Some of these things happened


For several years many of my art pieces were accompanied by phony news articles. Others by extended text. The primary purpose of doing this is to put the pieces in context, it's not just for the sake of humor. I do, however, enjoy making the articles amusing or interesting in the hope that viewers will be more likely to read the text and think a little about the pieces. Surprisingly, some of these things actually ended up happening.

1. In a 2000 I exhibited Adam and Eve Birch (see "Other Selected Work") accompanied by a news article concocted with the help of a friend. In 2004, obviously well after 2000, the article below appeared--the Virgin Mary in a tree stump. In 2004, an apparition of the Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese sandwich sold on EBay for $18,000.

2. In that same show, I exhibited a piece (Clear Cut, 2000, detail above) with a story about placing a monetary value on non-clearcut forests. A year later I received an email and press release from the Inland Empire Lands Council telling me that an environmental group in Maine had just filed suit asking that the U.S. Forest Service use the same method in evaluating a proposed logging operation.

3. In the Feb. 21, 2005 issues of Newsweek there's a story about a brain researcher who claims to have located brain centers that identify an ideal business manager. This seems eerily similar to a piece using my own actual brain MRI (Brain Scan, 1996, see above) that found no such centers anywhere in my cranium. The text accompanying Brain Scan read: "Ran MRI. Patient's brain was checked for neuro-anatomical anomalies. Instead, various deficiencies in neuro-managerial anatomy were identified. Note enlarged hostility area in red and underdeveloped anger management center in mauve and plum. Treatment: seminars. Prognosis: uncertain." My note: At the time, mauve and plum were the in colors for office cubicle furniture.

4. In 2004 America Online increased their free hours offer from 1045 in 45 days to 1099 hours in 50 days. No doubt this was not in response to my American Oneline: Galvanized piece but it's fun to have grandiose fantasizes now and then. And in keeping with their long history of deception, in March of 2005 AOL was again fined by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for $300 million for posting fraudulent financial results.

Some things I'm watching for based on other pieces.

1. MacDonalds sues Apple Computer for using the name Big Mac to promote their new monster computer. (Big Mac, 2000) Update: In 2006 Apple Records sued Apple Computer for violating an agreement over the use of a logo involvng an apple to promote music. I think a psychic would call this a hit!

2. An artist sues a newspaper for failing to review her show. I sent Local Planet Guilty, 2000 to the then editor of The Local Planet (an often irreverent weekly newspaper) after they really did fail to review an exhibit of mine, as promised.The Local Planet ceased publication in 2004.

3. A psychiatrist writes a self-help book based on analyzing people's appointment calendars and PDA's (Calendar of Your Life, 2000). This piece was made from 12 years (4,380 days) of my actual unedited business and personal appointment calendars accompanied by a made up book review. It attracted considerable interest at the exhibit. I think partly because people don't often get to snoop in other people's personal calendars. The book review may have been too realistic though--people though it was authentic. The same was true of the article accompanying the Clear Cut piece. My goal isn't to dupe people but to make the articles seem somewhat unbelievable but still close enough to being real to raise some issues. Since I couldn't always achieve this balance, I've quit doing these phony articles and now do commentary instead, e.g., the Can You Hear Me Now? CD insert, the Laser and Water narrative, Exactly the Same Tie.

4. Congress approves a national I.D. card program with an alpha-numeric code that translates into your likeness. (Mug Shot, 2001, see "Other Selected Work")

5. Someone near Memphis reports finding an upside down likeness of Elvis in a tarnished silverware spoon. (Neither Apparition Was Elvis, 1992, see "Other Selected Work")

6 . The Eeeek Generator becomes a reality (see Wunderkat, 2003). Update: In 2007, students at M.I.T. propose a device to generate electricity from stair case vibrations. Close but no cigar.

7 . Old parking meters show up in a cemetery in Jamaica (see Rasta Parking, 2003).

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Of course I've used the old trick of not bringing up my failures to predict, the times when, so far, nothing has actually happened. Under arm deodorant does not come with an estimate of the number of "arm pit days" stamped on it nor is the government about to required such labeling (Deodorant, 1996, see "Other Selected Work"). And mechanical pencil lead is not rated by how long a line can be drawn, in miles, or how many Moby Dicks can be written by the lead in the container (Pencil Lead, 1996). But there's still time. Who knows, maybe zinc will become fashionable and there really will be an AOL Galvanized Edition some day.

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