I’d like to defend the idea of putting plop art specifically in places that the pieces aesthetically clash with. After all, when there is no clash, the pieces blend in and are easily ignored. (Just consider the nigh-omnipresence of modern art in the background of high-budget hardcore porn. Or consider the way you never noticed it was there until now, because fancy modernist houses go along pretty naturally with abstract geometric sculptures.)

Part of the value of art is in its capacity as an attack on complacency: a criticism of the arbitrary division and categorization of spaces, and a reminder that the world is fractally strange in ways that are neither easily summarized nor easily comprehended.

Creepy Lucy does not successfully capture a realistic representation of people’s internal idea of Lucille Ball, but it provides another way of looking at Lucille Ball that’s worthwhile, and in that way it’s more effective than a more conventional sculpture. Having shock value (whether that shock comes initially or only later) is necessary, though not sufficient, for a piece of art to be worthwhile as art rather than as advertising or design, and whether or not the deeper meaning unlocked by a piece is intentional (or an accident of fate caused by lack of skill, poor materials, or bureaucratic infighting) is irrelevant.

Written by

Resident hypertext crank. Author of Big and Small Computing: Trajectories for the Future of Software. http://www.lord-enki.net

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