xxxNews Of The Weirdxxx
Bizarre but true stories about real people collected by syndicated columnist Chuck Shepherd.
In December, outgoing San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez turned over his City Hall office to graffiti artist Barry McGee, who orange-spray-painted the walls with various designs and the message “Smash the State” as Gonzalez’s tribute to street art. (Mayor Gavin Newsom, a political opponent of Gonzalez, has been a vocal critic of street graffiti.) Gonzalez promised that, before he left office, he would restore the walls to their previous color.
A survey of 500 arts experts, conducted in November by the sponsor of Britain’s prestigious Turner Prize, named as the most influential work of modern art (beating out two works by Picasso) Marcel Duchamp’s 1917 “Fountain,” which is merely a white porcelain urinal. (Duchamp was a central figure in the movement to present ordinary objects as art.)
In November at the Tate Britain gallery, sculptor Antony Gormley presented “Bed,” a pile of 8,000 slices of bread arranged to resemble a large mattress but from which Gormley had first eaten an amount out of it that represented the volume of his body. Apparently Gormley did not devour the bread so much as chew it and then remove it and form different-shaped pieces, which he then dried out, chemically preserved, and displayed. The Tate Britain was so thrilled with the installation that it became the centerpiece in a room devoted to Gormley’s lifetime body of work. A 34-year-old man performing a field sobriety test for a police officer alongside Route 130 in Bordentown, N.J., was killed when a tractor-trailer driver (who police said had probably been drinking) lost control and smashed into him (December). (The officer jumped out of the way in time.)
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Copyright © 2001 by Chuck Shepherd
NEWS OF THE WEIRD