Notes to My Younger Self From the Artist Careening Into His Dotage, Grace Unknown

Dear Frank,

Your elder self is charging into winter. To be more exact, it’s the hours that charge forward; I follow, slower and less certain. When the time comes, you’ll find me less a comet and more like Riley, the chocolate Lab Retriever who lives next door. Grey-muzzled and slightly stiff, she still — charmingly, to me — strains at the leash when pointed towards the park, splendour and lavatory calling like sirens.

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Frank Rodicklife, art, artist, time, aging
Untitled Selves

There were times I imagined myself a Nietzschean character, watching death do its dirty work—at least as it played out in ICUs and the dementia wards where ninety-year-old women played with dolls and screamed about concentration camps. But all I really managed was to keep my eyes open and take notes. I paid attention out of a shopworn sense of filial duty, exhausted curiosity, and because it dawned on me that there might be a vein worth mining in all this. Artists—I've imagined myself one of those too—can be monsters.

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On Wanting to See, the Invisible Jury, and Small Red Boxes: Notes on Making My Father's Portrait

When I look at these six images I see different things. I see the human face of time and its juxtapositions, that what looks and feels like a long life is a cipher. I see what looks like a man’s destiny and feels like a tragedy, emerging from a life left in more ways than one. I see a boy, a man, looking, for something. I wanted to see, he said. But what?  

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Frank Rodick: Interview by Emese Krunák-Hajagos

I don’t see my view as dark. It’s the world that’s dark. Not always, but when it is, and when it slams into you and yours, it’s transformative.  

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Nancy Brokaw and Frank Rodick talk about pixels, pickle-making, and the transition from analog to digital

One day, quite some time ago, I happened on a photograph of Napoleon's youngest brother, Jerome, taken in 1852. And I realized then, with an amazement I have not been able to lessen since: 'I am looking at eyes that looked at the Emperor.' (Nancy Brokaw, quoting Roland Barthes)  

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Everything Will Be Forgotten

A couple of years after finding the photos of my mother, I found more old photographs—small beaten up prints. They show me as a child, maybe four years old, standing naked in a bathtub. My father—it must have been my father—had taken them over half a century ago.  

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