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TALES OF AN ORANGEPEELER

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01.09.04, late friday night

I dislike to see in museums an object I would like if I saw it in the street.

Over a late dinner in the Mission, P. explained that she makes art for old people, not "cool art," you know, art for twenty-something scenesters to mill around at art openings while sipping brown-bagged tall cans of fashionable beer. Hmmm, I purred as I slit another slice of saumon fumee crepe. I didn't know how to respond. She wants to make cool art, not art for old people, you see, even though I don't see why cool art is better than old people art, only that it (or the people who make/publicize/consume/critique it) is obsessed with what concerns or needs are fashionable this year.

A recent sculpture of hers consisted of birds shaped from very soft light wood, perched atop a cabinet that had a single thin drawer, its interior rusted. The necks of the birds had slits cut into them because growing up in the country, she would hear, ever so often, thuds and sure enough, there would be a bird lying in the soft grass where it had fallen after flying into a window and she would have to pick it up and gently blow into the back of its neck, where, under the feathers, that fatal wound awaited revelation by human breath.

P. thought the piece was ugly; she couldn't understand why the dean of furniture design would have called it "exhibition-worthy." She's 21, I think, and recently heartbroken. Maybe she will change her mind. Maybe she won't think so in a few years, after she's more accustomed to making art and the idea that she's an artist, cultivating her own peculiar vision beyond cool and old-people art.




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