Every once in a great while I set aside the typical political topics I write about here for a purely personal reflection, and today I am doing just that by re-posting on what would have been his 59th birthday a tribute from three years ago to my late brother Dan.
I do not know James Ganzinger, the New York gallery owner who put this post on his blog just after Dan died in 2009, but the observations he shared will touch family and friends and the rest of you, too, because they ring so true about an unusual guy still greatly missed.
Here is a sample:
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
DAN ROWEN (1953 - 2009)
...When he walked into a space that needed his touch, a smile always played on his lips. There was a spring in his step. It was an opportunity – no matter how small or large – to do what he did best.
The last thing we did together was to solve the problem of the back room on my latest gallery space on West 24th Street. This was the smallest of small jobs – to most people of Dan’s stature it would have been well beneath them – but as a friend Dan was happy to help, and he took it on just before he was diagnosed with cancer.
His solution to a messy space littered with wall alarms, pipes, and other detritus was a seemingly simple but actually quite complex wall that moved from one side of the room into open space and in one swoop encompassed a recessed bookshelf, enlarged my storage space, hid everything ugly, and created a desk area where I now sit and work.
Of all the jobs Dan took on, I’m sure it must rank as the most insignificant – but he treated it as if it was a commission to design a new museum - and from the moment it was completed, it stood out for me as a testament to everything that was good and great about creativity, individuality, problem-solving, and friendship.