As I shiftily made my way through the Art Gallery of New South Wales, disguised as a mild-mannered reporter from a great daily weblog column, I employed the arts of deception to steal valuable paintings.
Well, not steal, as such, but appropriate their essence. In other words, I took pictures with my digital camera of the stuff on the walls.
I like to think of it as an innocent act, but there are those who would accuse me of theft – of images, of intellectual copyright, of visual blood, sweat, and tears. Or turpentine, as the case might have been. Both views of the thing are correct in some sense. I am left ot defend myself as best I might.
Firstly, I don’t seek any recompense for taking the pictures, writing about them, or showing them to you. If you wish to slip money or pizza under my door that is another thing, but it doesn’t depend on my art gallery images. Indeed, whatever money was to be made or traded has already happened between the AGNSW and whoever supplied the canvases. Sometimes I suspect that there is swizzling going on but then I am suspicious about a tram ticket…
Secondly, I don’t treat the artworks with disrespect. I don’t touch, interfere, or deface them in the gallery. I don’t decry them here in the column – save when they are patent rubbish that anyone might see. For the most part I take pictures of things I admire, not hate. Here’s a picture that looks well, of a person who looks wonderful.
I’m not above sentiment. Here’s another delightful and peaceful image. Those who would decry the status of the woman and children pictured may do so – they are long gone and cannot be injured by current bad manners.
And I don’t even sniff with disdain at what seem to be flights of fantasy or self-indulgence – as long as there is a particle of entertainment or beauty in the image.
So don’t condemn me too harshly, nor be too protective of what you consider someone’s intellectual right to some arrangement of shapes and colours. If you wish to keep your artwork as a safe as dragon keeps its’ gold hoard, do not sell it to a public gallery and do not let me in the door.