At the beginning of this day, near the beginning of this year, let me suggest that you follow a new morning routine. Don’t rely on coffee alone to get you started. Let me explain by taking you on a little tour not of the Art Institute of Chicago but of two colorful pages about its blockbuster exhibit “Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Studio of the South.” Those pages in the December 20 Chicago Sun-Times featured four guards and three paintings from the exhibit, which ended January 13.
Sara Fiedelholtz interviewed and Jean Lachat photographed four people who got to see the paintings up close for long periods. They are museum guards. Isadore Turner, in his 14th year of guarding, chose Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night as his favorite work in the exhibition. “I always see something different. I like to imagine how the artist felt when painting,” says Sunday painter Turner.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).