Thursday, May 26, 2005
There had been no room for them in the painting so the leftover models had all been collected and placed at its base. The real problem was where to put them up for the night. At the museum's closing time they all trekked up flights of Art Deco stairs to the attic where rock hard cots had been placed, imitation Bauhaus, the best the museum could do on their budget. During the day, meals were brought to them, but it became a nuisance, with visitors talking to the objects while they ate, as well as begging for the odd bite, and leaving crumbs. Soon, museum guests began crashing the modern artwork, mingling in with the small group before the canvas. The cozy club grew gradually into an unwieldy mob. They began fighting over the pieces of bread the curator brought them. Art critics who dared criticize the technique or the rendering of the creation were browbeaten to ribbons by the volatile group of seated impressionists. Some were even physically mishandled. It wasn't long before the overcrowded conglomerate became irritable and aggressive all the time. Eventually, the painting's meaning shifted. The religious symbolism weakened. The work became a treatise for man's inhumanity towards man. One day the painting was stolen, people and all. A graffiti-covered school bus was seen leaving the scene of the crime. No one bothered calling the police.