Claude and the henry moo.., p.1
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       Claude and the Henry Moores, p.1

           Casey June Wolf
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Claude and the Henry Moores

  Claude and the Henry Moores


  Casey June Wolf

  Copyright 2008 Casey June Wolf

  from the book Finding Creatures & Other Stories by C. June Wolf

  Claude and the Henry Moores by Casey June Wolf is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

  When I was young I met Knife Edge Two Piece, a bronze sculpture by HenryMoore that stands in Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver. My friends and I drummed on, vocalized into, dodged through, and play-acted with this simple, tactile, resonant, receptive piece of art. Years later I worked in Toronto at the Art Gallery of Ontario, which housed a number of large works by the same sculptor. Of all the art that hung and stood and spun in that place, the most friendly and accessible remained the Henry Moores.

  Claude and the Henry Moores

  “I was in a dream of excitement. When I rode on the open top of a bus I felt that I was travelling in Heaven almost. And that the bus was floating on the air.”

  —Henry Moore, 1921

  Claude Tubb—yes, his father had thought it was a funny name, too, and called Claude's younger sister Ivory, to boot—Claude Tubb strolled along Beverley Street en route to his first day of work at the AGO.

  He liked the sound of that. A. G. O. It was hard, no-nonsense, urban and kind of hip, which was nice because he wasn't especially hip although he should have been urban at least, having lived every minute of his life in a city. But no, Claude didn't feel especially urban, either. Nevertheless, here he was, strolling up Beverley Street en route to the AGO, which is to say, the Art Gallery of Ontario, down on Dundas Street in the beating heart of Toronto. It sort of made him feel like an artist himself, and an important one, to be working there.

  Claude turned up College Street and whistled in the crisp autumn air. He followed the walkway to the entrance, glanced down at the big sculptures there— looked to him like a weird mouth biting a big butt—and pushed his way through the glass doors. He walked past the guys in the little booths who greeted customers—patrons—and scooted on over to the changing room.

  When Claude came back out again he was in full security drag, and he knew exactly where he had to go. Click, click, click along the corridors and up and down flights of stairs until he was standing in position among the Ukiyo-e prints, all delicate and perfect behind their glass, just a few of them hung on the bald, off-white walls.

  It was brilliant, beautiful, serene. Claude was in heaven.

  A cluster of people came through and passed right by Claude as if he wasn't there. They stood looking at a print of snow-clad mountains with odd and dark, angular trees. They chattered among themselves awhile, and then moved on.

  A woman in a yellow wool jacket came in and gazed solemnly at each print in turn. She paused for a long time near a portrait of a grey kimono’d woman standing beneath a red-flowered azalea. Then she walked slowly from the room.

  So it went. Room empty, room thinly peopled, and all the while Claude standing there ignored. His crest, if he had had one, would slowly have begun to droop. His legs, his feet, and his back gradually grew sore.


  After a while Claude was moved. Another fellow took the print room and Claude walked along to the dark, lush Tom Thompson oils. Later still, the Greg Curnoe exhibit, with its flat bright bicycle and other odd things, was his to guard. Finally, the day was done. Claude wandered back to the staff room, collected his clothes without bothering to change, swooshed them up over his shoulder and walked outside. Bending over his cupped hands, he lit a cigarette. Took a long, mighty, most emphatic draw and blew it out, sad and pissed. Sighed, shrugged into his jacket, nodded goodbye to the biting mouth and back-thrust butt ("she wants it," he thought humourlessly) and went on home.

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