July 1, 2011
A bunch of us go into a bar to talk art. “Photo,” said Grumble Grim. “Oh art, photo, what’s the diff?” said Sugar Sue. “Big diff!” said Pissy Boy. “Artists never wanted us; now, they think they are us!” “Oh, go rest your spray can,” said Smart Gear.
“Listen up, Ol’ Lil,” said the Mixmaster to me. “What do you think of that Mayer guy, who’s composting the photo museum into mulch?” “Did you care about it before?” I asked. “I walked into it a time or two,” he said. “And what did you think?” “It wasn’t about photo at all,” butt in Grumble Grim. “All they showed was effing twisters showing off their inner angst.” “Why don’t you get a life,” said Smart Gear. “Then maybe you’d have something to show off, too.” “You’re prejudiced!” said Pissy Boy to Gear, “just because you got a show there!” “Yeah, well maybe I’m blind and dumb,” said Sugar Sue, “‘but Smart Gear’s show was no angstmobile. He’s got an eye.” “The decisive moment is dead and gone!” said the Mixmaster. “But looking at the world is still what we all do,” I said, risking life and limb. “Inner world, outer world. And we’re all still kids with a magic box. What we get surprises us even when we think we know exactly what we should get, when we’ve planned it and set it up and worked it like tambourines.”
“Oho, if we’re getting all weepy sentimental, I’m going for more beer,” said Pissy Boy. “Thanks, Ol‘ luscious Lil,” said Sugar Sue, watching his retreating back. “That’ll be the first time he ever bought a round.” “Don’t speak too soon,” said Whisper Cat, “wait’ll he comes back with more than one beer.” “I’ll go help him,” said #2 Cat, and slid away with fangs out.
“Well,” I said when both came back with a full tray, “I want to toast to more and more places to see photos, and I don’t mean in ads and on the internet. I mean where someone can spend more than a dime’s worth of time looking at them and not feel had.” “Hear, hear,” said Sugar Sue. “But you know, I think it’s great the national gallery is so into photography, whatever about the photo museum; it’s good for our image.” “But without the photo museum, you lose critical mass!” said the Mixmaster. “Less hot new stuff.” “Then they should have staked out more turf,” said Grumble Grim. “It’s not like photography is just art.”
“Well, it started with the guy before Mayer, what’s ‘is name, Théberge, and us not getting mad enough is what helped to fade the photo museum,” said Whisper Cat. “We never seem to get our act together.” “Act, shmact,” said Sugar Sue. “We’re like all artists, yes, artists! We could care less about political action, and if we do care, it’s about seals or global warming.” “It’s true, we have a heart,” I said, “but we don’t much find the time to make it bleed for us.”
“I’d rather shoot,” said Smart Gear, and lifted his lens to his one good eye. Everyone scattered.