A Danish artist who was given a pile of cash by a museum in northern Denmark to create a piece for its exhibition on labor conditions two years ago submitted two empty canvases — titled “Take the Money and Run.” The exhibit caused a stir. (AP News, September 27, 2023)
Dear Sir or Madam,
I’ve just received your email asking me for feedback on your exhibition. I'm happy to oblige: shove your lousy artwork up your ass.
We visited your museum on the final day of our holiday. The ‘we’ in that sentence refers to me, my wife, Thelma, and our teenage daughter, Tallulah. We paid good money in the expectation of seeing top-quality artwork by renowned international artists. Boy, were we disappointed!
I won’t dwell too much on the blank canvases of the ‘Labor Conditions Exhibition.’ They’ve received enough attention in the media already. I just want to point out that one of them wasn’t completely blank by the time we got to see it. Someone had drawn a dick and balls in the bottom corner of canvas number one.
I told Tallulah it was a picture of Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket with side boosters, but she wasn’t fooled. She had a big smirk on her face I didn’t like. Kids, right? She knows what a real one looks like, you see. She’s even got a photo of one on her bedroom wall. Souvenir of our trip to the Kennedy Space Station a couple of years ago.
Blank Canvas Man
Here’s what bugs me. No one told us Blank Canvas Man had other works displayed in the museum. If we’d known, we’d have gone to visit the Upside-Down Building down the street instead. That was Thelma’s first choice, but I talked her out of it. She went into the Upside-Down Building in Orlando the same year we saw the space station. It triggered her vertigo. She couldn’t keep anything down and was firing out of both ends for three days.
That’s why Blank Canvas Man’s ‘Hidden Agenda’ piece in the Global Warming exhibition took us completely by surprise. It was billed as a sculpture in bronze. According to the program, ‘it articulates the artist’s view of climate change as the catalyst for global reconstruction.’ Maybe it does, and maybe it doesn’t. We’ll never know. It was covered up with a big cotton dust sheet. We asked an assistant to remove this, but we were told this was impossible, as the dust sheet was an integral part of the work. Hidden agenda, see? What a bunch of crap!
I managed to get down on one knee and sneak a look under the dust sheet while the assistant was giving out the same BS to other visitors. I saw an old upright piano with something on top of it. I’m not 100% sure, but I think it was a traffic cone. Or maybe a statue of the Virgin Mary. Hard to say given the poor light and the fact that my right knee was playing up. (I’m on the waiting list for an operation.)
Things got worse. ‘The Road Less Travelled’ exhibition — ‘reflections on unconventional lifestyles’ — consisted of several black and white photographs of deserted dirt tracks in unspecified locations. Thelma thought maybe Arizona because of the saguaros. That’s if they were saguaros. One cactus looks just like another to me, but Thelma said no, look at the white flower. I said OK, Thelma, I can see a white flower, what I can’t see is any reflection on a lifestyle, unconventional or otherwise.
The feature on extraterrestrial life titled ‘Is There Anyone Out There?’ promised ‘to promote discussion, stimulate ideas, and push the envelope on our thinking about the cosmos.’ What we got was a television in the centre of the room showing a thirty-second clip of Star Trek on a loop. I like Star Trek as much as the next man. I grew up watching Shatner, Nimoy, and Bones the doctor. That’s not his real name, but you know who I mean. Star Trek is not the point here. The point is that discussion was not promoted. Thoughts were not stimulated. Envelopes were not pushed.
In summary, the whole experience was underwhelming. Tallulah lost interest straight away. She kept asking if she could go back and look at the SpaceX rocket doodle again, but Thelma said no. I think she’d spotted the smirk, too.
We would like a full refund of our tickets. Also, our daughter bought a book in the gift shop featuring photos of classical statues. There are dicks and balls on every page. We’d like a refund for that, too, please.
I wasn’t impressed with the condition of the toilets, but I’ll save that for the TripAdvisor review.
Ralph Heckenhauer Jr.