Thursday, October 22, 2009

Who stole the Klonopin from the Klonopin Jar?

Since no one can seem to stop talking about Damien Hirst this week (I think it was that "sharktank" article in the Times), I've decided to just go with it.  So here's yet another post about Mr. Hirst:

I was once at a student artshow where a young sculptor created a piece similar to these "medicine cabinets" of Hirst's. The artist laid out a variety of different prescription pills he or she collected from friends on top of a pedestal and tacked labels beneath each drug.  The piece was intended to be about the proliferation of psychotropic drugs, showing just how many powerful medications one could find within even a small group of close friends.  What made this work memorable, however, was that there was one pill missing.  There was an empty slot labelled "Klonopin," leading me to believe that some college student in attendance had stolen that particular pill.  The whole idea behind the work fell away, and with that one empty slot the piece became about 'who the hell stole that tranquilizer?'  The missing pill made the work the star of the show; everyone in attendance was laughing and whispering about it.  As my friends approached me I'd immediately ask, "Oh my god, did you see that someone stole the Klonopin?"

As I recount the experience, I wonder if the artist might have left the Klonopin off the work on purpose.  I guess we'll never know who stole the Klonopin, or if the whole thing was a set up, and that's what made the work interesting.

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