April 8th, 2006


Jesus wept!

Odd things have been happening in the museum recently; incidents, acts of God, interventions.

On Thursday Deva Graf's wax sculpture of (what I take to be) the black head of Christ, up on the fourth floor, went a little bit out of control; the flame burning inside Christ's head got too big and began to melt the wax, which spilled like black tears through Christ's eyes and trickled down to make a puddle on the floor. Jesus wept! The guards' walkie talkies were soon acrackle with urgent messages. Like a rolling news reporter I covered the dramatic scene as it unfolded: "In an act of God, the head of Christ is melting," I reported through the bullhorn. "Please stand back, pyrotechnicians and helicopters will be here momentarily. If you've just joined us, we repeat: in an act of God, the head of Christ is melting!" When the pyrotechnicians did arrive, they decided it was the artist's intention that the wax should melt. Or did they mean the will of God?

Shortly after the candle incident I came across an intervention which resembled a guerilla version of my own twisted commentaries. Next to Richard Serra's "STOP BUSH" print there's an A4-sized dispenser usually filled with copies of the work, which visitors can take away. Some counter-revolutionary had replaced the "STOP BUSH (signed SERRA)" handout with one reading "STOP SERRA (signed BUSH)". It was a witty little intervention, on a par, perhaps, with the pranksters who brought their own velvet rope to the opening and set it up on the sidewalk outside the museum. Except that, as pro-Bush propaganda, it backfired a bit, because it's impossible to imagine Bush mustering the artistic gumption to lift a brush, let alone the wit to create a squib. The pirate handouts were swiftly removed, and Jesus wept some more.