Untitled (November 9, 2013 9:49AM) (detail), by Richard Misrach, 2013. Archival pigment print, 60 x 80 inches. © Richard Misrach, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles.

States of Mind

Volume XI, Number 1 | winter 2018


A fifteenth-century Tunisian sex manual relates that “a big beard denotes a small mind” and tells of a long-bearded man who reads a quote to this effect on the back of a book. Afraid of being seen as a fool, he tries to trim his beard by setting it on fire but burns it off entirely. He then writes on the book below the quote, “These words are entirely true. I, who am now writing this, have proved their truth.”

If anything affects your eye, you hasten to have it removed; if anything affects your mind, you postpone the cure for a year.

—Horace, 20 BC