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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Zen and the Art of Modern Art

For a while I worked as an modern artist and I would like to tell you now about what I felt was my greatest achievement in that field. Ever since Marcel Duchamp signed that toilet seat a large theme of modern art has been considering what is art. So we had people submitting bricks, old food, elephant dung and even mathematical instructions as artwork. So I Cornealius Drake decided to take this to its logical conclusion. I created a piece of art that had no physical element to it, it was nothing. I called it Zen and the Art of Modern Art and set about getting it exhibited in a local gallery.
I made a big show of building up expectations for my master piece. I put a curtain in front of area where it was to be displayed but told no one what was behind it. Only that behind the curtain was my piece and that it would revolutionise the art world, it would change the way people perceived existence forever.

When it came to the grand unveiling of my master piece I had managed to gather quite a crowd of art students and critics(who else goes to exhibitions?) eager to see how I would live up to my earlier boasts.
“Welcome people.” I said “I Cornealius Drake now present to you my newest masterpiece, Zen and the Art of Modern Art.”
Slowly I pulled back the curtain, the crowed gasped with surprise as behind the curtain there was Nothing. Just the wall of the room. There was silence. Eventually someone from the crowd asked. “But where is it? Where is the piece?”
“Where is not the piece.” I replied.
Then someone else asked “What is the piece?”
“What is not the piece.” I replied.
“Is there actually a piece?” someone else asked.
“Yes,” I replied “it is both everywhere and nowhere, but that which is, is not the piece.”
There were murmurings from the crowd as they attempted to comprehend this. They stared at the empty space trying to unearth its secrets. One art student brought out her sketchbook and tried to sketch a copy of it. I offered people the opportunity to buy a share of the piece for £10 and upon handing over the money I would say “The piece is yours, piece be with you.”

My piece was declared a huge success, the art world lapped it up. I was an overnight sensation. Photographs of my piece appeared on the covers of all the top arts journals. Eventually the Tate modern bought my piece out right for £10 million. The delivery man turned up at my house one morning to collect the piece.
“Alright,” he said “I am here to pick up the piece, where is it?”
“Where is not it.” I replied
“What?” he said
“What is not it.” I replied
He stared at me.
“That which is, is not the piece,” I added
After much baffling conversation he eventually understood and got back into his van to take the piece back to the Tate Modern. But then tragedy struck. an armed gang had been tipped off that this multi million pound artwork was being transported to the Tate and ambushed the driver as he drove across London.
The gang disabled the van and broke open the back to find, nothing. The leader of the gang went to the driver and held the gun against his forehead.
“Look mate,” the gang leader said “we know you’ve got a priceless artwork in this van and unless you want your fucking head blown in I suggest you tell me where the fuck it is.”
“Where the fuck is it not.” Replied the driver.
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
“What the fuck am I not talking about.” Replied the driver.
BANG!
The gang leader shot the driver in the leg.
“You best not fucking play around with me, you Cunt cause ill fucking kill you, now tell me where it is.”
“Where is it not?” Replied the driver between sobs of pain.
BANG!
Again the gang leader shot him, this time in the other leg.
“Was that supposed to be some sort of joke you bastard, you laughing now?” said the gang leader.
“Look please don’t shoot me again, im trying to convey to you the piece.”
“What?”
“Try to understand, The piece is both everywhere and nowhere, that which is, is not BANG!
Now the gang leader shot the driver in the shoulder.
“Please don’t kill me, try to understand what im saying. What is the sound of one hand clapping?”
“What?”
“If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound?”
“What are you talking about?
“What did your face look like before your grandparents were born.”
“Why?”
“Please the piece is a metaphysical construct. A challenge to conventional views of Art and existence, based around idea of Zen and concepts of being and nothingness.
“Don’t insult my fucking intelligence.”
BANG!
This time the driver was shot in the head and after a few moments he died.
The gang fled and the police arrived soon after. They combed the crime scene for clues but as hard they tried they could not retrieve the piece and it was assumed the gang had made off with it. Over the next few years the police managed to track down the gang and bring them in for questioning.
“Where is the piece?” asked the lead investigator to the gang leader.
“Where is not the piece,” replied the gang leader
“Are you trying to be smart?”

The piece was unfortunately never recovered and due to complex legal issues the Tate Modern was able to retract its payment to me based on the fact the they had never actually received the piece. I tried in vain to explain to the judge that the piece was both everywhere and nowhere and so it was impossible for them not to have received the piece but he had me thrown out of the court.

I tried to reproduce the piece by my reproduction was dismissed as an inferior rip off and I was laughed out of the art world, never to return......

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I have entered into the Philosophy Blog War. So Vote For Me if you you would be so kind.

13 Comments:

Blogger Bazza said...

I think you are taking the piece out of the artworld. (I also think that sentence works on so many levels.)

11:42 AM  
Blogger TerraPraeta said...

That is hysterical I love it, Cornealius!

I am participating in a Philosophy Blog War You should stop by and put in an entry. It is NOT obnoxius and pretentious... nut it is fun:-)

Thanks for commenting at my site. I now have you blogmarked.

Cheers!

tp

11:56 AM  
Blogger Cornealius said...

Bazza:lol, thats a good one. I wish id thought of it myself

Terrapraete: Thanks, Yeah Philosphy blog war looks pretty fun, ive signed up for it.... If any one is reading this and feels the desire to vote for me, ther eis a link in the side bar :)

5:06 PM  
Blogger slaghammer said...

I have the piece sequestered in an underground bunker. Send one hundred dollars by tomorrow or I will cut off a piece and send it to you by mail.

10:59 PM  
Blogger Bazza said...

I have now put a link from my site to yours.

1:57 PM  
Blogger Allister said...

Have you, by chance, read Bluebeard?

9:36 PM  
Blogger serenity said...

Hilarious story, and I might add a brilliant "piece" of marketing.

"peace" and well being to you.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Cornealius said...

Slaghammer: It been awhile since i read any Zen stuff but if i remmeber correctly i think the peice is both in an infinate number of peices yet also indivisable...

Bazza: Thanks, ive got a link to you as well

Alister: No, who/what is bluebeard

Serenity: Thks Serenity... it seems flattery will get you somewhere as i now feel less inclinded to loath you :) though i still disagree with everything on your blog.

4:11 AM  
Blogger Allister said...

Bluebeard is a book my Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
I just recently finished it.
An artist has locked up his old potatoe barn (Where he created most of his works) and plans on having its contents revieled upon his death.

It was still fresh on my brain when I read your post. Great one by the way..... I am still trying to figure out how to use "Where is it not?" in my daily conversation.

8:26 AM  
Blogger Anne said...

Excellent posting. It represents the human struggle with the piece, the search for inner piece, and most of all, the great cosmic unquenchable desire to get a piece. Bravo. Pass the wine and cheese.

9:47 AM  
Blogger hydnar said...

Ahaha..that was a great entry.

I'l share you something. Hope this makes sense.I don't know if you have encounetered this already.

------------------------------

The Emperor's New Poem













Anonymous

4:14 AM  
Blogger Cornealius said...

Hydnar: Yes a great poem written in a magic ink/type font that only persons of quality can see, of cource i can see it

5:05 AM  
Blogger bradford said...

Have you seen the DVD, "How to Draw a Bunny" about Ray Johnson? . ."living at a revelatory level of living". .my balancing act was to rent "Rivers and Tides" at the same time

9:56 AM  

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