Vandal or art critic?
August 16, 2008
ASPEN ” Someone cut the speaker wires to a recently installed audio art exhibit outside the Aspen Art Museum on Thursday ” and again on Friday.
Shortly before the opening to the multiple-month exhibit at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, visitors to the museum noticed that two speakers on a bridge over the Roaring Fork River near the museum were silent, said Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, AAM director and chief curator.
The exhibit is a two-minute looped audio recording of Susan Phillipz singing an acappela version of a lyric ” “She’s long gone” ” by Pink Floyd band member Syd Barrett. There are three minutes of silence between each play of the recording.
“It just kind of endlessly repeats,” Zuckerman Jacobson said.
The vandal struck some time between 4:30 p.m. and an opening at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.
And, on Friday, just hours after Zuckerman Jacobson’s staff reported the incident to police, someone cut the wires again at about 5 p.m.
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“It clearly wasn’t a one-off deal,” she said.
Some 50 people, including the artist and curator, waited in embarrassing silence during Thursday’s opening as technicians looked for the source of the problem, and it was Zuckerman Jacobson who discovered that wires to each of two speakers had been cut at the base of the bridge.
Technicians had the exhibit back up and running in a matter of minutes and again on Friday, but Zuckerman Jacobson wants to get to the bottom of it.
Museum staff are busy making security upgrades that Zuckerman Jacobson wants to keep secret, and she is upset at the persistence of vandals.
The exhibit only plays during museum hours and complies with all city ordinances, she said.
She guessed that the culprit could have been a disgruntled fisherman or someone who didn’t know the speakers were part of an exhibit.
“It was a clear cut,” she said. “It was clearly a premeditated thing.”
And she didn’t rule out a guerrilla critic.
“It could be that someone doesn’t like the sound,” Zuckerman Jacobson said.
But vandalism to art is nothing new, she said.
“There have been, throughout history, attacks on art,” Zuckerman Jacobson said, citing the 1974 paint attack on Picasso’s “Guernica” among others.
She wants to find the vandal to talk with him or her about what it means to deface art.
“We want to use it as a learning opportunity,” Zuckerman Jacobson said.
Zuckerman Jacobson said she will offer a modest monetary reward for information leading to an arrest.