The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Friday, December 12, 2003

Tim Blair linked to this tempest-in-a-teapot story which took place in Eureka, California. Eureka is one of my favorite places to visit in California. It has cool foggy weather, beautiful scenery, wonderful bed-and-breakfast Victorians, the fantastic 301 restaurant. (My wife and I have played a total of four bridge sessions there and have won 0.9 masterpoints -- are we experts or what?)

The Redwood Art Association held an exhibition in Eureka. One hundred ninety-four works of art were displayed, and second place was awarded to this presentation of the "Bush lied -- people died!" theme:

Chuck Bowden's picture, The Tactics of Tyrants Are Always Transparent ...

In the 28cm by 35cm drawing, a crown and halo-topped Bush stands on a grave, his hand dripping with blood as bodies fall to the ground from the World Trade Centre towers in the distance.

Click that link and look at the picture. It is terrible. Even the worst hack cartoonist is usually able to make the target of his ridicule recognizable, but not in this case -- without the article's helpful explanation, I would have come to the conclusion that the artist was really angry at some ten-year-old boy.

Also, check out the horizon behind the falling towers. There's some lettering which I assume is meant to say "Permanent Wars". But the end of "Permanent" is obscured, so what is visible reads "Perm Wars". Kill the bleached blondes! Lift high the banner of Clairol!

The puerile junior-high alliteration of the title is most sophisticated thing about the painting. The excessive symbolism, the obsessive cursive script that surrounds the image (squint at the lower left corner and you can see the word "cabal") -- everything indicates that the painter is a half-crazed crank.

The painting was pulled from the exhibit, though not because of its political content:

David Ploss, president of the Redwood Art Association, insists that Bowden's work was not censored. He said the decision to pull the piece from the display was a matter of money.

"It did not get displayed because of insurance issues. It had nothing to do with the content of the work," Ploss said.

Bowden priced his work at $47,400, far exceeding the average cost of the other 193 works on display, which were covered by a total insurance policy of $193,226, according to the Humboldt Arts Council.

Ploss said the association asked Bowden for an appraisal of his art's worth, or receipts from prior sales of similarly priced art. Bowden produced neither and Ploss said the financial risk of showing the work became too great.

Ladies and gentlemen: Forty-seven large! By the way, how would you feel if you were the creator of one of the 192 works that were judged worse than Bowden's drivel?



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