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Ho ho ho! It’s that time of year again. Here’s JHK’s holiday classic: A Christmas Orphan.

11-year-old Jeff Greenaway hears his mom and dad argue one night after an office Christmas party. He infers from their garbled squabble that he is an orphan, found in a willow basket on the welcome mat outside their New York apartment. Thinking now that his parents are imposters, he steals away to Grand Central Station and buys a train ticket to Drakesville, Vermont, where he intends to start life all over again.
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Yes!

     WTF ????  Behold the proposed  new public artwork for the Boulder, Colorado, Library. Which part is the “art?” you may ask yourself. Why, the grand affirmation Yes! Straight out of the Nike advertising playbook, this totemic gesture informs all Boulderites (Bouldarians? Boulderopolitans? Boulderholics?) that yes! they can… er… what…? Cross the six-laner safely? Enter the building? Solicit a blow-job in the stacks? Yes! It’s all good! Yes! Anything goes. Yes! I feel better just looking at the photo. Arm pumps! Git her done! Be all that you can be! Way to go, Brownie! Mission Accomplished! Hope and change! The economy has recovered! Shale oil revolution! Industrial renaissance! the Singularity is near…! Whew….
Props to Kristan Conrad out in Colorado, who sent it in and writes: Today, in our local newspaper, I discovered that our local public library – the same library that has reduced its hours due to budget cuts and long-ago turned the free parking lot into paid parking, has chosen the design of two artists (because of the overwhelmingly positive impression the designers made on them, according to the article).  This “art” will be installed on the outside of a curving bank of library windows that currently has a nice view of a neighborhood and the mountains, thereby obstructing said view so we can enjoy this “art.”
The local newspaper wrote: “When Boulder announced this week that the word “Yes!” will be installed in tall, red, aluminum characters on the outside of the public library, those involved in selecting the piece praised it as “exhilarating,” “delightful” and “iconic.”
Below is a similar piece of public art, as provided by the private sector:


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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

12 Responses to “May 2014” Subscribe

  1. jimble May 6, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

    Fortunately the good people of Boulder have rejected this abomination and it will not be installed. dailycamera.com/boulder/ci_25699428/boulder-nixes-big-red-yes-outside-library-city

  2. mr2man May 6, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

    Perhaps Boulder has decided to support the Yes campaign for Scottish independence?!

  3. par4 May 7, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    Yes

  4. Will May 7, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

    It looks like public outrage has caused a change in the plans:

    theatlanticcities.com/arts-and-lifestyle/2014/05/boulder-officially-rejects-public-art-spelled-all-c…

    However, given the sad state of public “artwork,” I doubt they will come up with anything more appropriate.

    • kconrad May 7, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

      That’s a good article, Will. As for your worry about whether Boulder might get something worse, I hope not. But given the responses of some of the folks in favor of “YES!”, the insinuation that the public just doesn’t “get” modern art, that you can’t trust the public to choose good art, or that the only problem was that the project wasn’t explained well enough to the public, doesn’t bode well.

  5. cable guy May 8, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    L O L ! would have been so much more apropos.

    • RobH May 19, 2014 at 9:22 am #

      Can I second L O L

      (Though perhaps a library could have Shhhh, as you aren’t supposed to make a noise)

  6. AKlein May 12, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    I wonder what prompted the “art selection committee” to choose “Yes!” instead of “No!” or “Maybe!” The power of positive thinking I suppose.

    “Whom the gods would destroy they first drive mad.”

  7. hilltop May 12, 2014 at 10:50 am #

    I work at a library and we are proudly throwing away any book that hasn’t circulated in the past year, because after all, “everything will be available on ebook someday”. We have bins in the back hallway full of doomed books waiting to be recycled. In one of the bins I saw books on the history of the Viet Nam war and in others have seen books on various topics that might be useful for survival in a future without oil such as one on methods of low tech refrigeration. We don’t need Viking hordes to drive us into the dark ages, we are doing it ourselves. By the way my library is struggling to find its mission (how about a place full of books that people can borrow?) and is swept up in the latest trend of becoming some kind of community center where business people can make deals in our free meeting rooms, people can come in and make videos and music recordings, and where “warehousing” books is considered a waste of space.

  8. rollie July 5, 2014 at 5:37 pm #

    Maybe a big red NOT SO FAST instead?

  9. Alan Art October 5, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

    Kmart

    Km-art

    there. where’s my grant?

  10. Corey October 6, 2014 at 11:59 pm #

    Over Under on how long it takes for those Aluminum Letters to be scrap metaled?

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