The Canadian Art Database

Victor Coleman

The Spectre of Art (1975)
with drawings by Opal L. Nations

Strange Faeces 11, 1975
[ 1926 words ]

The Council of Elders had gathered at Berne for the Conference On Art. The visiting artists were all put up in dingy cold-waters, the critics were taken in by local art workers at home and the art administrators were comfortably ensconced in the best hotel in town.

Everyone registered at Art Conference Headquarters in a large bank early Monday morning. Colour-keyed name tags were exchanged for cash and everyone was ushered into what appeared from the outside to be a vault; deceptively, it turned out, as the interior revealed deco banks of cushions in the round, at the centre of which a small stage was set up with various obvious instruments of torture. The only living thing on stage was a large parrot cleverly disguised as a much smaller species, immediately throwing the scale factor out for even the most astute spectators.

Once everyone was comfortably cushioned around the stage, name tag attached, out went the lights, and the fluorescent tags glowed in such a way as to be the only, and seemingly quite adequate, lighting for what was then to ensue on stage.

A large glistening black man emerged from the dark brandishing a feather which he placed in the beak of the bird. Reaching beneath the circular stairs he retrieved a contrabass clarinet and took his place well back from the bird, who had assumed stiff attention, intently regarding an instrument of torture involving two rubber bicycle tires and a spike. The black man adjusted the leather thong that cupped his genitals and began to play a low, moaning guttural jazz. This music must have been the cue for the half-naked apparition that then appeared at the edge of the light that encircled the drama like an awareness. The woman, disregarding our attention, although obviously appreciative of the light — approached the bird and inserted herself in amongst the rubber inner tubes, leaning back so that they strained taut with her weight. As the baritone clarinet's nasal music crescendoed the bird made little hops along his perch toward the woman and began tickling the flesh between her breasts and near her underarms. The woman's head, thrown back in delighted mock pain, dropped its long tresses until they seemed almost to bounce off the floor as she convulsed with pleasure.

An art critic from the New World was the first to denounce this performance, disclaiming its decadence loudly the harder her nipples became. As he leapt to his feet to call for support from others less enthusiastic than himself, four civil servants rushed through the vault doors and seized him. As they led him protesting from the metal room the houselights went up and the bird, dropping his present disguise for the more specious one of Cupid, hopped off his perch and, hefting a small cross to the shoulder of his Cupid costume, led the spectators out of the vault with the repeated cry of 'Hark Ye The Next Vault'.

The artists were up, crowding towards the exit; the critics thought it was a trick, but they had to comply or be left there to ponder the consequences with the administrators, who seemed disinterested or in a trance. The Cupid led us into an underground passage to the next, octagonal, ill-lit space. This one seemed fashioned entirely of earth and was concomitantly colder, though much less austere.

The critic who had been the first one to object was hanging from the wall on one side of the room. He had been placed in an iron maiden-like jacket and braces had been propped against his cheeks, so that, should he wish to speak or protest vocally, the braces could be activated to distort what he was saying, his words emerging twisted and unintelligible, as if he had been stricken with cleft pallet or loss of language memory. His eyes searched the ceiling of the octagon for some recognizable sign.

The shoe that had hung mysteriously from the incarcerated critic had been earlier removed from the foot of the King of Norway, who had been seated in his morning chair when approached by revolutionary conceptualists interested in systems. They proposed to the King that he spend the rest of the day in a brace of their making, fashioned quickly out of five inner tubes and a guitar strap. One of the artists pointed out the significance of 'inner' as he forced the King's right arm's purple veins against his forehead. He then strapped two of the tubes about the arm and head, pulled them taut, and instructed the monarch to point. Two of the artists then forced the King's left knee against his chest and made the arrangement secure with a corseting trio of tubes held in place by the strap from a Gibson discarded by one particularly blatant conceptualist who insisted on smearing a little shit on the shoulder of the symmetrically ensconced King.

There appeared to be women amongst the revolutionary conceptualists, which gave the King pause, as one of them began to use the forefinger on his free hand to satisfy herself sexually. The King pretended to be royally bored with it all but even his well-trained composure began to deteriorate amidst the sloshing of the young artist's love juices. The second female in the determined group had fallen on her knees before the King and was whinnying and gingerly bucking at his right knee with her forehead.

'This piece is called "Measuring the King's Erection",' announced the young man who must have been the leader of the cadre. 'Part of an ongoing pure research project to be completed in 1984 with the unveiling of a Computer that will be capable of artificially inseminating a plethora of dead princesses and pretenders that will by then have been dethroned by the Marxian Detritus. We call this piece "Ecomedynomic", after the inventor of the rubber-tipped hair pin, and we dedicate it to Roger Miller, King of the Road.'

Meanwhile the leading American critic performed an intricate vivisection on a body artist.

'We must put our best foot forward,' cried the table. 'That's my line,' yelped the Administrator. 'Be still, inanimate footstool, or I'll remove the floor.'

The Administrator was about to give a speech. The auditorium was hushed as he slowly removed his clothing and placed his foreshortened leg on the scene-stealing tabletop.

'Ladies and Gentlemen', he began, 'I am honoured to address you at this important conference and humbled to be in the presence of so many great artists and critics. I myself am incapable of drawing a straight line.'

As he spoke the Administrator began to stroke his flaccid penis with his right hand, changing the rhythm of strokes as his voice rose and fell until his penis was fully erect and throbbing.

'My inabilities severely hampered my youthful ambition to become a truly great artist and I determined when entering Yale to overcome the fact by choosing Art Service as my lifelong vocation.'

Beads of sweat began to appear on the Administrator's forehead and his nipples hardened noticeably. As his enclosing fist pounded the hairy nest of meat between his legs a small bubble of clear mucous emerged from his glans. Noticing the bubble the Administrator ceased speaking and evened up the rhythm of his pumping hand, deftly forming an ever enlarging bubble which became more iridescent as he gently eased more semen from his towering rod. When the bubble was fully three feet in diameter the Administrator made a rude gesture with his hips, as if to 'enter' the bubble. There was a loud 'pop' and the Administrator's hairpiece flew off the back of his head and landed on the hardwood stage.

Strange Faeces 11, 1975

Text: © Victor Coleman. All rights reserved.

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