Lists
Adolf Konrad, "Packing List," December 16, 1963. Adolf Ferdinand Konrad papers, 1962-2002. Archives of American Art. Smithsonian Institution.

Groceries, chores, things we'd buy if we won the lottery: We love making lists.

Turns out we're not alone, as is evidenced by "Lists"--a new Morgan Library exhibit dedicated to famous artists' documented to-dos, inventories and enumerations.

Filling one room of the museum's airy second floor, "Lists" is a small but fascinating look inside the creative mind. And indeed, many of the original documents--like Modernist painter Oscar Bluemner's list of favorite color combinations or Picasso's picks for his most talented contemporaries--really do exemplify creativity.

Others, however, are delightfully everyday: Elaine and Willem de Kooning's 1954 tax documents (not their most lucrative year), Franz Klein's scrawled reminder to buy toilet paper.

Some of the lists, like H.L. Menken's "personal facts" (#25: "I drink exactly as much as I want. And one drink more.") are copiously typed. Others are handwritten or even drawn, as in the case of painter Adolf Konrad's depiction of his suitcase's contents prior to an Egyptian vacation.

But while all of the lists give insight into the life and era of their maker, the most romantic is definitely architect Eero Saarinen's reasons why he fell in love with his wife-to-be. Number 7--"because you were terribly well-organized"--seems particularly apt.

"Lists" runs through December 6 at The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Ave. (at 36 St.); 212-685-0008 or themorgan.org.

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