Blown away – 209th Edition

I’m standing in Reno, but in every other meaningful way this is about our half of the state. It’s cool and quiet here in the high-ceilinged, second-floor storage room of the Nevada Museum of Art, where curators keep portions of their permanent collection. Paintings and photographs are affixed to movable walls hanging close together at one end of the cluttered room. As I wait, a little nervous — Don’t touch anything, Dickensheets! — archivist Sara Frantz tugs one of the walls into a position from which, if I worm past a shelving unit, I get a weirdly angled, too-close but still-stirring glimpse of what I’ve come to see: Robert Beckmann’s monumental Body of a House paintings. I’m guessing it’s the fifth or sixth of the eight-panel sequence. It’ll take a while, and more worming, and a gentle rebuke from Frantz as I awkwardly leverage my torso around a corner (“I know you like the paintings, but please don’t touch them”), but I eventually see all or most of each Body painting.

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