Friday, December 15, 2006

Cookie monsters or not?

They kicked Keith McGuckin and his swastika-swathed gingerbread man out of Oberlin so McGuckin took his show down the road -- to Wellington -- where a won't-give-us-his-name storefront owner allowed him to set up his display.
Did you see the picture of the display in the paper? If not, here it is.
Do you think McGuckin is doing this for publicity or is he truly an artist in search of artistic freedom? Boy, try to write that sentence in an unbiased way! Seriously, I don't know the answer to the question myself. I really don't want you to think I'm trying to persuade you one way or the other.
All I know is that when his cookie creatures got booted out of Oberlin, the story was all over the world -- literally. I found it on U.K. and Australian newspaper Web sites. I guess that means the story is news ... or does it?
We had a newsroom battle at the Chronicle last night (wish you could have been there) about where to put the story in the paper. The opinion in the newsroom was HEAVILY in favor of putting in on the front page -- but it wasn't to be.
Maybe, Mr. McGuckin, if you are reading this ... you can tell us yourself just exactly what you are up to.


Kelly Boyer Sagert said...

Oh, how I hate dilemmas like this! I want to believe that I'm always in favor of individual freedoms and the right of artistic expression, but my gut isn't cooperating with my head right now.

Is this news? Reluctantly, I would say yes. Do I want it to be news? No. I want this to receive no attention and to just go away.

scott bakalar said...

I'm taking the tack that Mr. McGuckin doesn't owe anyone any explanation whatsoever.

Art is Art - beauty and meaning are always in the eye of the beholder. It is our intrepretation of his work that is significant, not his intentions or agendas.

It's gotten people talking, it produced discussion and debate, it's garnered some publicity for Mr. McGuckin. It's pleased some people, it's angered others.

What else is art supposed to do?

Kelly Boyer Sagert said...

Scott . . . this is exactly the civil libertarian kind of response that I wanted to make. In theory, I believe in what you say.

And, yes. You're right. This is what art is supposed to do. If art was all sanitized and smelling sweet, then it would lose appeal.

It is just so hard for me to step back from my personal feelings / response toward this particular piece of art.