Art Attack – The activist artist
I have an idea – let’s invite tourists to our quaint Victorian village during the holidays and make deer the decorative centerpiece while simultaneously hosting a citywide deer hunt.
I’m surprised the CAPC and Downtown Network didn’t jump all over this missed cross marketing opportunity – combining the “Holiday Season” with the “Hunting Season.” Rudolph on a spit could be the logo.
The deer hunt is an emotional issue for many. I have good friends on both sides of the fence, but am personally opposed to the slaughter. And while I can empathize with my fellow gardeners, I have much more empathy for these helpless creatures who through no fault of their own are being hunted down.
Hence the inspiration for my quick and easy installation at Sweet Spring, which managed to stay up for a whole day-and-a-half before it was savagely ripped apart and tossed to the ground.
Starting at Planer Hill with a blood splattering paint-ball gun would have made more of an artistic statement, but I just couldn’t do it – partly out of respect for the artistry of Parks’ DonE Allen, partly due to my aversion to the slammer.
So, for those who would like to see this uppity artist have his day in court for defacing our public springs, (probably those same self-righteous people who cheered when Virginia Voiers spent time in jail for borrowing the Baby Jesus), let me plead my case.
This was not an act of vandalism, but a work of “Activist Art.” It’s far from Picasso’s “Guernica,” but I will still defend it as art. I simply added my own decorative touches to the spring’s holiday theme, and all arrows, sign and hanging blood patches can be, and were, easily removed without damage to a single white twig.
Creating, photographing and publishing this column about the deer made of twigs with an arrow through its neck, holding a NO HUNTING sign covered in twinkle lights might seem strange and self serving, but I really don’t see myself as a journalist creating news, but rather an artist making a social statement.
Sometimes it’s all we artists know how to do.
This Saturday, Dec. 1, marks World AIDS Day. As an AIDS activist and artist living in Key West during the height of the plague, I created several works that drew attention to the epidemic happening on our tiny island and around the globe.
“A Day Without Art” was established on Dec. 1, 1989. Many museums, galleries and art institutions across the country closed their doors in honor of the talented artists lost to this devastating disease.
On that day in Key West, many galleries shrouded the art in their windows or simply turned paintings around to face the wall, and I will never forget the impact of that simple, collective activist action.
First Saturday Drumming in Basin Park is on schedule.