I have pretty much “done it” with every artist in this town, so I’ve tried to keep my nose (and other non-rotted body parts) clean when it comes to the topic of the “Big A.” But recently there’s been a little street scuffle amongst the “pipe and beret crowd,” and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to stick my “BFA” into the affair.
In case you missed the 10,000 posters per square inch downtown, there’s an “urban” show at Duke’s Nasher Museum of Awt right now. As a publicity stunt, they’ve festooned two sides of buildings in the city center with large lists of names:
According to the offical apology, “This work, in a straightforward way, presents a list of names of people who have contributed to positive social change in the world and in North Carolina.”
All fine and good, but hold on—in the best street fightin’ tradition, a local artisan has thrown down a xerox-toned gauntlet.
Stapled to telephone poles in the vicinity of the “Basquiat meets Helvetica billboards” is a tract that, in a decidedly unstraightforward way, calls “culture caca” on the whole deal. (Click photo to get the whole unvarnished truth)
I have to admit that I have no idea what it means—I leave the interpretatin’ of art to those with more pointy heads. But I do know that the response artwork must be pretty valuable, because them screeds was up for a couple of days, then all got snatched down quicker than an old garage sale flyer. Touchy!
But it got me wondering—what’s so bad about that list that got old Tom Paine, Jr. so upset? Could the honor roll of postive change-makers for North Carolina and Planet Earth be that bad? I mean, “celebrity thugs”? “Scalawag separatists”? I don’t know—it looks okay to me.