lectures, to work with Barry Magrill on this website, to be with my sons Julian and Benedict) and in

Berkeley (to be with my daughter Sarah and her family John and Miranda, to do important things at the Berkeley Art Museum with Julia White and others, at the Visual Resources Dept.--former Slideroom--at my old History of Art Department where Samantha Zhu helps with gathering and digitizing materials for the videos, and to visit old friends, and much more.) Berkeley is still my spiritual and ultimate home, and the time must come--not far off-- when I can no longer make these moves and will settle permanently there. Sarah, with help from Pat Berger, has found a live-in helper to be with me during this coming stay--more about that later, as it develops. And my sons Benedict and Julian are coming down to visit for about a week during their Spring Break in March. And there you have, in a name- and fact-filled paragraph, the old age of your blogger, neatly summarized.

I will continue to be accessible by email, and (for those who know the number) by phone; in extremities I can also be reached through Sarah. We will attend a meeting of the Arts Club with a talk by Grey Brechin, a play at the Berkeley Repetory Theater with the great Geoff Hoyle (one of the two clowns who invented a new kind of physical clowning early on with the Pickle Family Circus--the other is Bill Irwin), get together with other old friends, and have great dinners in my favorite restaurants. And I will have the pleasure of seeing my sons enjoying being together with my granddaughter Miranda. And, as always, counting my blessings for having such great children and grandchildren, all flourishing and going their individual creative ways, in a world where so much can go wrong and, for too many people, alas, really does.

About the video-lectures: the first, Pure and Remote View series is completely finished, and the prolonged conclusion to it--a Postlude titled “Arguing the Aftermath” about what happens in Chinese painting after the end of the Song dynasty, and two Addenda, A&B, A being my “Freer Medal Acceptance Address” and B a lecture “On Judging Priority and Authenticity,” are in the process of being posted. But that isn’t all--both of the two Addenda have Parts B, and both those have to do with the highly controversial affair of the painting titled Riverbank, which many people believe to be an early masterwork--it is proudly owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and will later this year travel to China for an exhibition there--but which I believe--and know--to be a forgery by my late friend Zhang Daqian. If you remember all the hullaballoo raised about this painting back in the late 1990s, with a symposium mostly devoted to it at the Met, published writings on it all over, and the whole matter left unresolved, you will realize how important it is for me to establish the truth about it while I still can--before, as I often put it (the subject tends to come up these days), I join my ancestors. And I believe I have done just that, established finally the truth about Riverbank beyond dispute, in Part 2 to Addendum B, in a long insert made just as we were finishing this up, and I discovered, and present in (I think) devastating images, final and unarguable visual evidence for Riverbank’s being a Zhang Daqian fake. That is a big statement to make, but true, I think--view the video and decide for yourselves.

So (to quote the punchline of an old joke, about the horse in the bathtub), What else is new? Quite a lot, really--but the above will do for now. I have given Barry Magrill, who among other things manages this website for me, a few more materials to post on it, piece by piece, and will send him more from Berkeley. So keep watching.

James Cahill, February 25, 2012

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