The Playgoer: Berned!

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Friday, August 15, 2008


by chris mills

Well, friends, even in my very broad definition of theater, I probably would NOT have included this particular artwork. But, as Paul McCarthy has already been invoked (ok, by me, but also Dr. C), I could not help myself.

Because, you see, as the fine people of Bern were going about their daily routine—checking their watches, perhaps, or eating some very fine chocolate—a scourge was loosed in their city. Yes, a house-sized, inflatable pile of dog crap, one that had been dutifully installed outside the Zenrtum Paul Klee, overrode its safety controls and broke free, wafting and blowing, like Underdog breaking the leash of Thanksgiving Day parade, through the clean Swiss air. Entitled Complex Shit, this recent McCarthy work took it on the wing; the derring do(o) (yeouch) only traveled 200 meters but it did break a window and take out a power line, possibly plunging a portion of the population into the fecal dark?

Now, before you dismiss this as a funded, infantile prank (though I would never discount the beauty and worth of the prankster), I ask: have you been to Bern? Man, it’s serious and damn clean (if you've seen Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges, you get an idea). So much of the aesthetic life in that place works to enhance cleanliness and beauty, that something about the disruption of the pastoral beauty with a representation of its opposite pleases. And somehow, I can't help but think that Paul Klee (the eponymous painter--with over 400 of his works on display in this museum), with his sense of whimsy and play, might have approved. But, hey, I love disruption.

Where, are you wondering, did the blow-up crap land? I swear to you, it landed in the yard of a home for children, where I cannot imagine the joy it must have brought.

More uh, traditional news soon...

1 comment:

Scott Walters said...

Yeah, because, you know, the world has WAY too much beauty and cleanliness and Way too little shit...

This ain't whimsy, it is sophomoric shit. Literally.