Lindy, Ruth, and the Calders
Lisa Key tells the story of Ruth Horwich describing the works in a Calder exhibition for Lindy Bergman, who had recently lost her eyesight.
Lynne Warren's exhibition where we highlighted the Horwich collection of Calders and sort of paralleled them to artists who are working today. And that was a very important exhibition for Ruth because it was really putting the Calders out in a way that helped everyone see their relevance to contemporary art today. And that was something that was very, very important to Ruth herself, who was a consummate collector of art across all genres and eras. She was a huge collector of outsider art. She was a huge thrifter; she loved to go to lawn sales. She saw everything as a collection that could be curated. And I know she personally was very excited and loved that exhibition. But I remember the opening night we had a dinner that Ruth heavily curated the guest list of people who came. But she and Lindy came early, as they always did. And they always arrived about a half an hour, 45 minutes earlier than the call time for any event.
And Ruth took Lindy through the exhibition and they talked about each of the works. And they talked—because at that time, Lindy had lost her eyesight. Lindy had macular degeneration. So she couldn't see the exhibition. So Ruth talked her through what she was seeing. She didn't talk it through in the way that you or I would, such as, this is blue or this is purple, but she was like, "this is the Calder that was in my living room next to the purple sofa." Because Lindy had such an innate memory of where everything was in Ruth's house, that Ruth could use where it was in her house as the descriptor for her in talking about the exhibition.
And so, you know, I heard them—I heard her reference the sofa a couple times. And it just—it made you realize, again, that this was a woman, Ruth was a woman who lived surrounded by artwork and it was part of her fiber, part of her being, and that she was very excited to share with her friend that it was now in the galleries of the MCA in this major exhibition.
And they were often found—you would often find Ruth and Lindy together in the galleries with Ruth visually—you would often find Ruth and Lindy together in the galleries with Ruth verbally telling her friend what they were seeing. And Lindy was right there with her with her, wanting to know what she was missing because of her eyesight. What better friend, I mean, could we all have a friend like that as we get into our 90s? And Buddy Mayer is also visually impaired; she also has macular degeneration. So I think we've been doing it a lot longer than anybody knows, informally.