Chicago Instagram residency, days 4 & 5: Chicago flashback and my mood board

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This is Caleb Crain, author of the novel "Overthrow," which comes out tomorrow from @VikingBooks. My husband says that people on the internet like mood boards, so here are some art postcards that hang over my writing desk. Above the bulletin board is a reproduction of Wilhelm Bendz's painting "Interior from Amaliegade with the Artist's Brothers," which I scissored out of the New York Times when it was reproduced there a few years ago. On the bulletin board proper, clockwise, from top left, and then snaking into the middle are postcards of the following: Frédéric Bazille's "Le Pêcheur à l'épervier," Jean-Étienne Liotard's "Trompe-l'oeil," Nicolas Poussin's "A Dance to the Music of Time," Félix Vallotton's "La Manifestation," Thomas Jones's "A Wall in Naples," Giovanni Bellini's "St. Francis in the Desert," Richard Diebenkorn's "Cityscape #1," William Scott's "Mackerel & Bottle," Claude Monet's "Les Roses," Luigi Ghirri's "Capri," a photo that I took of the Tower of London, and a medieval manuscript page with an illustration of a barge, taken from a Book of Hours made in Ghent in about 1480. I bought the Vallotton postcard at an exhibit of his work at the Grand Palais in Paris in 2013, about a year after I started writing "Overthrow," and we ended up using the image on the novel's dust jacket!

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A ticket to Stalin’s monument

An admission ticket to an art installation inside Stalin's monument, 1990

An admission ticket to an art installation called “Totalitarian Zone,” which was held inside the pedestal of what was once Stalin’s monument in Prague. Dated 18–31 October 1990. I’m pretty sure that’s the space shuttle.

There’s a lovely poster for the same event on the Facebook page of Linhart’s Foundation, which was one of the event’s producers. My thanks to the translator Alex Zucker for pointing the poster out to me.

If this image were included in an extra-illustrated binding of the novel Necessary Errors, it might follow page 177. (For an explanation of extra-illustration, click here.)

Surprise on board?

Celebritycruise

“How will it affect you?” this ad for Celebrity Cruises asks. It ran in the New York Times this past Sunday, and I tore it out because I thought the statue looked somewhat familiar. The delicate nose nestled against the right shoulder, the dimple over the left hip, the outward curl of the lower spine . . .

There are more than six known copies of the Sleeping Hermaphrodite in the world’s museums, according to the catalog of the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme in Rome, which has one. (So does the Galleria Borghese, also in Rome, but the picture above is from the website of the Louvre, whose version has a sort of quilted mattress; the towel in the original, you will observe, is somewhat differently placed, and is not in fact terry-cloth.) Looking from the statue’s left, you see what appears to be the figure of a woman, but when you walk around to the other side, the story abruptly changes.