Wednesday, April 06, 2011

laugh and the LAT poops on you

On a slow news day, some people crack lame jokes. Others pass the time by generating phony moral outrage. And then there are guys like Christopher Knight, who direct phony moral outrage at lame jokes.

Yes, Kriston Capps, John Anderson, Washington City Paper arts editor Jonathan Fischer and I
had a little too much fun musing on the unsuccessful attack on Gauguin's "Two Tahitian Women," on view currently at the National Gallery of Art in the exhibition "Gauguin: Maker of Myth." (Read my review of the show here.)

We thought: Why Gauguin? Are there other pieces that might've made better targets? Our answers were quite silly, and in no way intended to suggest that people descend on the National Mall with pitchforks and torches.

Christopher Knight at the LA Times took exception to our fun, though. My thoughts on his response are below:

The alternative tabloid proceeded to "recommend" three works in the museum's collection more suitable for trashing than the Post-Impressionist picture, which is on loan from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art to a popular traveling exhibition.

Well, that's not exactly true. I didn't say I wanted to "trash" "Graft"; I just said I wanted to live in it, and maybe do some really bad performance art up there. I don't have a problem with the piece, personally. I just like the Wizard of Oz. And oil. And yelling at people from high places.

But, you know, if as a result of my offhand silliness, dozens of weirdos in silver face paint flock to the mall with welding rigs in tow, then I guess I owe Roxy Paine an apology.

The story appears in the paper's ArtsDesk blog, not on a comedy page, where standards would probably be higher.

Sadly, this is true. The Onion would never run a regular WCP Arts Desk feature like "Far Out Vs. Hot Dang."
But I suspect the shiver that ran down the spines of every museum curator around the globe when the Gauguin story first appeared, fearing possible copycats, will get a new jolt from what amounts to water-cooler tomfoolery now posted by art critics on the Internet.

Well, actually, Christopher, I'm a full-time art curator--I do this stuff for a living. So I'm on both the "jolt" and "tomfoolery" sides of this equation.

I guess this means you're actually trying to defend me from myself here. To which I say: Thanks for the assist, but I think I can handle this guy.

Look, I get it. It's always serious business when a priceless work of art is
not in any way physically harmed. And you know what? If, as a result of our writing, another work of art somewhere should happen to not actually get damaged, either, we'll take full responsibility for that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need a curation.

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Jane said...

Goodness, isn't everyone so touchy these days. As if you were inciting a riot of art mangling. I still think your joke was funny!

8:54 PM  

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