Put on a Happy Deface
I like art.
Painting, sculpture, decorated vases, tapestries … wandering through a museum taking in thousands of years of imaginative expression relaxes and rewards the soul. It connects us to our past. It inspires us to our own creative heights.
We all enjoy some works of art more than others. Among painters, for example, surrealists have a special place in my eye and in my heart, perhaps because their images echo my typical dreams.
Many pieces, however—including many more “abstract” ones—don’t excite me. Those works I often decide not to look at.
Others choose to stick gum on them.
At Detroit’s Institute of Arts, a 12-year-old boy—to whom I tip my hat for his direct approach—passed judgment on Helen Frankenthaler’s “The Bay” with a wad he was chewing. Now the museum’s prized $1.5 million acquisition has new character and charm: a quarter-sized splotch of gum residue.
While chemical experts debate which solvent to employ to save the painting, the boy has been suspended from his charter school, disciplined by his parents, and left to chew over alternative means to express his views of art.
But instead of punishing the lad, perhaps we should praise him.
Here’s a take-charge kid who recognizes inferiority—and rectifies it without remorse. With one stroke, he added depth and meaning to a work of abstract art. We could use more people like him to act boldly when duty calls.
I urge you all to join his cause and help make the world’s museums more entertaining for us all. Here are some fine places for you to start:
Michelangelo’s sculpture of David. It’s high time to make this famous naked man’s member more worthy of association with the name used pseudonymously by humorist bloggers. Rip off that little thing off, and attach a gargantuan schlong to more accurately represent Davids everywhere.
Van Gogh’s Starry Night. A beautiful painting, no doubt. But where are the aliens, descending upon our planet to enslave, anally probe, and eventually devour us? Artists have ignored the extraterrestrial threat for far too long. Somebody please, for the love of humanity, step up and add some spaceships and laser beams to this inaccurate, all-too-peaceful scene.
Picasso’s Guernica. You probably recall this rendering of the horrors of the Spanish Civil War. Twisted bodies, gruesome faces, misplaced limbs … in other words, just like most of Pablo’s work. Why not take the violence up a notch, and smear some fresh blood across the canvas to really bring the point home?
Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Rub that smirk off her face, ending once and for all the enduring speculation about the thought lurking behind her sly grin. Let’s give her a reason to smile—fill the foreground with the appropriate appendage of an Italian Renaissance hunk.
I suggest the new, anatomically correct David.