I had a dream the other night
about a sculpture of birds, hundreds of birds,
wings spread and posed in various stages of flight,
their legs -- some only by the tips of their claws --
cemented to the ground
in a slab of concrete painted to look like an ocean that would
make indians cry
and businessmen turn their attention elsewhere and cough.
The artist had hired a helicopter to hoist the massive sculpture into
the air above the presidential palace
and to drop it from a height of fifty yards in a surrealist effort to
make the birds "fly."
The responsible parties were quietly asked to continue their artistic
endevours in another country,
and strongly encouraged not to speak to the press about this
The artist, however, was quite proud, and began writing letters from
exile to a journalist in his former country.
I was that journalist -- in my dream, I was that journalist,
though I don't know why; I have never dreamed of becoming a journalist.
What I remember of the contents of his letters I transcribed
added appropriate diagrams to illustrate some of the more complicated
ideas contained in the letters --
concepts like "global and spontaneous psychological demilitarization"
and "the intuitive desire for reciprocity in matters of lust" --
believe me, these things didn't make sense before I added the diagrams.
It's the only work of art I've ever created, and it sits at the
entrance to my Museum.
* * *
In the Ennio Morricone Wing, the walls are barren
and the corners of the room are occupied by enormous speaker columns.
The amplification of sound, with the specially designed acoustic
structure of the arched ceiling,
can make for a painful and artistic listening experience,
and has been known
to cause eardrums to rupture and bleed. For these rare occasions,
a photographer is on hand to preserve the moment
and supply it as evidence in the consequent lawsuit,
and, incidentally, to add to his collection, "Bleeding Ears,"
which will be showing next year, in a special exhibit.
* * *
There must be something wrong with me, because I don't understand the
watercolor landscapes, and flower still-lifes.
* * *
A black cat seems to be following a dotted line, painted on the floor,
which zigs and zags across the gallery rooms, as if determined to cross
as many paths as possible. I can't decide if it's coincidence or art.
* * *
The soft padded benchs are wonderful to sleep on.
I am glad I put them there, in my Museum.
Perhaps you have slept on them too.
* * *
A guerilla theatre troupe travels through the building,
occasionally stopping to enact
scenes of black men, chained to one another and to the hull of a ship,
and then a group of black men sitting on the edge of the gutter,
passing a bottle of Wild Turkey between them.
They never speak a word, and don't need to.
* * *
In another room, they are setting up an installation called "nea," and
I stop to watch them construct what looks like the inside of an
A woman standing next to me leans over and whispers "Have you heard?"
and I shake my head.
She explains, "It appears that the National Endowment for the Arts
isn't even a real organization...never was."
I look at her, confused, and cock my head like a dog.
"One of those postmodern artists decided that the ultimate work of art
would be one -- she paused --
"that destroyed all other works of art. So he set about
to construct the NEA,
a fifty-year long project that would, hopefully, result in the
total decimation of art."
So what happened? I asked.
"Well, at first Congress was in on the joke, but then Senator Helms
started taking it too seriously,
and secretly tried to replace the original actors with religious
zealots. So the artist gave up.
Besides...he decided it wasn't very nice."
* * *
Upstairs there's a holograph of a dove,
diving into the spray of machine gun fire.
If you walk around to the side, you can see
the entry wound of the first bullet to pierce
its soft, white skin -- and on the other side
of the display, a laser-etched stream of blood,
guts and feathers echoing the trajectory
of the bullet. The holograph installation is
temporarily closed because the graphic depiction
of the bird's death was making pacifists
and vegetarians nauseous, and they
continually vomited on the image, ruining
the three-dimensional effect, and leaving
an awful stench.
On the wall there is a portrait of a man who has lost his imagination
and the nameplate beside it reads :
GEORGE WORKS FOR THE GOOD OF HIS COUNTRY
Oil and Desert Sand on Canvas, 1990.
The man in the painting smiles because he believes himself to be loved,
and hated, and misunderstood,
and when you're immortalized, you want to be captured with power.
* * *
A huge neon sign in the entry hall
alternately blinks the words
"NEON" and "SIGN."
Conceptual self-reference can be so
* * *
No visit to the Museum is complete
without a stop at the Jorge Luis Borges Room:
the "Room Which Contains All Other Rooms."
Within this geometrically indescribable space, you can
visit all the other rooms of the museum in full-scale, perfect
enter the site of long-past special exhibitions,
in fact, you can see, if you have the time,
every possible future addition to the Museum.
If you'd like to go, be my guest, but I won't follow.
Of the infinite number of doors marked EXIT
only one is real, the rest are exhibits.