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May 21st, 2003 Caryn B. Brooks | Miss Dish
 

Sir, How Could You?

     
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GENTLE READERS,
Miss Dish was excited when she received an invitation to an art gallery where the work in question would be an homage to food itself. As you know, food is one of Miss D.'s favorite media. And while chefs inarguably make art for the plate, there is a long history of edibles proving to be a muse superb in the fine arts. From the lush fruit draped over young men in Caravaggio's paintings to the silkscreened bite-ready Warhol burger, Miss Dish has salivated in galleries around the globe. So she put on some lipstick, pulled on her white gloves and headed over to the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art hoping for yet another positive affirmation.

Oh, but the horror.

She was not prepared for the desecration of food that awaited her. Artist William Pope.L hates hot dogs. How can you trust a man who hates hot dogs? It's simply un-American.

She entered a room that smelled like moist sweatsocks discarded after a big game. She came to discover that this is the scent of hot dogs crying. Hundreds of injured, battle-scarred, contorted hot dogs. Dead, dying, gone. In the name of art, Mr. Pope.L stabbed these innocent wieners and objectified them by pinning them to a reverse map of the United States. Sir, how dare you?

Miss Dish resisted the urge to save these hot dogs, posed against their will, and give them a decent burial that befits the dignity every wiener deserves. She resisted the opportunity to grab this big-city artist from Lewiston, Maine, and squeeze him so he would know what it would feel like to be pierced by a screw and used as a stand-in for Lincoln, Neb. She resisted because she knew that behind every monster is a monster-maker. Miss Dish had to do some detective work.

It didn't take long.

There, beneath a painting done with the blood of peanuts, was the cause. The show informs the weary viewer that "peanut butter, along with mayonnaise, milk, white bread, sugar and ketchup, were the foodstuffs of Pope.L's childhood." Of course.

Miss Dish has tried to tell people, but they don't listen. Parents today think such things as bee pollen and lentils and soy milk are the building blocks of healthy, well-balanced children, but they don't see what's missing. Let Mr. Pope.L be an example of what happens when a child is denied Fluffernutter. You can have the peanut butter. You can have the white bread. But it's the absence of Fluff that creates a rage that's hard to suppress.

Mr. Pope.L, perhaps Miss Dish can forgive you for needlessly killing all those hot dogs, for smearing peanut butter on stuffed animals, for drawing pictures on perfectly edible Pop Tarts, for situating toys so they look like they're schtupping bottles of wine. It's hard to repair a childhood without Fluffernutter; Miss Dish hopes the work of Pope.L serves as a warning.


PICA William Pope.L's eRacism. 219 NW 12th Ave., 242-1419. Closes July 26.
 
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