Tokyo Damage Report


Art is about creativity, expression and rebellion. Does this seem so obvious that it’s trite and embarrassing to read? Maybe to you and me, but to the art establishment, it’s NOT obvious. Because when you go to a museum, the creativity of the audience (in the form of interpreting paintings), and their rebelliousness (in interpreting them ‘against’ the ‘legitimate art-world meanings) is squelched so systematically that it never occurs to patrons that they even HAVE these rights. I mean, when was the last time you went to MOMA and looked at Jackson Pollock and said, ‘This must be about golf. And that one is about Marlon Brando’s ass.’ It didn’t occur to you to come up with your own meaning or story for every painting– it didn’t occur to most people. and that’s deliberate!!


No wonder no one goes to museums anymore….it’s all been downhill since fuckin, uh… that one guy. Duchamp. The Frog who put a urinal in the museum and just said, "Dude! Check it out! It’s in a museum, so it’s art, dude! I, like, signed it!!" He changed boundaries of art which were so entrenched nobody even thought they were boundaries. But the very suckiness of modern art nowadays means that there must be plenty more rules to break, which means art can possibly be good again as soon as I’m put in complete and utter charge.

When I’m in charge, average people will pick what is on display. That’s the only way to make art relevant. Not new, cooler trends and hipper, more offensive artists. They’ve been cranking out wave after wave of newer and hipper crap and people care less about art than ever!

what could be more irrelevant than fucking ten million dollar wall decorations for one kind of elite, country-club bastards, which (the decorations, not the bastards) can only be ‘decoded’ by another elite group of art critics.

But why should the artists get to have all the fun? After all, we the patrons are the ones paying the money. YOU THE ARTISTS are getting paid! We should be able to do the creativity!! If I go to even the crookedest, sleaziest carny, and I pay my money for a game of Whack-a-Mole, they’re at least going to let me do the whacking , and not usher in Jasper Johns to do it ‘the right way’ while I just watch. Fuck that!


First of all, who says only ritzy society dames and art critics get to pick what paintings come out of the basement? The public pays the taxes to the city museums, so let the public decide.


It should be like jury duty: you get an envelope in the mail, saying "For the next 3 weeks, you can tell your boss to fuck off, and come to the museum basement with 11 other random people from random races and educational levels and income levels, who don’t know shit about the modern art scene. You will pick your favorite paintings and say ‘let us take this monsterpiece out of the biz-nasement and put it into a gallery so that the masses can revel in its phatness." and someone else will say ‘Aw, you suck, McBain! that is a terrible painting!’ and then you’ll make like a courtroom jury and argue until you put it to a vote. You will repeat this process until you’ve selected enough art to fill up the rest of the museum. And you’ll get paid well, cus we’ve fired all the expensive-ass art critics who used to do this."

Because my idea is more democratic, the average non-art person finally has a reason to go: they’ll be curious what kind of art the ‘average jurors’ pick, and also to see if it’s any worse than the art curated by ‘educated art-world professionals.’

At the entrance of the museum will be names (or, so as not to discourage the shy, pseudonyms) and ages, races, and occupations of the judges. Under each painting will be a list of who voted for it or against it. Posting the demographics of the jurors will allow the art to be critiqued in a whole new way… People will have the opprotunity to scratch their heads and ask, ‘why did both the Albanians on the jury love Diego Rivera so damn much?? Why did all the women jurors hate Little Billy Aphlablap’s darling diorama?‘ Soon, the jurors will achieve ‘cult’ status, with museum-goers critiquing the tastes of the individual jurors more so than the paintings! "That plumber’s nuts! Matisse wasn’t THAT good…" College students will jokingly name ‘isms’ after the more eccentric jurors, and so forth.

This way is also more accountable: it shows the heated "Hang-this-picture-no-hang-THAT-picture" debates that the other museums try to hide. The other museums hide the debate to convince the suckers/patrons that the ‘good taste’ in THOSE museums is a monolithic thing, governed by logic or high philosophy, rather than good taste being determined by trendiness and political clout the way it really is. But by exposing the debate process, it will call into question the standards of other, less Home-Despot-centric museums.


Then, (if the museum wasn’t closed down by rampaging, drunken French philosophers), we could go to Step Two:

What is step two (besides a huge, Frankenstein-Boot-Sized kick in the ass to the stagnant, hateful art world)?

have each juror post a 3×5 index card next to each painting, stating what they think it means, and why. They would write on the cards prior to discussing the painting with each other, so they wouldn’t influence each others’ opinions. They’d be free to come up with the most outlandish possible explanations of the art, as long as it’s not poetry!

At this point, it WOULD be cool to have artsy, college dorks help people write their interpretations. To make sure the interpretations make sense and are full of specific examples to back up the opinion. "This ball symbolizes Bob Ross’ penis, and that color means it’s on fire," and so forth.


Each painting would have 12 of these cards (onne for each juror).


Now stop and think about that for a moment: when you go in a museum, aren’t you more curious about what the other patrons are thinking than the dumb cards that the curators post on the wall "Blah, blah, blue period, blah blah, the picture plane, blah blah. postmodern…"? I get hell of frustrated cus everyone is so scared to talk in the churchlike silence of The Museum that I never get to over-hear people saying their stupid, comical opinions, and I know you do too! So this would solve that problem.

Plus regular people could walk in off the street and write their own interpretation and post it! the more cards, the moer funnerrer. Besides, it would give you a reason to look at the painting even if you thought it sucked: You could look at the painting as a visual aid for the index cards! Instead of getting bummed going "I don’t get it… maybe I don’t belong here" you would read the cards and be entertained.


Right now art is made to communicate a ‘concept’ to an art critic. It’s a dialogue between the artist and the trendy philosopher-art-guy of the month, who will pass judgment on if it’s great or not. But by my method, not only the critic but also the artist him-herself are totally eliminated. Who cares what the artist had in mind?? The artist doesn’t fuckin’ care about you, unless you’re a millionaire art-collector or groupie. Fuck them.

Who cares if the critic liked it? Am I not qualified to have my own opinion? Get a real job, go back to Dairy Queen or something where you’re at least doing something useful.

Art theory is out. Now it’s all about sociology.

Why is sociology important? Because it puts and end to the endless, arcane debates about what is good art. Exit opinion, enter statistical facts.

For instance, say that half of the people post their index cards saying that they see theme x in the art. And only one percent sees themes y and z. then it’s clear that the art failed to communicate y and z. If the artist was trying for y or z, the artist failed.


No matter if maybe someone with 6 years art school indoctrination would of seen y or z…. that doesn’t make the ‘regular people’ too dumb to get it. Suddenly ‘regular people’ will have a voice, and the art elites will be reduced to a statistical anomaly!

Far from a totally crackpot, radical concept, this is a valid, decades-old scientific-type branch of sociology known as READER RESPONSE THEORY. It is pretty non-controversial in sociological circles, even though it’s way too radical for the ‘far-out’ modern art dudes. What’s ironic is that Reader Response Theory is precisely the kind of relativism that the post-modern, deconstructionist art critics normally applaud, as long as it doesn’t encroach THEIR domain!!! Well, fuck that!! What’s good for the goose is good for the Frog, and the stuck-up New Yorker too! How do you like it when I’m dropping some relativism on your punk ass! Now you gotta go get a REAL job, kid, cus you’re no longer needed.


Here’s yet another reason that Reader Response should take over:


By having 12 cards out there, every painting would give you an in-depth look at how meaning is created. This is exactly the kind of highbrow stuff that art school classes charge you $12,000 a year to learn. I can teach you how meaning is created for the price of a ticket. First off, you’ll see that there’s no one right interpretation. Second, you will see that, despite the initial chaos of differing views, certain themes emerge when you read the 12 cards as a whole. For instance, if a significant number (say, 7 or 8) of the jurors independently come to the conclusion that this red dot looks like a rat’s eye, that you, the patron, can then say "Hey, that’s how that meaning got created! It was the dotty-ness of that glob of paint that suggested an eye, the redness suggested a rat’s eye, to a majority of the jurors, because they arrived at that conclusion independently!"

This information is not only invaluable to artists that want to learn how to do good art, but to audience members who want to understand how we as a society make meaning out of the world. And it’s also another way to enjoy an otherwise crappy painting.


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