Thursday, October 10, 2013

This is why we can't have nice stuff!

People gripe about funding for the arts.  It’s all touchy-feely, hippie crap, am I right?  And by that I mean, you think money spent on the arts is like tossing cash into the crapper, for as much good as it offers the world at large. 

Well, it’s harder for me to convince you of the fallacy of that argument when a recent city-wide all night arts festival offered the following “pieces”:

“An artist/poet silently wanders the financial district completely covered in Velcro-like hooked burdock seedpods accompanied by two assistants and a docent.”

“Two driverless luxury sedans circle each other in an endless figure eight, teetering on the verge of collision but never quite doing so.”

“Participants spin a wheel of fortune to select questions that are put to a 12-foot tall child oracle who offers answers privately over headphones.  These relatively benign proceedings are made menacing by the vengeful spirit of an even larger inflatable hanging spider exploring the night as the locus of imaginary fears.”

“A photography professor hoists personal messages about emotional states up a flagpole.”

“Celebrate Toronto’s squirrel population with knitted and felted portraits.”

“Wearing a soft sculpture made of stuffed toys, an artist wanders the area hugging passersby.”

“A 12-hour-long sentence made of 12,000 proverbs from around the world is read from the church pulpit.”

Don’t get me wrong.  The existence of this art is not my issue.  Calling it art isn’t even my issue.  It’s whether or not I, as a taxpayer, paid for any of the above.  Do I know for a fact that any of the above received any manner of public funding?  I do not.  Who is to be the judge of what is art and what is not, and thereby what is “worth” being funded – me?  I don’t really think so.  So what am I saying is the solution?

Well, art doesn't have to have a solution, does it?  Art can simply be about expressing or eliciting an emotional state or reaction.  It can be successful by simply instigating the discussion.  So consider this post my art *. 

[* No taxpayer was harmed – or fleeced – in the creation or execution of this art.]