|Sat, Mar 17, 2018 09:36 AM
|Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
|2004-01-23 communities |
How great thou 'Art'
|Ronnie and I love Dave Barry. He's the humor columnist who appears in each Sunday's Lexington Herald's Opinion and Ideas section. In fact one of Ronnie's Christmas presents was Dave's new book that depicts on the cover a picture of the humorist dangling in mid-air while holding on to a twig growing out of Lincoln's nose up on Mount Rushmore. The title of the book — Boogers Are My Beat. (See, I told you he was funny).|
Anyway, Barry's column this week was about one of Ronnie's pet peeves — senseless, overpriced, pretentious, art. Barry, it seems, had been to a modern art show and came away quite perplexed at the garbage being passed off as art.
"I've been to art shows like that in San Francisco," Ronnie raved as he interrupted his reading of Barry. (Ronnie reads me the column every Sunday, but this time he couldn't complete the task because his finicky mind was completely distracted by one of its every present tangents.)
"I once went to the Museum of Modern Art," he continued. "And someone had built an installation that looked like a small, low-ceiling, two-car garage that extended back about 35 feet. On a table in the rear of this dark garage was a small black and white TV that was showing something that was obviously pertinent to this artistic experience. However, getting to that TV was a challenge in that someone had placed 2'x8' boards (turned on their sides) all the way back to the TV table. It was much like stepping in between the rafters in an unfinished attic except you didn't fall through the ceiling. Of course, this made you walk with a high-stepping strut that must have looked really funny because the people who had gone in before me, and who were now on their way out, were grinning at the rest of us who were making our way in. About ten feet from the TV you became aware of a voice emanating from it that was repeating something. But it wasn't until you were about three or four feet from the TV that you saw the screen blinking the word that was being repeated — 'March . . . March . . . March . . . March . . . March.' I felt like such a fool because now I had to march back out the way I came in, only now I could grin at the other marching fools who were on their way back to the TV. And this was a big deal art show!"
I could hear Ronnie's voice getting higher, "Another guy had set up 60 or 70 identical one- foot high plastic penguins over in a corner. And you could buy this art installation for your home as a conversation piece for a couple of a thousand bucks."
I can't imagine feeling the need to generate that much conversation in my visitors. If they come to my house with nothing to talk about, I'll sit them down in front of cable TV; that only costs about $40 a month. (Or they could listen to me ramble on for nothing).
Then Ronnie brought out the big guns. He subscribes to the New Yorker magazine, and my theory is he does it just so he can fly into a rage each month when he reads the art news. This month was no exception as he furiously fumbled the pages to something he just had to show me. The article was about an artist named Howard Hodgkin (yeah, I never heard of him either). Ronnie pointed out that this guy is so well-respected in the art world that in his native England he was knighted in 1992 for his services to art. The New Yorker says (and I quote) "Anyone hunting a new Hodgkin . . . it will set you back three hundred thousand dollars!"
That's when Ronnie turned the page and showed me one of the great man's paintings. And let me tell you something folks, when my dog goes out to do her business in the rain, I have to wipe her muddy feet on a towel when she comes back into the house. And what appears on that towel is more interesting than what was on the canvas of that $300,000 dollar painting.
At that point, Ronnie flew out of the room throwing magazines and newspapers while shouting, "Where did Clyde Pack and I go wrong?"
Oh, well. I guess art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.