Monday, December 7, 2009

Art Theft

There are two imposters pretending to be art that invariably send me out the door screaming.

Both of these "forms are hustles and con jobs and it is always amazing how the glitterati continue to fall for these scams.

The first is anything that calls itself "Video Art."

I don't believe in such a critter.

Television came to our house with Ed Sullivan and the World Series when I was about 12.

It has changed and grown, but it is still what it has always been - an amusement box.

This morning as I surface the first 57 cable channels while waiting for Computer Boy to warm hisself up, I found 53 commercials and some other mindless odds-and-sods.

From this, you want to show me something clever sitting at the end of a room in an art gallery and call it art?

No. I don't think so.

The second Leopard with stripes in the Emperor's New Clothing World of Art is called "Installation Art."

My all-time favorite experience with this abortion happened a few years ago in the San Fransisco MOMA, or Museum of Modern Art.

Beautiful building, great cafe and some not bad art, scattered here and there.

At one point I entered a very spacious, round room filled with people.

Quiet people.

Silent people.

They were gathered in a circle and they were all staring I would say religiously, reverently at something in the middle of their circle.

The "something" of their devotion was a circle of poodles.

Black wool plush hand-made toy poodle dogs, each standing about two and a half feet tall.

The poodles were in circles themselves about 10 deep, all staring blank button-eyed at something special in the empty centre of the circle.

Lying on the floor in the middle of the room, in the centre of the many circles of toy poodle dogs and adoring guests was a very cheap, very ugly toy dolly.

She looked like she cost about $3.95.

I looked at this macabre scene for a moment, wondered briefly if the drones-disguised-as-human-beings had also been placed there for my special amusement and then...

Then, I burst out laughing shattering the observant silence like crystal.

I roared.

I laughed and laughed and then said very loudly on exit, "You folks have got to be kidding!"

I mention all of this because we here in Vancouver have now been blessed with a very pricey piece of public "installation art."

Here is the description taken from yesterday's Globe:

"Public art can be high-minded and it can simply be, well, high. Vancouver's newest work of public art - to be unveiled tomorrow - spans 16 floors of the not-yet-open Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, starting on the fifth floor (which is actually the fourth). Created by internationally renowned British artist Liam Gillick, the text-based work wraps around parts of the south and east-facing exterior, rising to the 22nd floor. On each floor the title of the work is spelled out in 60-centimetre-high stainless steel letters: Lying on top of a building the clouds looked no nearer than when I was lying on the street. There are no spaces between the words."

Now, why should you arr I care about this silliness?

Here's why we should care a lot:

"The $1-million installation is part of Vancouver's public-art program."

Dare we count the urgent needs that have been de-funded and underfunded and never funded at all here in this perfect of all worlds?

Do you understand that some very powerful and very obscure mandarin at City Hall has recommended this obscene waste of taxpayers' money and that some elected officials have bought into it?

Oh, yes.

Those of us who see through this sham will be hailed loudly as boors and philistines.

So be it.

This is a crime.

Can no one stop it or punish the guilty?

Balance Please

In a nicely balanced editorial, the Globe has captured the frustration that many Canadians feel about the courts hamstringing the police.

It seems an almost daily occurrence that the police will nab some fool with guns and/or drugs and then be told that they had no business even questioning, let alone arresting the crook.

Due process and protection of privacy, yes.

But giving the bad guys a pass on the most spurious and arcane reasoning, no.

Quote of the Day

Forty-year old quarterback Brett Favre, asked if he felt his joining the Minnisota Vikings team after a legendary run with the Green Bay Packers had caused a "schism," replied,

"You know after I quit drinking about 10 years ago, I took up cross word puzzles and now I do them every day."