"Pale Fire" was an international group show organized by Anna Glantz and Victoria Roth, which was held at the LeRoy Neiman Gallery in January and February of 2014. The show featured the work of nine artists: Michael Berryhill, Lukas Geronimas, Daniel Heidkamp, Ryan Johnson, Anne Neukamp, Bea Parsons, Mary Reid Kelley, Alexander Roth, and Shahar Yahalom. For the occasion, New York-based poet Geoffrey Nutter contributed the poem "The Bright Day", and held a poetry reading in the gallery. Please find the poem and installation images below.
The Bright Day
To think about the North—about its air
of glass, its sky of glass and how you practice
being there; about its being there, as you
would be amidst its ornaments, its rock-salt
scattered beds. To look with one good eye,
which is of glass; and to look with one bad eye,
which is of clearest glass, a kind of ice
intensive and extensive. The names
and situations of the winds: who put them there?
The workings of a scattered brain, of all things
scattered, jagged, under the sky: oiled paper
nailed across storm windows, a jelly cupboard
made of yellow poplar, the oil drums
and corrugated metal: they are the tall
and brightly colored flags of the originary nation.
And when I was a child of that nation,
in that nation, living in the geometric
buildings in the city of that nation,
the trucks drove past those structures
on a wide avenue lined with dark monuments,
bringing bloodstones toward the palaces,
and manganese to factories, and cobalt, zinc,
and great cubes of aluminum flashing in the sun,
as if, on a spray of jasmine, one gown was snagged
as it brushed by on its way to the Ministry
of Conveyances, stock still under January’s big clock.
To speak into prisms, through the old tin cans,
the damaging enemy spices puffing up
in reddish clouds to tint the sunset. And yet
there is a plan involving one bulb
of white tea flower and chrysanthemum that flowers
in clearest water in a porcelain cup, two people
on an alien terrace, blue newspapers wrinkled
in a cold breeze, for this is a place
where neither wind atlas nor cloud almanac are kept.
Balloons were drifting over the world at dawn,
air balloons, airships, weather gauges made
of weightless silver foil, children’s balloons,
globes of shimmering thought, clouds, gasses,
large golden tufted spores. And down below,
the people lived their lives as ever, the misfits, the star-crossed,
the shoehorns of the wooden proletariat,
the freaks, the tulips freaked with jet,
those in gray basaltic ice just surviving
off the oddments, and a cadence gradually
dying away but looming still and swaying there,
being what you were but had forgotten.
And like the astronomers you lived among during
your time on Earth, those who were naming
astral bodies Icicle and Harp, you too
were prescient. Everything that has happened
up to now has seemed so unlikely. But it is
nevertheless a typical cold and brilliant day,
though an impossible idea is situated there
in the midst of its yellowing silver grasses.
And, though again, it seemed as though you were floating
into space toward nowhere, toward a flowering planet
ringed by violet birds and orange clouds,
you were really seeing summer through a doorway,
safe yet strangely so in the caverns and crystal cells
of emerald men.