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1000 WORDS: CY GAVIN

Cy Gavin, Untitled (George Washington’s Saxon Blue Sofa), 2020, acrylic, oil, iron fillings, teeth, and aquarelle pencil on canvas, 7' × 11' 3".

ON WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3, night three of New York City’s curfew, the mayor’s gutless try at repressing the conflagrant uprisings for Black lives, Cy Gavin and I checked in on each other.

Cy was upstate, where he’d moved a few years back to live and paint more or less as he wanted. He was excited about some paintings he was finishing and I asked if I could see them. One depicted a Saxon blue sofa that belonged to the enslaver George Washington. Cy kept him out of the picture but perched his rotting dentures on a cushion. To simulate the little brass tacks in the upholstery, he used the tip of his middle finger, dipped in paint.

The other canvas showed a bald eagle in the freezing rain, unsheltered, against a golden sky. The image belonged to no one, was just a picture in Cy’s mind’s eye. He looked at this native creature that the country enshrined and nearly annihilated, that we lampoon

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