This is not art. No. 20…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s quotation is from the novel A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (published 1980):
Patrolman Mancuso had put on the tights before the sergeant, who had pushed him out of the precinct and told him to shape up or get off the force.
In the two hours he had been cruising the French Quarter, he had captured no one. Twice things had looked hopeful. He had stopped a man wearing a beret, and asked for a cigarette, but the man had threatened to have him arrested. Then he accosted a young man in a trench coat who was wearing a lady’s hat, but the young man had slapped him across the face and dashed away.

No, this is not art is it?
But gosh, doesn’t it have a presence? You can really feel the weight of the steel pressing down on that flat white concrete can’t you? Can we use that word ‘beauty’ (very unpopular these days) here without getting too embarrassed dear reader?
This piece of sculpture (yes, dear reader, it’s sculpture if I say it is! I’m writing this tosh, not you!) has a form that is finely determined by its purpose in the world – no wishy-washy ‘aesthetic’ curves here – no superfluity upsetting things, every line is essential for its strength and durability – the human designer-engineer definitely had his or her finger on the pulse of nature when this fine thing was created. I’ll bet Henry Moore would spot this, walk over to it, and say, ‘Ee… That’s a right nice piece!’, (also he might be thinking, Seated Hunched Figures…) and even Sir Anthony Caro might warm to it too…

This picture was taken about a year ago when the whole of Dulltown city centre was being dug up and re-paved with expensive stone blocks ready for the UK City of Culture 2017, which we are all currently suffering. Oh, I’m probably being a bit too harsh on this wonderful culture thing… No, no, I’m not…

So, this thing in the photograph is the bucket from a one of the diggers that had been preparing the ground for the new paving. Doesn’t nature’s rust look nicely dark and gritty against the human’s pale fresh concrete curing in the sunshine? How about the shadow cast across by the temporary plastic fencing that supposedly separated the workers and the grunting machines from the confused shoppers? It really adds something to my off-centre composition doesn’t it?
I suppose my photo is art, but the bucket, though remarkably impressive, isn’t I’m afraid – but, as I always say on these occasions, I’ve seen far less interesting things in posh galleries…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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4 Responses to This is not art. No. 20…

  1. Dana Doran says:

    That’s a lot of content there buddy! That shovel is reminiscent of an Archipenko (with a little imagination – which is more than those horrid cylinders in the square!).

  2. R & D says:

    love the quote from CoD-—we lived in NOLA in those days, fond memories and scruffy ones, too. like the night we saw Thelma Toole, John Kennedy’s mother, give an amazing recital at Loyola Univ. the ladies hat the man that Mancuso accosted was wearing was hers! she played piano & sang victor herbert songs and told tales of her dear lost John!

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