Leah Sandler's reaction to having her art pulled from AIOP
Last year's Art in Odd Places was a beautiful thing, and a bold step forward for a downtown arts establishment known for mostly hewing to the very middle of the road. Which is why it was great, on the whole, to see real city support for such a free-wheeling conceptual mashup. But then it seems that mainstream mindset reasserted itself when some stakeholders actually saw one piece, approved for placement in the planning stages, in situ. The feminist Housewifes Collective created a multi-work installation called We Don't Like Your Tone; Leah Sandler's piece was a fairly straightforward take on Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain" (a mass-produced urinal signed "R. Mutt" that is generally regarded as the first piece of conceptual art). The mint-green toilet, lying on its side and signed "R. Muther," was located near the fountain in Heritage Square. Predictably (but really though?), there was outrage. Artists claim they were told it "looked like trash"; city representatives claimed it was all a locational mixup, fingers were pointed and accusations of bad taste and know-nothingism flew. Sandler, though, stayed cool as a cuke, merely placing signholders with well-written texts describing the removed piece and explaining what had happened, as well as observing that even 100 years later, clearly Duchamp's point still hadn't penetrated some people's consciousness. Grace under fire.