Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I think we all have heard the guy standing behind us in the museum saying, “my five year old could paint that,” or, if he is feeling particularly saucy, “my dog, Butterscotch, could paint that.” Tragically, if Butterscotch did paint that, it would probably sell for more than many most living artists will ever see. This is acceptable to my bruised psyche after persuading myself that Butterscotch is actually contemplating String Theory as she looks at me with those big eyes and so she really is expressing her genius in those paw prints and splatters of paint. That being said, I was not surprised to find that there is a museum dedicated to animal art (the Museum of Non-Primate Art). However, I was surprised to learn that there is a wing in that museum devoted to bird art. These pieces are not scratchings or seed strewn cement slabs, but rather they are fecal masterpieces. In a crossbreed of Jackson Pollock, de Saint Phalle, and a Spin Art activity center, these preserved piles of excrement apparently demand high prices. I am not sure if I find this funny, inspiring, or depressing (about how I feel when I open an issue of Modern Painters, anyway). I guess it is an ultimate time lapse piece to frame one’s windshield after a coast to coast road trip, with every bug splat and bird leaving boldly stating, “OMG, car!!!” Still, did you know that there are criteria for judging a bird dropping? Each delightful pile can be reduced to basic topographical analysis with added points for irregular shapes and clustering. There is beauty and truth in that poo. It does make sense in a way; I mean, aren’t we at our most honest and raw moments at the loo? I think the take away message from all this is that before you flush it down…. take a closer look… what is that floating there… is that… is that…. GENIUS??

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