Today I took my oldest kid to college. Sure it's only for three weeks, but there's something about leaving your kid in his own apartment in the middle of Minneapolis that screams, "Hey mom, you're obsolete."

Still, we're excited for him. He's been drawing obsessively since he was two. A full scholarship, living away from home, being at this school, plus college credits for drawing comics is everything we wished for this kid, well almost.

We're all about the self sufficiency, the chance to explore a new career, time spent focusing on his passions, that's all good stuff. But as we wandered through the college student's exhibits, we found stuff like this:

Allow me to translate the fine print. It says, "Please take a bee and glue it to the blanket."


Here's the blanket:

I'm not usually judgy about art. You wanna charge somebody four thousand dollars for a blank canvas? That's cool. You like covering your body in cheese-wiz while interpretive dancing? More power to you. You wanna play the timpani with your butt cheeks? Whatever floats your boat.

But this - this one's weird. I'm not sure I want my nearly independent kid thinking this is a viable option, because there are at least three things wrong with this scenario.

1) Using dead animals as art or decoration is just gross. It is. Yeah I know there are people out there who are gonna point out that skeleton we hang in our yard every Halloween. Yep, we do that, but it's plastic, it's not like I've got my great-great grandpa on display out there. And don't even bother with the whole, "Paper is made of dead trees, so technically all visual art is murderous." Move along Buddha. We get it, but I'm living in the real world here. Paper is not the same as dead bugs - it's not.

And let's be clear, by the time Punk and I showed up to the party, there were no whole bees left - just antennas, wings, stingers, and little unidentifiable bee crunchies. Those adorable pink tweezers she supplied made quick work of the fragile exoskeletons. I guess we should just be grateful her medium wasn't tarantulas. Or kittens.

2) Where do you even get supplies for a project like this? Assuming she didn't go out and kill 500 defenseless honeybees of her own volition, where did they all come from? They don't sell that $#!+ at Michaels. Not that I've been looking, but surely I would've noticed an endcap marked "Entomology" or "Animal Carcases".

All of this for the sake of a blanket that nobody - I repeat - NOBODY - will ever use. You could offer this thing to a shivering Sherpa on Mount Everest and he'd be like, "Yeah, no thanks, I'll just accept the warm embrace of death." If Kooka woke up to this thing covering her, she'd likely burn the house down just to escape the memory. Who the hell is this blanket for?!! And why are there two? This one is covered in houseflies. Is she unveiling a new line at Pottery Barn? Who thought this was a good idea?

3) Third - and this one is by far the most important - she didn't even do the assignment! She just assumed the rest of us would just finish up bedazzling her little quilt with bee parts. Really? Is this good pedagogy? If Punk sets out a piece of tag board and some markers with the directive, "Draw a comic book for me", is that legit? If so, I'll be starting my own gallery comprised of a washing machine and five tubs of dirty clothes; an oven with two twenties on top directing the audience to go purchase and prepare me a dish of chicken enchiladas and raspberry cupcakes; and a bottle of 409 with directions to my house.

Here's hoping Punk sticks to what he's good at - sarcasm and superheroes. Fingers crossed.


Roxann McCain said…
The one piece of art work I constantly remember at the art museum while on a school field trip with Micaela was the 5 starched blue work shirts hanging. That was it. But heck. My basement is constantly a work of art after I do laundry.
Treats said…
How awesome for Punk. I'm excited for him and thrilled he has the opportunity to make art with whatever he thinks is cool - dead bugs included.
Myrna CG Mibus said…
I honestly thought that first picture was drug paraphernalia and you were objecting to its presence at the college. I saw the syringe, I guess. Perhaps should view your blog on an actual computer screen so I can see things properly.
Lisa McDermott said… Thanks for the awesome laugh. I think we should ask the NAG if we can have gallery space for our installation. I'd have my gardening gloves and loppers because the weeds are taking over out here.

Do you think the point was that all life - even dead life - is art? I'm not so sure Rico feels super arty right now, but what do I know?