Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Don't Be That Gal: Painting-Pisser

Don't Be That Guy: One of the best things about being one out of several billion is that there's always somebody doing something stupid. If you keep your eyes open, you can usually wait for a stupid person to try something first. Watch them fail, laugh, and be sure not to repeat their mistake. Or read my blog and get the skinny straight from the Nerdery.

It has been alleged that I have a blog somewhere on the inter-web. A too-long-untouched blog. I find this report disturbing and completely true. I mean, gorram it, a month?

Oh well, there's an impressive backlog of article ideas and stubs waiting in the wings, so hopefully I'll be able to nudge towards my original goal of one hundred posts in the first year of my blog. Unfortunately, some of the once-topical posts will be a little outdated, but they still make great fodder for the Nerdery.

Speaking of which, there was an article from last month that qualifies for a Don't Be That Guy post with a healthy helping of 'what-the-frak!?' on the side. A woman named Carmen Tisch walked into the Clyfford Still art museum in Colorado, punched an offending piece of art, dropped her pants to rub her flank against it, and finally shared some...'water' with the exhibit.

No, really.

This is so easy I'm not even going to really make fun of Ms. Tisch, who supposedly has a history of alcoholism and driving while inebriated. She also had an armed robbery charge that was later dismissed against her. If her behavior in the Still exhibit is a typical intimidation tactic for her, I'd wonder if her charisma is what got the charges dropped. In any case, I'm not going to attack this peach. She's a winner, and I don't think you need convincing on this point.

Instead I want to understand this. What drives this kind of behavior, in any state of mind? First, let's look at the victim of the inablution, "1957-J-No. 2":

I must say, I don't appreciate modern art. This painting impresses me even less than Chicago's "Cloud Gate," and that's saying a lot.

Given the context of the Tisch event, my eye is drawn to the lemonade-stain on the right edge of the piece. Could this be some sort of dark prophecy, foreshadowing 54 years ago the ignominious fate that would befall this noble canvas? Perhaps Still is a much more modestly endowed American Rimbaldi, his prophetic art limited to un-classy reactions to his work. If that was the case, can we really hold poor Carmen Tisch responsible for her actions, or was she caught up in the holistic power of Still's transcendent genius? Was she an offender, or merely unhinged by the realization that as she was looking into the departed Still's painting, he was staring back at her from the 1950s...

Or, perhaps with the appropriate prescription of beer goggles, this painting looks like a public toilet. That might draw the sequence of Tisch's actions into better focus, if we imagine her bleary logic. "Ugh, I hate it when the person before you doesn't flush," she bemoans, striking the lavatory. She claws, looking for a handle, before making her seat of the artwork and relieving herself. "Ahh, that's better, now I can go outside and enjoy the art exhibit...Why is everyone looking at me? I hate it when people make eye contact in the bathroom."

Carmen Tisch: trans-temporal victim of eldritch art or beer-addled misunderstanding? Eh, don't be that gal in either case.

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