Joy, oh joy. Tra la, tra la. It's another election year. Nothing holds quite the promise of thrills and excitement as the up coming months and months of watching highly paid adults fmd new sophisticated ways to call each other a butthead. How can a person possibly feel down when endless political ads and yard signs will brighten the rest of their year? Not only does the thought make a gal almost perky, but why not seize the opportunity and use it to band together as artists and shove around our considerable clout to force the candidates to take a stand on the really big issues facing us in our endeavors. No, I'm not talking about the NEA funding stuff - let someone else figure that out. I meau the other issues I often hear my fellow artists talk often about. If it's important to us, then shouldn't we vote for people brave enough to state what they believe? I, for one, not only want to know what the political hopefuls plan to do for us, but I also want to know the 1996 politically correct way to say "wuss".
So Mr./Ms. Politician, do you have the courage to state what you feel is the proper way to polish black soapstone? For over five symposia I have witnessed private conversations in which otherwise peace-loving, friendly people get close to fisticuffs over exactly how this procedure should be done. I have seen nostrils flair, teeth grit and hands clench regarding oxides vs. linseeds vs. floor polishes. By God, if it's that damn important I want to know where my congressperson stands on the matter.
Secondly, I want a federal law requiring that any place that shows art must have its own pedestals or lose its business license. It's bad enough we traipse the Northwest like a band of Gypsies, carrying hundreds of pounds of sculpture, hand trucks, nubile young males, but we also have to supply furniture. Do Clinton/Gore warmabes bring their own podiums? I think not. Next thing you know we'll have to supply our own lights and cheap hors d' oeuvres. Consider the waste of time and money spent on building and painting and repainting and repainting our pedestals. Time and money that could be spent traipsing even further afield.
Thirdly, I want each and every candidate to take a stand on the "Bigger and Harder" controversy. I'm sick to death of everyone pointing their fmgers at someone else when we who produce "shorter and softer" sculpture ask for accountability on who the people are who determined bigger and harder is always better. Now I am the first to admit that in certain areas of our lives bigger and harder are important, but to have this credo spread to the extent that the art we produce derives its value based on this assumption has gone too far! It doesn't stop there - now it has to "bigger, harder and waterproof'. What next? Vibrating? Clinton, Dole, Buchanan, speak up. How do you like your art? Once answered, then, and only then can we smaller and softer artists cast our votes.
Fourthly, if this bigger/harder stuff is so strongly embedded in the American art culture that it can never be changed, then I want the same federal law referred to in "secondly" to require that not only pedestals be made available, but also magnifying mirrors must be installed on the walls behind the displayed sculpture. (It works in bathrooms.) I also want building codes to require that every household have huge empty spaces built to accommodate the bigger and better stuff. And I will vote only for those who promise every damn stone sculptor a semi-truck and crane in every garage and yes, that old chicken (or tofu) in every pot.
Finally, my vote will be cast for candidates willing to form a senate sub-committee, spend as much money as it takes and hold as many hearings as needed to determine who came up with the inane expression Post Modern. I want them held accountable and made to publicly explain how anything can be post ("after, subsequent, later")* modem ("of, relating to or characteristic of a period extending from relevant remote past to the present time")*. Now for all history our generation of artists will be labeled by a term that makes no sense. Oh I understand that it holds a place in time and names a certain period of art following the Modern period, but couldu't they come up with anything better. Just because Impressionist and Cubist were taken is no reason to dive to mediocrity. Perhaps the person who first used Modern to define a period in art history should be brought to justice too. Who were they to determine that their modem would be the only modern for all time. But sadly, if it should occur, as often does in our cumbersome political system, that a serious problem such as this cannot be solved, then I am officially going on record, here and now, that I have first dibs on calling my sculpture Post Future.
* Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary