To my utter amazement,
Tass took up my offer to visit Australia. My husband helped arrange an itinerary for her
that included a couple of public lectures and a short-term contract at the National
Gallery of Victoria. She was the kind of woman that Melbourne doesn't often see the likes
of. She made quite an impression with her spiky blond hair and silk wardrobe. Melbourne
gave her the attention which she felt was lacking in New York.
I remember a scene at an
opening at the South Yarra Galleries. My husband had introduced her to a young abstract
painter, much lauded at the time. In a fairly abrasive manner, she began to present her
views on abstraction. Heads adjacent to the conversation tilted in the direction of this
sharp American voice. After she finished speaking, Tass looked to the young man for some
response. He shuffled a little and then asked her what she thought were the Manhattan
galleries that would be interested in Australian work. It seemed a pity that there wasn't
a real interaction opening up for Tass in Melbourne. The audience for her public lectures
seemed more interested in her as a New York art writer than as someone with a message.
Tass seemed quite taken with my story. She used to say that I'd been orphaned by
philosophy, but I might be able to find decent foster parents in art. Looking back, I can
see I felt some responsibility to Tass for her efforts on my behalf.