A Portrait of the Artist As an Old Man

James Surls on his land just outside of Aspen, Colorado on July 20, 2018.In September 2017, I entered into an unusual correspondence with the sculptor James Surls. It began typically enough. He wrote me in the hopes that I’d cover one of his upcoming exhibits, and I replied with a short note, something vague about keeping in touch. That gave way to a series of emails, arriving every week or so, expounding on a variety of projects. He had a lot on his mind, it turned out: process, viewpoint, business. Often, though, the dispatches seemed encoded. “I am the bird standing on the cedar stump,” he wrote in one. “What makes the clock think out loud?” I couldn’t help but wonder: What the hell? Surls had been as prominent a figure in the state’s art world as Troy…View Original Post

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