Monday, July 18, 2005

A dialogue with institutions.

In the 70’s an art “gallery” in San Francisco created a piece of art that perfectly dialogued with institutions. “Sam’s Café” had established itself with a show that was set up as a real diner frozen in a particular second of time. The food was left exactly like everyone had just split from the place. The show lasted for a few months.

The next piece this group of artists did was fabulous. In order to protest the rising cost of energy on the poor, “Sam’s Café” sent out 20,000 clearly stated fake utility bills with the phone number of the San Francisco Chronicle as a place to call and complain. The paper’s switchboard was flooded with irate callers wanting to know what the fuck was going on?

The paper was literally shut down for half a day and they pressed charges against “Sam Café.” And as the story goes, the group of artists called only one witness in their defense… the art critic for the Chronicle.

The critic had to admit that it was a piece of conceptual art. The “Café” got off and the issues got weeks of coverage.

In order to protest the City's use of the downtown parking as a way of paying beauracrats huge salaries, I created an "Imitation" parking ticket and put it on cars downtown. The "Imitation Citation" said to call Bill Waters at the New Mexician if you wanted to complain. The old crotchety editorial writer was not amused with the calls from the Texas tourists wanting to know where to send the ten dollars. Waters did say he would sue me if I did it again.

But even Waters has to quote you if you nail the issue in one sentence.

When the Parking Committee or some City crap like that, was having a meeting about a plan ( that itself cost multi-hundreds of thousands of dollars} to solve the multi-million dollar parking problem in Santa Fe, I went to testify. I said something like, "I think the City has enough money to solve the parking problem because they can afford to hire consultants and then not pay attention."

Waters had to use it in an editorial.


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