O.K., hereís the rest of the article. Despite itís semi-famous
art school, this town is full of some of the most gawd-awful
public art that you will ever have the misfortune of smelling.
Richmond is pocked with it, and I am here to ridicule the
most mediocre of this dubious collection. So let us start with
the endless procession of Fascist slave owners
that adorn every corner of this live-in-the-past
with-your-head-up-your-ass kinda town. Itís a free country
and I respect your right to celebrate your "heritage".
So please respect my right to say that you are full of shit! Why are you so
proud of a heritage that kidnapped millions of human beings
from their homeland, placed them in perilous bondage, and
then proceeded to sell and enslave them. Maybe you need to
have that happen to your family. Lets see if you sing the same
tune after your Mom is hauled off by a bunch of
club-wielding drunks. So donít give me that shit about it
being about your heritage. If thatís true then how come there
arenít a bunch of statues of doctors and lawyers,
musicians and transexuals? DONíT LIE. Those are statues to a war
you wish youíd won that was waged to keep other people in
chains. So hereís my proposal to rid our town of some truly offensive
(and bad) public art--take those statues of Lee, Jackson, and all their rascist,
Fascist,murderous brethren, bulldoze them, melt them into slag, and build a huge statue of
Hitler. If weíre gonna build a monument to hate, lets make it a doozy...
Still, black people shouldnít worry about all those honky
metal men. After all, doesnít the black
community have adequete sculptural representation of some of their best and brightest? Like that Arthur
Ashe statue.....Arthur AAAAAAAAAAAShe! Iíve seen a lot of bad art in my time...I went to V.C.U.
for gawdsakes! Since then, Iíve made a career out of it. But that is absolutely the most confusing
and just plain stupid-looking piece of matter Iíve ever had the joy of ridiculing. A friend of mine
took his kid to see it and ask the childís opinion. I quote the wisdom of Yar, age 10-- "It looks like
heís hitting them". And he is. An unsmiling Ashe lifts his racket/club on high, luring
the children in with a stack of anonymous books (gay porno). In vain they raise
their arms to sheild themselves from a volley of blows that only a Wimbeldon champion could
deliver. What does Pasquale, the artist behind this cultural monstrosity, have against
Arthur Ashe anyway, that he would portray him as a pummeler of the young?
Iíve got news for you Pasquale--children are AFRAID of that sculpture, and
everybody else thinks it sucks, especially the black people that it is supposed to honor.
And why his strange prediliction for statues of pissed-off ethnic types?
Pasquale did the big indian at the Diamond--a cool piece of work but that
proud brave doesnít look too happy to be there. In fact it looks like heís about one inning away
from animating, breaking free, and devouring every season ticket holder he can get his mits on.
Itís hard to imagine a more condescending and and
insulting racial stereotype than George Lucasís
intergalactic Stepiní Fetch, Jar-Jar Binks. But nevertheless
it does exist, right here in our fair-to-middling city...
right kids, Iím talking about the Bojangles statue in
Jackson Ward. Itís bad enough that itís also the name of a
famous chicken restaurant (but Dave, black folks LOVE
chicken) and that the statue literally looks like it was made
of shit, but enough is enough. Thinking about that statue
makes me pray for a race war. Then we can get everything
out in the open, burn everything down and start over again,
with the Earth ruled by a benevolent race of alien
tree-sloth people. I wonder what young black people who
have just turned off Monument Avenue think when they
arrive in front of their communities cultural icon. I bet they
are PISSED. In fact, I got jumped one time less than a
block from that thing. Look, Iím not saying that Bojangles
was evil or an Uncle Tom or even remotely related to the Huxtables. But when
young black people look to the streets to see how they stack up against the Great
Southern Death Cult, they get the almost deliberately insulting depictions of Ashe
and Bojangles. And before I get bum-rushed , I donít mean to even suggest that
these men are not deserved of honor--they certainly are. But itís way past time
young black people were encouraged to do something other than dance or hit balls
for the entertainment of white people.
NEXT! O.K., hereís a hard one. Itís fun to ridicule
people youíll probably never meet, but when you
actually know somebody that created a piece of
art that screams "vandalize me", things can get a
little sticky. So I dive in. Iím sorry, Ed Trask!
I respect your work and the time and effort that
goes into it. Itís very gratifying to see one of your
peers do well. But that painting of Lady Di is
HORRIBLE, and the nose is even worse.
I hope he got paid money, and a lot of
it, and he painted that
nose as a silent protest against this perversion of
his God-given gift. I can understand that, I mean
one time I got paid 300 dollars to wrestle
Dirtwoman (local infamous fat as shit transvestite/retard thing).
Seeing this painting almost caused me to
wreck my car. I mean, is that her before
or after the accident? Or after her split decision with Mike Tyson? And why do we
feel the need to honor foreign royalty--I mean what was that whole revolution thing
about? When the Royal Suckle-Mother of Upper Togoland loses her hangnail, do
we spackle the floodwall? Oh, thats right, weíre a Commonweath. That whole
thing pissed me off anyway. People who get in drunken car wrecks are generally
reviled in the press, whether they deserve it or not. But just because Lady Di is
Princess, she gets treated like royalty! And I have to be reminded of it every time I
go to Shockoe Bottom. As if I needed another reason to stay away from that shithole.
Richmond is simply awash in
mediocre painters that make Ed look like freakiní
Van Eyck. These shambling horrors have polluted our psyche to the point that the
General Assembly is actually debating banning all forms of expression except for
macremeí. Because of the efforts of these pointless yet demanding air-takers, the
definition of the word "art" is being changed to "whatever meaningless drivel I can
slop onto a canvas (or maybe a shit-smeared piece of rotten plywood) in order to
justify my meaningless existence and maybe get a scrap of pot, a cup of coffee, or
into your pants."
gonna end soon. I know itís bitter, but Iím always looking for a way to lash
at this town. Maybe itís because they ran Howard Stern off the air, or the fact that
my band, GWAR, hasnít been able to play a decent-sized club in years because of
the local ABC Nazis. Maybe itís because Richmond sucks. Forgive me, but Iím
trying to be honest. When I see something I hate I have the right to hate it out loud.
I do love, but this article isnít about love. Itís about hate, my hate, and what to do
with it so I donít go nut-log. When I see shit being tolerated, or even worse praised,
that is blatantly offensive CRAP I simply have to take one. And on the subject of
crap, we are led to our last and greatest piece of really bad public art. Drum roll
please....and the winner is...The Office Supply Rental mural over there at Broad
and Belvedere! YUCK.
To say that this work is a piece of garbage is to give it more credit than it deserves.
To say that it is shit is to imply it actually qualifies as shit. First off, they ruined a
perfectly cool piece of art that had been on the side of that building for a couple
years, and probably arrested those responsible (Iím sorry, your art isnít bad enough
to be viewed by the Richmond public). But what the hell is that thing? What are
those blobs? A tribute to excrement? What is this, the Crapple-Dumpling Gang?
And then there are the portraits along
the sides. They are so poorly rendered that it
is impossible to recognize the faces, even with the aid of the arrogant message
painted next to it. And the selection of people--Iím sorry, Iím just a little confused.
Robert E. Lee and Harriet Tubman? Edgar Allen Poe and Bruce Lee?
Afrika Bambatta and Freddy Mercury ?
Didnít anybody check out the rough
sketch?Can I please run screaming
down the street now? Or can we just burn the building down?
Please somebody explain, or help, or send money, because it hurts me to look at
it, and I have to look at it every day. In a town of really bad public art, it
crawls shins and toenails beneath them all. And what can I do to fight
back in the name of goodness and light? Crouch in my sunless bunker,
hunkered down behind my malevolent mouse, ready to pour forth in vicious
diatribe against that which would offend mine eye. This is my right, my
quest--let there be consequence to the application and execution of bad art,
let it be attacked, and defiled, and for those guilty, let them be punished, in
public, ridiculed, and chastised! All in the name of evolution. Farewell, or not
Thanks to Kristen Walsh for photographs
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