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|Lloyd Schoeneman, 1951-2001|
|News/Features - In Memorium|
|Tuesday, 21 August 2001 18:00|
Much will undoubtedly be said about what a gifted and popular arts administrator Lloyd Schoeneman was, his many years of service to Quad City Arts, and his dedication to raising the profile of art in this community.
What follows is a more personal reminiscence.
Lloyd was one of the first people I met when I came to town, about 10 years ago. I heard about him right away; it seemed like everyone said we should meet, and we did. I designed a wonderful sign and a disgraceful awning for the Quad City Arts building, where he worked. I thought it was cool that he had a real art job, and he admired my paintings. He was handsome, hilarious, and inordinately proud of his baby daughter. Amelia would always be notably exempt from his surgical wit, but few others were spared.
Lloyd could spot a schmuck or a fraud at 100 paces; his opinions on everything were glittering jewels. He certainly didn’t spare himself, and we argued more than once when he cast doubt on his own authenticity. We came of age at the same time, when suffering was thought to be crucial to the making of art. He just wasn’t suffering enough, and he fretted from time to time. So there you go: He had the tortured soul of an artist; he knew how to turn a blue sky gray. And like most of us, he thought he should be making more, risking more.
Parties lasted longer and people got sillier when Lloyd was around. He imparted a tinge of hysteria to the most commonplace events. I don’t recall him wearing a lamp shade; it was the light bulb in his head that made us laugh. He was such a brilliant raconteur, and so quick, that I often suspected I bored him.
He was a fixture on the Rock Island plaza at lunchtime, preferring to sit on a ledge with something he brought from home and a New York Times. He would bestow trippy non sequiturs on friends and acquaintances, and get back to his paper.
Two weeks ago I brought him a book of pictures. He was, as he put it, “lying in state,” with the Cubs game on a portable television. An enlarged snapshot of his daughter was positioned to be constantly in his view. I felt bad about interrupting the Cubs, but he was gracious. On the flyleaf of my picture book I had written, “Absurdity has always been our refuge and our strength.” He laughed at that and asked if he could steal the line for his thank-you cards. He insisted on going through every picture in the book, and commented on them all. About one, he observed that “the empty space in the middle really punches it out.” The empty space was actually the subject, a white dog. He knew he was dying. He told me morphine was a disappointment – no visions, just banal repetitions, like dreaming that he’d gotten out of bed that morning.
So now there is an empty space where once there was a Lloyd. A comical Lloyd, a brilliant Lloyd, an unfinished work, Lloyd the acerbic voiceover, Lloyd the husband and father, Lloyd the pal, Lloyd the authentic artist, Lloyd the baseball fan, Lloyd the quick, the one-and-only Lloyd.
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