His evolving resume: newspaper clippings and his own, oft-edited penmanship piled one on top of another until the document wears out.
The most affecting lists may come from Finnish-born architect Eero Saarinen, who designed the TWA terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
One ticks off his wife Aline Bernstein's finer qualities, one by one, around the time of their wedding. Bernstein, then an art editor and critic at the New York Times, is both "handsome" and "beautiful," not to mention "perceptive" and "terribly well organized."
A Saarinen to-do list that includes a host of projects, "done" and "half-done" — one of them the renovation of his own home — was written just 16 days before he died.
The lists' emotional register is a reminder that even our most mechanical tools cannot blot out the human impulse.
Modernist painter Hans Hoffman ran the Hans Hoffman School of Art in New York City and a summer school in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He was a strong-willed teacher who trained some of the greatest painters of the 20th century: Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, and Mark Rothko among them.
But his list, "About the relations of students and teachers," suggests he could not always bend his students to his will: "1) What a teacher should know from the beginning: there is always an apostle who would deny his master."'Artist/Rebel/Dandy: Men of Fashion,' April 28-August 18
Kate Irvin and Laurie Brewer, co-curators of "Artist/Rebel/Dandy," say they are not out to rescue the dandy, but to present a fuller picture of him. We'll take them at their word. But it's hard not to see something redemptive in their project.
The dandy — a self-conscious, well-dressed man who first appeared in late 18th-century England — is often dismissed as a shallow and self-absorbed figure of little consequence.
And that caricature will be represented in the exhibit; indeed, the curators tell the Phoenix the exaggerated image of the dandy — and the dandy's reaction to that image — is an integral part of the story. "Is the dandy a real person?" asks Irvin, or "is the dandy more of a fantasy?"
Still, if that's an open question for Irvin and Brewer, the dandy's significance is not. They see a person of real intelligence and real rebellion — right up to the present-day hipster, who wears his grandfather's wool, bespoke suit in opposition to our disposable culture.
This focus on the actual men who wear the clothes sets "Artist/Rebel/Dandy" apart from other shows on men's fashion.
Here is a banyan the Prince Regent wore before he ascended to the throne as King George IV. Here is a shirt that Oscar Wilde sent out for cleaning just before he died. Here is a suit worn by author Tom Wolfe.
But the two central characters in the show — which will incorporate prints, photographs, and fashion blogs alongside the clothing — are Beau Brummell and Richard Merkin.
Brummell, a late-18th-century and early-19th-century figure who was a friend of the future King George IV, was the prototypical dandy — a free spender and arbiter of men's fashion who claimed to take five hours to dress each day.
Guy Hills (by Geordie)
But Brummell, if lavish in personality, did not dress flamboyantly. He tended, instead, to the reserved and perfectly tailored; his clothing a challenge to our narrow conception of the dandy.