On September 23, 1943, Henry Moore revisited an air raid shelter in the London Underground and reenacted the death-defying role he had played there three years earlier, during the battle of Britain. This time, however, he stood without a pencil in his hand, and a movie crew was on the scene to establish its own ever-changing record. For that sculpture without stone, the sculptor and his models had changed into spectators of one another, living on in time after the timeless art was finished.
Somewhere aboveground, simultaneously, a white apron had draped itself over a woman’s round body. We don’t know who the woman was, or just where. The same history that confidently told Henry Moore “Alight here” places her only in a parenthesis named “(vicinity).” But next to her in (vicinity) there once did stand the flattened forms of another woman and a dog. Coursing and smiling but unbreathing, those are works of dead art.
We see the woman in white in a different way. She whom the drape conceals from our sight was capable of the adventitious. Only she could have violated art by dropping a burning cigarette into weedy space.
It has remained. Wherever (vicinity) is, a chair still awaits its white-aproned woman, rocking a little in the air pushed ahead of her arrival.