Jul 25, 2007

Masters of the single entendre

This poem appears on the sidewalk near the building where I work. It's very simple, some might say too simple and safe even for public art in Seatte, but I've always liked it. The idea is that art can be changed, even slowly destroyed, by its own audience. It can be as simple as a lame punchline etched in cement, subject to the ignorance and abuse of all who pass by it. Art doesn't always have to be precious or even profound, and that often makes it more beautiful.

So I'm walking to the bus stop after work, a few feet behind three amicable-looking dudes (yeah, pretty much dudes), and they notice the poem on the sidewalk:

Dude #1: "A Poem To Be Worn". How do you wear a poem?
Dude #2: I don't know. Is it supposed to be like fashion or something, maybe?
Dude #3: You just lie down on it! That's how you wear it!
(laughter)
Dude #2: No, 'cause then it would be wearing you!
(more laughter)
Dude #1: Seriously, what the hell does that even mean...?

I had to stop listening at that point, otherwise I would have torn off my own arm and clubed them to death with it.

Sigh.

Is this what art critics feel like all the time?

1 comment:

flamingbanjo said...

Just proves it was fulfilling the higher calling of all public art: to confound the ignorant.