Tuesday, December 2, 2014

No college?

In The New York Times today, an article about Maurice Sendak’s estate. Lynn Caponera, Sendak’s housekeeper and caretaker, heads a foundation established by Sendak and is one of his executors:

Recently she decided to withdraw more than 10,000 original artworks Mr. Sendak had lent over decades to the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia, where many assumed the bulk of his work would remain. The works are now headed back here, to a house museum being planned by the foundation, a decision that some are questioning. They are also expressing concerns about the ability of Ms. Caponera, 54, who did not attend college and has no formal business training , to shepherd a complex philanthropic foundation worth tens of millions of dollars. [My emphasis.]
I think it’s worth pointing out that Maurice Sendak too did not attend college and had no “formal business training.” It was Sendak who chose Caponera as executor and foundation president. And it’s Sendak’s will that stipulates the creation of a house museum in what one publishing person calls “the middle of nowhere.”

Someone always knows better, right? But people are capable of making their own choices, even if they never went to college.

[“The middle of nowhere”: Ridgefield, Connecticut, fifty-odd miles from Manhattan.]

comments: 1

Anonymous said...

Julianna Aucoin's essay appears in the "political review," as she says, "students need the time—time to learn, time to consider, and time to fashion their own opinions." One wonders what a political review is when the plea comes from a student seeking "time" to fashion an opinion from a curriculum which hasn't such time.

The second comment to the article is amusing, which reads, "So don't worry -- you still have the rest of your life to do for yourself what Harvard failed to do for you."

You note in another post that Sendak and his executor experienced "no college." Perhaps the pathway which big universities are traveling is making them largely irrelevant to a life of art as was Sendak's or to the needs of leading a foundation in the "middle of nowhere" which you aptly note is a short fifty miles from Manhattan.

In earlier years I lived and worked in Manhattan and will tell you being in the middle of that borough can also seem like the middle of nowhere at times. It is amusing to note the canon of literature being taught and studied is also in the middle of nowhere, when one thinks some upper crust university is the center of the universe and that a political review is the forum to notice the buffeting winds of trendy politics being applied to a white whale tale.

A rose can sometimes be a rose and still smell as sweet. Was anything like that ever written about a political review? Thanks for referencing Aucoin's essay. It is a revolutionary thing to do.