Not Forgotten

We must learn who is gold, and who is merely gold plated.

When I was six years old, I asked my parents for a book about art for my birthday. I couldn’t articulate why I wanted to learn about art then, just that I wanted to.

Even as a child, art made me feel something bigger, something bolder. It was a conduit for understanding  beauty, symmetry, strength, grace, greatness, power.

Recently I had a staycation at Faena, arguably the most opulent, artistic, and chic hotel in Miami.


[Photo Credit]

The first thing that I wanted to do upon arrival was take a picture in front of the famous Damien Hirst sculpture outside. As visually represented by an ancient mammoth’s newly gilded skeleton,¬† “Gone But Not Forgotten” reminds the viewer of the impermanence of all things; chiefly, life and money.

Though I didn’t realize it at the time, this object would soon become a point of reflection for me in the coming day.

While I appreciated the gilded columns, Cartier panthers, and brushed-gold bones which festooned each decadent corner of Faena, their beauty was eclipsed by a more subtle, yet radiant, power.

Watching the morning sunrise on Miami Beach, as viewed from my balcony, was the highlight of my stay. A moment for me alone, just my heart and the fresh sea air and the quiet possibility of what could be.

[Oceanic AM]

What is truly gold in life does not rely on artifice or showmanship, but rather is as pure and consistent as daybreak.

It is an excited puppy who rushes to greet you after a long day, a phone call with your best friend, the sand of the beach grounding you beneath your feet.

What is gold plated can sometimes be more difficult to determine. Often you cannot see it clearly, so you have to close your eyes to hear its warning whisper.

As a student of art history, I learned all about collecting.

Some see a beautiful object and they want to possess it. They want to go to the auction floor of Sotheby’s and fight with raised hand for it. They want to hold it and own it, lock it up in a penthouse, and quell all further conversation, except when directed by their own hand.

As a student of life, I learned all about collecting.

[Lobby of Faena]

We hold truths within our bones, truths which are more valuable than any painted canvas or precious metal. These are the truths which live on as our legacy, gilded or otherwise.

How do we treat others when no one is looking?

How do we treat others when everyone is looking?

Do we fight fair, or do we drag others down in the mud for sport?

Do we empower people to reach their highest potential, or do we wish to dominate them and make them feel small?

We must learn who is gold, and who is merely gold plated.


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