Saturday, April 02, 2011

The International Art Museum of America

The International Art Museum of America has opened its doors. It is on my block, just down from cherry-red suits, long jackets and matching banded hats in the men's clothing store and the Marinello School of Beauty. Already the front windows have been tagged, etched for permanence, for a place in history.

The International Art Museum of America is Doric columns and gold leaf, a wide, shining lobby. The windows that face on the street open on a jungle scene, a Disneyland fantasy of fake moss and plastic huts, one wall covered in jungle photo wallpaper that reminds me of a neighbor's basement in Utah. The forest wallpaper behind the ping-pong table. I can see seams between the sheets of paper.

Beyond and through the jungle I glimpse more white columns and the corner of a heavy gold picture frame. Another window sends back a mirror image of me, looking through the glass, tiny and lost in a block-deep jungle.

My neighbors totter by in varying states of lucidity. A woman with ruddy cheeks jumps back visibly, shocked by the scene through the glass. She turns and I see she's only a girl, her head loose on her neck in a way I recognize, white-knuckling her way to ageless and burned out like the girl with the tattooed Raggedy-Ann face, the outline of a grin that fools you into thinking she's smiling.

Like the girl who wears the night before in the shape of a red, swollen eye. The eyeball itself looks damaged, hanging the wrong way in her face, but she greets a friend like it's nothing at all, Hey Boo, what's up, huh?

The International Art Museum of America is closed as I walk by. A neighbor from my building smiles and says Isn't it wonderful? I tell him it looks like an amusement park. He says, I don't know what it is, but I want to visit!

Is it a sign of things to come? Is money lapping at our shores, the wave rolling up from Powell, washing clean the streets? The International Art Museum of America, then Twitter, and it's only up from here, my junkie neighbors pushed out and richer, whiter people moving in.

And will rents rise so I'm pushed out with the rest? Will the line fall above or below me?

The International Art Museum of America doesn't care where my neighbors go, some other neighborhood, filthying up their sidewalks. But they're tenacious here, they've held on through more urban renewal projects than this, and they might hold on still.

A man with matted hair and one bare, filthy foot, leans in toward the "wooden" hut behind the glass. A shining line of drool hangs unbroken from his lip to the sidewalk below.


Anonymous said...

Billy the International Art Museum is a nonprofit and they are there to bring beauty and peace to the community if even for a second they are not there to raise rent or move anybody out dont worry hun. Pay the addmition come visit and then make your mind up

Scott Hasbrouck said...

My wife and I visited this museum today. Unfortunately, we realized part way through that the majority of the art work was a scam. Let me explain...
The museum starts of with a large sculptured bust of the "Buddha III," the supposed reincarnated Buddha that created 90% of the "art" in the museum. If you don't believe he is really the reincarnated Buddha, worry not, he has "certificates" to prove it. Yes, certificates.
The first work shown is actually very impressive. It is some sort of heat molded foam covered in an epoxy resin, molded to look like a cave structure or some sort of mineral deposit. Then, I read the placard. The muse, claims that this was a divinely created piece of art that is beyond the measures and understanding of science and technology, and that no other human being could possibly create it's equal in this world. Wow. We started wondering why there are no dates mentioned on any of the work. The tour volunteer informed us that this is because the artist wishes his time period to remain a mystery. 
Next came the paintings. The first level of Calligraphy art was impressive. You will quickly learn from reading the placards that the Buddha III ha son problem listing of all of his accomplishments and mentioning that he has started fifteen art schools in China. Each following a different form of art he invented.
Once you reach the "oil paintings," look closely and you will see so outer pixels. Yes, every single damn one of the paintings were printed. They are covered in a brushed on, clear silicone to make it appear as though there are brush strokes from a distance. Then, we walked back and looked at every single painting in the museum. Sure enough, every single one had pixels if looked at closely enough. Basically, the only entertainment is the shear stupidity of the claims made on the placards. If you are looking for a true art gallery, do not go here. But if you want to find some humor in the blindness of a small cult following of an egotistic fake Buddha, then enjoy the information placards next to each photoshopped print off!