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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

When the Wall Came Tumbling Down

Okay . . . let me see if I've got this right.

The Wall came down, and Czechs went wild with glee. Communism was awful. A living hell. The worst part was not being able to travel to places like Paris. (Okay, really: the worst part was being tortured.) Also, artists couldn't make art about their anger and frustrations, their oppression. They were completely censored. It sucked.

Soon after the Wall came down, artist David Cerny decided to paint a Prague statue of a WW II tank PINK. Now as a sort-of democracy and definite imperialism/consumerism become the norm (McDonalds and Benneton: Welcome to Prague), Cherny has unveiled a new sculpture titled "Brownnosers." Visitors to the National Gallery climb a 20-foot ladder "and stare into two giant sculpted fiberglass rectums as their giant white bodies melt into the wall. Inside each giant buttock sculpture is a video screen of someone wearing a puppet-like mask of [Vaclav] Klaus [the country's conservative president] gracefully spoon-feeding slop to the director of the Czech National Gallery, all to the rocking beat of Queen's 'We Are the Champions.'"

I have to say this sculpture tickled my funny bone. When I described it to my kids, they had a few laughs, then had a few questions: "Is poop spraying out of its butt"?

Three cheers to artists like Cerny. Three cheers to Gorbachev for not shooting the first brave souls who jumped the Wall, willing to die for their freedom.

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