Monday, August 04, 2014

Guard to Guard

"I'm watching him but who's watching me?" (Nod to Elvis Costello). 
In Madrid, I find the museum guards to be as interesting as the paintings, or more so.
These guards look ready to crack people a good one if they get too fresh with the artwork. Of course, camera eyes follow in tandem.
Joe McGeary recommended this novel to me and now that I'm back from Madrid, read it I just did: Ben Lerner's Leaving the Atocha Station (Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 2011).

The poet Adam Gordon, Lerner's doppelgänger protagonist -- while working on his "project" in Madrid in 2004 -- seems as fascinated by the guards as I am, ten years later: "[W]hat, really, is a museum guard?," he muses (page 10). 

At the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, some of the interior guards are studying and thinking as well as watching, answering questions and guarding, backed by those camera eyes scanning from above. Not a bad gig -- certainly beats No Man's Land or barbed wire-ringed trenches.

Imagine having the choice in wartime to either join the Army Infantry or become an art museum guard. . . Good choice for conscientious objectors, come to think about it.  
Sidewalk art is treated a bit differently from art in the museums. Here, the sellers are the guards and outdoor patrons can point and say, "I want that one" for a song. 

Today's Rune: Defense. 

1 comment:

Erik Donald France said...

p.s. the line can be found not in Elvis C, but in Wall of Voodoo's 'Tomorrow.'