This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
/// OP-ED E-MAILS TO BLIGHTY | by David Smith MEAN & SOBER | by Stad DiPonzi Ger Orff My Land

An open letter to Catherine Creamer & Dana Friis-Hansen

Dear Cathy-with-a-C and D-Freeze, I hope this letter finds you both well and happily entrenched in your new gigs as top dogs

for ArtPrize and the Grand Rapids Art Museum, respectively. You both bring some strong reps to your positions. Thank goodness, too, as neither of you will wont for some serious challenges. Cath, let’s start with you, since you have lived here a while and should understand your

biggest issue. Cheese. Garbage. Crap that wouldn’t pass for art had it extruded directly from Calder’s Crack. You need to solve your cheese problem — as in how do you keep a celebration of public art from including Lego likenesses of Louis Campau or mosiaics of the DeVos yacht formed from vitamins? Yeah, I know lots of ArtPrize visitors are coming straight out of the Arnie’s early-bird special

and demand about as much from art as they do the CBS Sunday prime time lineup, but let’s stretch a bit. Next, I hear word from on high is that this event has to start paying for itself, but can you

put some clamps on the Billy Mays-esque hype — not from your shop, but from artists and their PR flacks. A gorilla-suited feeb has been dropping off “clues” to people in the press in order to pimp an installation announcement. To quote a punk classic: “Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole.” For Dana Friis-Hansen, new to the GRAM via Austin, my request is so much simpler. Really.

Make the inside match the outside. Easy-peasy? Take down some of the dusty vistas of wartime Holland and replace them with a few more pieces from the era of the horseless carriage. The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and even the baddass new wing at UofM cannot hold a candle to the GRAM’s building, but they still have consistently good stuff inside. When your donors ask for more tulip pictures, just nod and then go borrow a bunch of

Lichtensteins and Klines, pop for a Gursky print and tell everyone it’s a picture of Amsterdam. Whatever it takes! Hell, the front room of D2 is more culturally enriching and entertaining than some corners of the GRAM most days. I will forgive you a few horrible traveling exhibits, which I know help pay the bills. Thanks guys. Really.

SDP’s favorite year-round ArtPrize installations are the lifelike statues holding “LABOR DISPUTE” signs in front of the Van Andel Arena and other downtown locations.

Hadrian’s Wall

I’ve been here a while now, but I still haven’t got to grips with my borders. In England, every home has a giant fortress-like wall erected around its garden/yard to define its territory. Someone’s home is their castle. Some walls are wooden, some are made of stone, but all have a barrier that you have to cross to get to the front door. Most homes have gates so that the postman doesn’t rip his crotch trying to climb over the barbed wire.

It all sounds a bit paranoid, I know, but when you have been invaded and conquered by most of Europe over the last 2,500 years, that happens. It does give you a nice sense of security, though, and it’s easier to stop the neighbours stealing your tomatoes with a heavily fortified garden wall.

But over here, it’s a bloody great free-for-all. No defined boundaries out in the suburbs. Dogs come and poop on my weed-infested lawn, kids shortcut past my mucky windows and salespeople wonder aim- lessly up my drive eyeing my failing roof. This all leaves me in a state of panic, wishing I had a few bricks and a “get off my land” sign. Maybe a few cannons, too.

Not only are the trespassers stressful, but I don’t know where to stop mowing the lawn, where I can dump my used teabags, or how close to the street I can place my life-sized Winston Churchill replica.

My neighbour on one side has placed two bamboo sticks in the ground. I thought he was going to grow some blueberries, but I now know he has put down a flimsy marker to get me to have a chat with my crabgrass about its ongoing vacation to his lawn. A good English wall would stop it, but due to costs, I may have to enlist the help of my US Marine father-in-law to help me secure my perimeter. A few well-placed claymores and pit traps should cut down on people wondering “off-piste” and some DDT should get rid of any unruly vegetation. I think all that is legal, plus it will look nice, right?



Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100