Time to stop the stupidity | SummitDaily.com

Time to stop the stupidity

KEELY BROWNspecial to the daily
Keely Brown

For the new year, I am resolved to create a new, international arts organization called Stop The Stupidity (STS).This resolution, which has been simmering for some years, was prompted by my reading this week about a musical performance taking place in Halberstadt, Germany, in which the composition will take 639 years to complete. Yes, you read it right. Six hundred and thirty-nine years.The piece was written by twentieth-century composer John Cage and is entitled “organ2/ASLASP.” Guess what ASLASP means? That’s right folks, As SLow AS Possible.

Back in 2001, a group of Cage’s fans decided to take that musical direction literally, honoring their favorite composer by organizing a 639-year-long performance of the 20-minute composition.The first year and a half of the performance was – you guessed it – complete and total silence. Then, on Feb. 2, 2003, they sounded the first chord (in case you’re wondering, and I’m sure you are, it was G-sharp, B, G-sharp).Last Thursday, thanks to that great miracle known as the passage of time, another chord was sounded (A, C, F-sharp). In case you weren’t able to be there for the occasion, you’ve got time to catch a plane. The chord has been held down by weights, enabling it to sound nonstop for the next several years.Bring out the champagne.Lest you absolve the composer from this nonsense (he died in 1992), please don’t. Instead, let me tell you about another one of John Cage’s works, one which is quite famous among conservatory students. It’s called “4’33″” (“Four Minutes and Thirty-Three Seconds”).In “4’33”,” a pianist goes out on stage, sits down at the piano and opens up the lid, taking a meticulously calculated number of seconds in which to do so. For the remainder of the time, he sits there and stares at the keyboard, or contemplates his navel, or whatever, until the time is up. Then he closes the lid, gets up, and walks off the stage.

That’s all, folks!I was first introduced to artistic stupidity at an art show given by the Atlanta College of Art when I was a teenager. One of the exhibitions was an old, beat-up Coca-Cola crate, lying casually on the ground behind a velvet “do-not-touch” rope and labeled “Found Object.” That had to be one lazy art student. I can just imagine how he got his semester’s big art project done:ART STUDENT (coming home from school the day before his project his due): Mom? What’d we throw out today?MOM: Well, son, there’s an empty Coke crate in the garbage …

ART STUDENT: Eureka! I’m sure he has gone on to a major international career. In 1999, London artist Tracey Emin won the Turner Prize (and international notoriety) for her masterpiece, “My Bed,” which featured just that – an unmade bed with dirty sheets, littered with vodka bottles, ashtrays and underwear. And, for that finishing touch, a used condom. (During the exhibition, two art students staged a semi-naked pillow fight on the bed, claiming that they were “visual artists” trying to make Emin’s work more interesting. They called their work, “Two Naked Men Jump into Tracey’s Bed.” I’m not making this up – but I digress.) In case you were wondering, an art collector later bought the whole lot (sans naked art students) for nearly $300,000.You didn’t know that life as a Creative Artist could be so easy, did you? Forget about Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling while lying flat on his back for four years. Just go to your local dumpster – or better yet, don’t bother to make your bed tomorrow morning. Just take a photo of it and send it to your local museum. It may make you a star.

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