Behold: the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston all pimped out with exciting bling! (Note the “gold” chain supporting the colorful whaddayacallit — five-armed ju-ju talisman? Hypnotic ass pillow?) Here’s what the Gardner Museum Bulletin says about it:
Fenway Deity is part of the Garden Deities series created by Ken Smith. The large inflatable installation, with a psychedelic spiral pattern and gold chain, will hang from the historic façade of the Museum facing the Boston Fens. Deity riffs on the Gardner’s large wheel window on the building’s rear façade, forming a transect line through the Museum, between the window and the installation. Spiritually speaking, Fenway Deity responds to the Museum’s 2012 relocation of its entrance to Evans Way—it will serve as a new conduit for the Museum’s creative energy to protect the Fens from bad spirits and promote environmental renewal, health, and happiness along the Fenway and beyond.
The 2015 Landscape installation by Ken Smith is sponsored by the Friends of John Magee, in memory and celebration of his life in gratitude for his service to the Gardner Museum.
Those are some pretty big claims for the Deity. If it’s all meant to be ironic — you know, tongue-in-cheek, — then the sponsors obviously don’t mean it. You just say shit because it’s fun. Any kind of shit, as long as you employ the metaphysical jargon of art graduate school, of course. The “installation…” “riffs…” it “responds to….” And who is against “creative energy?”
Makes you wonder, though. What would it be like to live in a culture where artists really mean it when they make something? Instead of just putting on a stunt to satisfy the terms of a grant.