In the Green Room

Art Historian Martin Schwarz

Winter In Chicago Beats Winter In L.A.?

Martin Schwarz

Art historian Martin Schwarz curated the Getty Museum exhibition “Heaven, Hell, and Dying Well: Images of Death in the Middle Ages” before moving to the University of Chicago. Before participating in a panel on what images of death and the afterlife say about a culture, he professed his admiration for Thomas Aquinas, Dante, and L.A.’s highways in the Zócalo green room.


Q:
If you could have a beer with one person living or dead, who would you choose?

A:
Right now I think I would choose Thomas Aquinas. He’s somebody I’m currently working on, and he’s an incredibly fascinating person. I think I would like to know why he never finished his Summa Theologica.

Q:
What’s your favorite cliché?

A:
My favorite cliché is just so wrong—that L.A. is superficial.

Q:
What do you miss most about Los Angeles?

A:
I would have said the weather, but the winter was so nice in Chicago that I actually thought the winter I spent here was less pleasant than the winter I spent in Chicago. I miss the highways; I miss driving. I don’t have a car in Chicago.

Q:
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A:
A pathologist.

Q:
What’s your go-to karaoke song?

A:
“Strada del Sole” by Rainhard Fendrich.

Q:
What’s your specialty in the kitchen?

A:
Palachinka. It’s basically a crepe, just an Austrian version, which is not that different from the French one. A crepe with Nutella.

Q:
What’s your hidden talent?

A:
I forget everything that’s unnecessary very quickly.

Q:
What’s your favorite museum?

A:
I’m biased, so I have to say the Getty.

Q:
Where did you go on your last vacation?

A:
I was on a boat sailing from New York to Halifax. That’s why I’m so tan.

Q:
If you could speak a language that you don’t already speak, which would you choose?

A:
Italian, so I could read The Divine Comedy in the original.


*Photo by Aaron Salcido.
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