Sunday, March 11, 2012

Just the facts, maam.

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I just read an article in the Sunday, March 11,  NY Times that describes the transport of a 340 ton boulder to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. As a transportation feat it might compare to the relocation of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse or the trucking of the space shuttle aboard a Boeing 747. For that matter, there have been numerous times when massive structures have been moved to new locations.  Heck, I find the docking of a cruise ship to be an awe-inspiring event. The NY Times states, " It was 4:35 a.m. on Saturday when the block-long transporter carrying a 340-ton, 21-foot-high boulder wrapped in white plastic pulled up in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. " The LA Times states "LACMA's monolith arrived at exactly 4:25 a.m."  Both papers proceed to give somewhat detailed stories, the NY Times stressing the actual movement of the rock, with the LA Times relating more about the museum itself. Both stories are worth reading. (NY Times here, LA Times here).

No doubt this is a news story, reported all over the place.
But is it art?  I would admit that planning out the route to get the hunk of our planet moved 60 miles and then actually moving it almost has an artistic air about it. But plunking it down in a city and calling it art? I may be naive, but art to me implies an artist, and with this boulder I do not see an artist. My neighbor is more of an artist when he mows his lawn. His patterns show creativity at times.  But moving something to a new location does not an artist make. If it did, then theft could be defended as an artistic endeavor.

The LA Times goes on to say "It will take at least a month to dismantle the centipede-like transporter with 176 wheels" while the NY Times says "the 196-wheel transporter idled there under huge spotlights".

Take note: two alleged mainstays of the US news world do not agree on the time nor the number of wheels.  At least two errors were made, one involving telling time, and the other counting.  Not over-the-top skills.

The issue as to whether any of this dwells in the world of "art" is a debate that could go on forever. Art is too subjective for anything else to result.

But the issue as to the accuracy of our news media is critical. When such blatant errors can occur on the simple things, imagine what is happening on the big ticket items. 

Our founding fathers recognized that a successful democracy required a well-informed and well-educated citizenry. I would hope that our media could step up to the plate and do a better job of keeping us well-informed. 

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