I’m sorry but as a long time opponent of government grants to the arts in Canada this story had me imitating that awful Norwegian painting for several seconds. Come to think of it, I wonder if Edvard did this painting cause he was turned down for a fat government grant.
Thursday, February 04, 2010
Bananas Over Bush [Mark Steyn]
News from the art world:
An Argentine artist called Caesar Saëz applied to the Canada Arts Council and le Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec and was given, between the two bodies, a grant of $130,000 to create a 300-metre long flying banana that would float over Texas protesting the policies of George W. Bush.
Why Canadian taxpayers are subsidizing Argentine artists to violate U.S. airspace is a topic best left to the next Summit of the Americas.
The good news is that Señor Saëz cashed the check and skipped the country. So the banana’s whereabouts are unknown. French-speaking readers will enjoy this radio interview: “Une subvention de 128 000$ pour faire voler une banane géante au-dessus du Texas.” I particularly like the arts bureaucrats’ insistence that there’s nothing to see here (literally): The granting of public monies for the purpose of producing a particular work of art imposes no obligation upon the artist to produce the work of art. Although the artist was quite specific about the construction of the giant anti-Bush banana (a bamboo structure covered in Tyvek), he never specifically promised to make it. Therefore, its non-existence is not an issue: In taking the dough and scramming town, the artist is in full compliance with the terms of his grant.
And, as I’m sure most contemporary art scholars would assure us, the non-existing work of art becomes paradoxically a work of “performance art” (or non-performance non-art) in its own right. Failing that, he could always claim it floated off over New Mexico with a five-year-old boy inside it.