Interview with the Curator of the 'Sensations' exhibition.
by 'Hands de Feat'
The Curator of this marvellous exhibition was at pains to explain his curatioral philosophy to our fawning reporter who is usually overcome by the presence of such exhaulted company. However, on this particular day, he had missed his lunch break and was in an altogether different frame of mind.
I was not at all unnerved and was the first to extend my hand. "Mr Curator," I smiled. I felt the man's grip, limp in a soft unsatisfied way and even in the sunlit room the hand felt unusually cold.
"You have less frontal development that I should have expected Mr .... Reporter ?" said the Curator keenly regarding my forehead.
"Really!" I took a step back.
"Yes, did you not know that a man's physical, moral, intellectual, and social development can be determined by jaw structure and forehead development?"
"Phrenology?" I replied.
"I see you do, come with me."
I followed the elegant Curator into a room packed with human skulls and lit from the ceiling by a wide skylight. Each skull was labelled and placed in its alcove. A further marker above the space recorded a racial class and a notation signifying age. I thought there must be at least four hundred. The Curator removed a specimen and offered it to me but as I took it the wired jaw gaped open caused me to gasp.
The Curator smiled.
"This is the scull of a Renaissance artist and you can see that by the prominent jaw." The Curator grasped the dangling appendage and rejoined it to its proper place so the mouth was closed and the jaw protruded. "The prognathous or protruding jaw is a sign of lower development and of a closer relationship to primitive man. The Italians, early Venetians and today's working classes are more prognathous than our modern contemporary artists, so there is a vast difference between the prognathous and the less prominent jawed modern 'cutting edge' artists. Interestingly the renassiance, high renassiance, baroque, rococco, romantic and nineteenth century realist artists are among the prognathous, whereas all artists of genius, like those who have contributed to the 'Sensations' exhibition are orthognathous and have less prominent jaw bones."
He reached for another scull," This is an example the late Venetian artists such as Canaletto, closely related to Cro-Magnon man, who, in turn, is linked to what I call the Southern European." He pointed, "that whole section over there.
"Are a scientist as well Mr the Curator?" I asked.
"Just an amateuró just collecting evidence."
"A modest amateur." I forced a smile but wished suddenly I was elsewhere with just a slice of stale pizza.
"How long did it take to collect all these?" I asked raising my eyebrow.
"With the help of many government grants, many dedicated installation artists and much money it has taken twenty years. You see Mr Reporter I am developing an index I call an 'Index of Backwardness' In it I have rated the Early American and Dutch artists close to Renassiance man and thus have links with the "backwardness" and other races of the pre modern era."
He raised a forensic forefinger and pointed. "That section there is of the lower order with skulls from the middle age calligraphists. Like the Venetians, early Americans and Dutch renassiance they can be characterised as a poetic, light-hearted, highly emotional, playful, passionate, and sentimental group, rather like children. They are completely "immature" and in need of guidance by those, like us, who are more highly developed than themselves. Their 'emotion' is not to be confused with our civilised 'reason' as it is instinctive while ours is pragmatic. Their moral condition is marked by rare and loving intercourse, marriage is a virtual necessity and incest was uncommon. Unlike our enlightened 'artists' of today most forms of vice or sexuality caused them concern ... nor did it attract their curiosity. No, they tended to have true religion and no superstition. It is curious to note they had notions of thrift, self-denial, frugality, industry, abstinence or sobriety. No wonder they were held back"
The Curator then grasped and rasied a musty scull as if all the characteristics he spoke of were obvious to any independent observer.
"Therefore, I expect, we have a great responsibility to educate them." I said.
"Perhaps," he replied as he picked out another specimen and turned it around in his hands. I noticed only that a tiny spider had made its nest in the recesses of the left eye socket.
"Note the structure of this skull, especially the jaw formation and facial angles. It can reveal the level of development in various artists," stated the Curator as he continued to revolve the piece. "Like Leonardo and other Renassiance painters they are an example of an inferior race, closer to the apes than say Rothko, Warhol or that genius De Kooning. They may not have the bestial, ape-like or demonic features of Ronald Reagan, especially the political radical, with his telltale long or prognathous jaw, but still they bear the stigmata to the phrenologists of a lower order, of stupidity, or even innocence as you can readily see."
The Curator offered it to me but I shook my head. the Curator then replaced it on the shelf as I moved towards another section where I noted a label 'artistic prostitutes'.
"Everything can be related to technology," the Curator explained. "The artists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries led a life without any real technology. They display an overall looseness in their notions as to embracing leading edge technology. We need to further disenfranchise intellectual property and give political recognition to that great institution, for the sake of which, all other institutions exist. Modern art forms the basis of all knowledge, all commerce, all industry and all civilisation. It is 'the regard for abstract art and exhibitions like 'Sensations' that makes us differ from the Ingres and other realist savages of the past."
........... I must admit, Mr editor in chief, that at this stage the lack of food that is the right of every reporter at twelve thirty or thereabouts caused me to faint and miss the conclusion of what was a most interesting conversation ....
The 'Count' (Hans de Feat) is our brave continental reporter whose main interest is free travel.