Family self-portrait by photorealist Robert Bechtle on the sixth floor of the new Whitney Museum.
The little blond girl is my friend Anne. We grew up together in Berkeley, California, though by then Robert and Anne's mother had separated.
I had a habit for many years of cutting off slices of my life: making a radical change, moving away, and disconnecting from my past. I did this out of habit, out of excitement for a new idea that required a new self-identity, and as a way to obliterate a past that was too chaotic or too painful to consciously handle. As a result I have lost touch with everyone I grew up with.
Seeing a friend in a museum painting of a photograph reminds me of a memory of a memory I had almost forgotten about.
Robert Bechtle, '61 Pontiac, acrylic on canvas, 1968-1969.