A Simple List
December 22, 2009Margrieta van Varick
Margrieta van Varick - her name alone conjures meaning and makes associations with present day life in New York City, be it a subway stop, or a street in downtown Manhattan. The inventory leads you to the past of these well-known places in contemporary life. This video shifts the curatorial thinking about the inventory that is the cornerstone of the exhibition Dutch New York now on view in the Bard Graduate Center gallery to a discussion of its existence as a simple list, a unique source of knowledge, an essential artifact of everyday life. This is the season of lists, Christmas lists, shopping lists, lists that organize and reorder our lives. The representations of Margrieta van Varick’s things, the things she used, sold, gave to her children and left for posterity enable us to contemplate the Dutch presence in New York City, a distant past with a legacy we encounter and ignore in the haste of daily life. The history of New York City embedded in this inventory, a single list of one woman’s things, enables you to look again and think anew about who was here, how they lived, and what they left behind. What do we make of an inventory that has become an object of curatorial investigation, a means of deciphering the little known life of Margrieta van Varick, who resided in Flatbush, Brooklyn during the seventeenth century?
Chief Curator and Executive Editor, Gallery Publications