Three days ago I almost died.
I was downtown, leaving the gallery where I have my work. Kibbee sits on a quiet residential street that’s lined with cars. As my car was rolling I decided to call my sister for one of our evening chats. There was no one behind me, so I merely slowed my car to a stop to look down and press the “call log” button on my phone. After pushing call, I accelerated again and continued down the street. The whole action took less than a second.
I was speaking to my sister as I came to the four way stop. I took a right and headed toward the road to get on the interstate. Because I went through a stop sign I was still accelerating as the light for me to turn changed to green. Had I been driving full speed, had I not spent one second to push a button on my phone, I would have been in that intersection as a white Dodge Ram ran a red light doing seventy.
Three days ago, on that same day, some one I knew and respected very much did die. Long time Atlanta curator John Otte was killed in a bicycle accident in
New Orleans. This is surreal to me. This is a shocking death.
I met John only very briefly, visited only one of his brilliant art shows. In that short time, I could see that John was a warm and loving person who exuded enthusiasm about life and art, and lived an artist’s life: one that was full of beauty and meaning and, for him, camaraderie.
I was so fortunate to meet this man. I was so lucky that we bumped into each other, and that he invited me to the art show that he had curated and was in town for. I’m so glad I went.
I learned a lot from John Otte, respected him immensely, and my life only barely brushed with his. I can only imagine the multitudes of people who are grieving over the news of his death. I know there are many.
The world of art can be as muddled and confused as any other aspect of this oh-so-fragile lifetime, and his was a singular vision that was crystal clear and gorgeous.
Our lives hang in such precarious balance.
One second’s difference for me and I live. One second’s difference for him, and the world has gone a little more dark.