Sir: When are we going to rein in these artists? They have lost all sense of discipline. Art is completely out of control these days. I was just in an art gallery looking for some free wine and cheese, and I happened to glance at some of the paintings on the wall. Do you know what I saw? Pictures! They were pictures of recognizable people and objects rendered in colored paints! I saw a portrait of a woman in a business suit, and a picture of a bowl of fruit, and some sort of seascape with waves crashing on rocks.

What makes these artists think they can get away with this stuff? Images like those are what cameras are for! Art is not supposed to have recognizable things in it. It is supposed to be splotches of paint in random patterns, or straight lines, or—better yet—a blank canvas with an explanatory plaque. These things are art because no one enjoys them, and the purpose of art is to create a visual expression of the unenjoyable. Art is supposed to be a purgative experience, a mortification of the aesthetic sense that leaves us feeling hopeless and empty, so that we will be easier to control. But these—well, I can only call them pictures, not paintings, and they are not mortifications at all. Some of them were quite pleasant to look at. Art that is pleasant is art that is not doing its job.

It is clear that artists are not capable of regulating their own behavior, so it is time for the government to step in. We have agencies and bureaus. We have a whole National Endowment for the Arts. What are these government agencies for if not to tell artists what to do with their brushes? We have standards for food additives, standards for education, standards for packaging. It is time we had strong and enforceable standards for art. What do we pay taxes for, anyway? We have a right to expect art that is depressing, confusing, boring, and above all non-representational.

Therefore I am calling on our elected representatives to shove all other business to the side until this pressing emergency is addressed. This is a bipartisan issue if ever there was one. Every citizen, of whatever ethnicity, gender, religion, or party, has the right to aesthetic mortification. It will not be an easy struggle. Bureaus and agencies will have to be created. Inspectors will have to be hired and trained. Government agents will have to be armed and transported to offending galleries. But it will be a struggle that will unite America.

—Sincerely, Hickory K. Crosshatch, Concerned Citizen.


  1. Belfry Bat says:

    The Correspondent will kindly remember thap1no rkle;a87587g1un5ijlk4eu657&^$#&*@(^GEYOBVHJ LNMK@*!Ycommodious vicus…

  2. tom says:

    True story: The writer was in some museum years ago, when a mother and small child came by. The child runs up to a picture then runs back: Mommy that picture is covered with paint! I.e., he had discovered the true nature of art.

  3. Occasional Correspondent says:

    Dear Mr. Crosshatch,

    Train us up and turn us loose! 
    Let your training aim us where you will!
    (or, at least, where you thought you would)

    At your service,
    Artificial Intelligence, the modern djinn

  4. Fred says:

    You can’t ban just ban representational art outright because then the masses will rise up and start graffitiing classical art everywhere. You’ve got to do it piecemeal like banning firearms, where you ban everybodies gun magazines and then you can laugh at them while all the bullets fall out. You just hope the criminals are nice and law abiding. So with art you’ve got to do the same thing. Start with banning noses and then ears and pretty soon you’re getting somewhere! If banning ears doesn’t work you can always arrange for an accident. Remember Van Gogh and his ‘suicide’.

  5. Belfry Bat says:

    The Correspondent will kindly remember that refrigeration burbleage borage forage eke recidivism marbles portentous with commodius vicus, forthwith sesquipedelian necnon macaronic pseudotelemicromachos THC49(1996 EOC) ji3148njvtnk1u9hjdjkpppppppppppppppppppppppppp

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *