As some of you know, about 2 months ago we had a “visitor.” We do not know for sure, but this visitor was likely a young Mexican male. He climbed over our back wall with the intent of robbing us. It was just before midnight and we were asleep. We were awakened by 5 policemen walking along our covered pergola roof (connects the main house to our bedroom and studios) with flashlights and machine guns. It turns out this visitor had been to our Mexican neighbor’s houses before ours (dispels the myth that only gringos are violated.) The neighbors had called the police and, as is the custom in Merida, the police come into a house via the roof (they use a long extension ladder-which can be seen on their trucks.) That way there is no need to forcibly enter through the front door (there are no alleys or “backdoors” in Merida.) It also means folks do not have to risk leaving one room to let them in. All in all a great system. Well, the policemen scared our visitor off–and he left with only a really old iPod touch via our Ceiba Tree (since reduced in size.) After the intital anger at being violated, we began upgrading your house with a new perimeter electric fence, razor wire (only in the rear of the property where we are most vulnerable) and a wireless motion detection system connected via the internet and cell phone SIM (back up since the internet is not that reliable). We now sleep much more relaxed. Things are returning to normal. On the plus side, it looks like the house is entering the “done zone” –although that may jinx us since nothing is really ever done here in Mexico–just in a state of perpetual change. We have learned to live with this–a positive sign in my opinion. So safe and sound for now.
Now for the purpose of this post. Lea and I have spent much of our 25 years together traveling and, simultaneously, collecting art that moves us. We never buy on speculation. We only buy what moves us. Finally, we have a “home” for our art. It is really the first time we have been able to have our art displayed properly and in relative context. It is such a calming thing to have the art finally displayed properly so that we can contemplate and study it. There is nothing more calming (at least for me) than to look deeply at a work of art that one loves. It is also inspiring to me for my own work. It also puts the world into perspective. It keeps things in balance. It creates a calm oasis in a hectic and ofter unsettled world. It is particularly rewarding when an artist that we collect becomes “known” to the art world. For example, we have a Christopher Le Brun etching which was bought years ago on the advice of Patrick Noon, the Patrick and Aimee Butler Chair of Paintings and Department Head at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Le Brun was just selected as the president of the Royal Academy in London. We have six paintings by Rebecca Salter (see http://www.rebeccasalter.com) who had a one-woman retrospective at the Yale Center for British Art. It is fun to collect what you love and can afford and then see other discover your artist! Here are some of the art settings in our house: