The most vivid artwork I’ve ever seen was a series of blank frames.
The first time I walked into the Dutch Room at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, I was gobsmacked. This room was the site of the most notorious art heist in history, where thirty-three years ago, two thieves disguised as police officers broke into the museum and stole half a billion dollars worth of masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Degas. I’ve never witnessed such a visceral display of the absence of art.
Listen to the song while reading the text.
I could just imagine what that morning in 1990 would have been like for one of the frames. Imagine waking up and immediately finding that you’ve been thrown to the cold hard floor. The beautiful artwork that gave you meaning and purpose has been violently torn out of you. Now, you’re forced to go back onto the wall with your emptiness on full display. And even though you know there are other frames like you out there, you can’t see them anywhere, and a feeling of profound and perpetual loneliness seeps in.
This image was the basis for my song “Frames” from my upcoming album “Scenes from an Art Heist.” The album is a meditation on the psychology of an art thief. What drives someone to such an extreme that they would callously remove a work of art from the world and create a void like the one at the Gardner Museum? Even though I have an album that I’m immensely proud of, I don’t know that I got any closer to finding the answer.
The only reason I can surmise is found in the last line of the title track:
“Did the loneliness eat you alive?”