With this winter issue, Genesis marks the completion of its first year of publication.
It was some year. If anyone had told me that I would be interviewing one of Princeton’s leading mathematicians about the spatial properties of a gomboc, I would have said no way. But that’s exactly what I did in the spring issue of Genesis. If someone had said I would find an intriguing connection between a state assemblyman’s press release and a poem about gardening, I would have laughed. But that’s exactly what I did in the summer issue. If you had said I would be resurrecting an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story from the archives of Princeton University’s Firestone Library, I would have accused you of being delusional. But that’s exactly what happened in the fall issue.
So what’s happening in this issue? Well, the same guy who failed Art 101 at Princeton less than a decade after Frank Stella graduated found himself not only editing the Stella essay that begins on page 9, but also found himself playing with Stella’s imagery and concocting a Christmas tree with star on top for the cover. Where did that idea come from? From the good people at the Whitney Museum who — as part of the Frank Stella retrospective there now — created a “sketching tour,” in which visitors are encouraged to “look closely at works of art and create experimental sketches inspired by what you see.” According to the museum’s website, participants can “discover how Frank Stella experiments with color, shape, and size to create artworks that play with spatial illusion.”
It sounded challenging, but I tried it. Of course I was encouraged by the fact that the program was developed “specifically for kids 6 to 10 years old.” My effort is on page 1 of this issue. If you tell me there’s a 10-year-old who could do better, I would not be surprised.
One year into this adventure, there are many people to thank, but for reasons of space I will limit my gratitude to people who made a difference in this issue. Science historian Edward Tenner told me about the P and NP problem and the etching on the wall of the computer science building at Princeton. That led me to seize the opportunity when I found two chapters in the “Math Geek” book dealing with P and NP (page 14).
Arts editor Dan Aubrey alerted me to the significant discussion of Frank Stella’s undergraduate days at Princeton in the Whitney Museum’s retrospective catalogue (page 9).
And, as always, the creative people turned out to be generous people, as well. We thank all of them for making their words and images accessible to the rest of us. And if you tell me that next year will be better than this year, I won’t know what to say.
— Richard K. Rein