Ol’ Lil and the Engine of Economic Recovery

July 2, 2011


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“Look, it’s Christmas,” said Smart Gear, pushing open the door to let us all in the bar, “let’s keep it festive.” “Look who’s talking!” said Pissy Boy, “Last time, you said you got to decide what made a good photo, the hell with the rest of us!”. “Taken a good photo lately?” Sugar Sue asked him kindly.  “All the time, bitch, all the time,” said Pissy Boy.  “Let’s see one, then,” said the Mixmaster.  “I’m not into digital now,” said Pissy Boy, “I’ve started shooting for the darkroom.”  “Shit,” said Grumble Grim, “just make something obsolete, and suddenly it’s artsy.”  “If we get any more festive,” I said, “we’ll need a doctor.”  


“Got something against art?” asked Smart Gear, looking at Grim.  “It’s a clique,” said Grumble Grim.  “I say it’s everywhere,” said Sugar Sue.  “We’re the engine of economic recovery.”  “Well, except no one sees it,” said the Mixmaster.  “They say art is a luxury.”  “Till they try to do without it,” said Sugar Sue.  “Imagine the world without cars or buildings or paint colours.”. “Or Christmas decorations,” said Whisper Cat, looking at the new beer coasters with the wreaths on them.  “They never mean applied art,” said #2 Cat flashing his rhinestones.


“Artists never mean applied art either,” said Smart Gear.  “All art used to be applied art,” I said, “Michaelangelo, Rembrandt.”  “When did it change?” asked Pissy Boy.  “How about 1878, when Whistler won his court case against Ruskin?” I said.  “He proved artists got to decide what was art, not buyers or critics.”  “Who wants to go back on that?” said Smart Gear.  “I’ll tell you who,” said the Mixmaster, “all those people who say artists should just do art that people will buy.”  “But that’s what commercial artists do already!” said Pissy Boy.  “No fear anyone will buy your darkroom photos for the next beer coaster!” said #2 Cat.  “And when did you hang up anything but a phone?” snarled Pissy Boy. “Boys, boys,“ hissed Whisper Cat, “let’s stay on the same side of the fence, where it’s roomy enough already.”  


“You mean art is art and money is money and never the twain should meet?” I asked.  “Well, I think if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” said Sugar Sue.  “I’m all for Damien Hirst.  Did you hear what he got when he auctioned his stuff himself?”  “Gazillions,” laughed #2 Cat, “that time the shark was outside the frame!”


“What bugs me,” said Sugar Sue, “is all those guys making money off old art, like those Leonardo angels everywhere.  I bet they’re the same ones telling us art’s a luxury they don’t want their tax dollars spent on.”  “Ah,” said the Mixmaster, “we can’t get in the way of the engine of economic recovery — consumption!”


“Speaking of which,” said Smart Gear, “time for the next round,” and went off to the bar.

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