Hi there! Hello! You can pretend to be interested in the CNN alert on your phone, or you could look up at me, the beautiful, exquisite piece of art that just so happens to grace the front of your office building!
You may look at me and see what appears to be a granite sculpture of a tonsil stone. But I’m actually a thrilling example of very specific, mid-century modernist abstract sculpture that maybe you would appreciate more if you had paid some attention in your freshman year art history course.
I know you don’t get me, but there was once a time when people just like you would walk past and think, “Wow. That’s one heck of a sculpture. Our business must be doing really well, if we can afford something as beautiful as that!”
Back in the day, I marked the beginning of an era. I was a symbol of possibility, a glimpse into a future where shapes no longer mattered and Harry Truman was president forever. You might think I look like a gray blob, but the generations before you hailed me as the very epitome of art.
I know I’m only still here because I weigh 625 pounds and the owners of the building have better things to do than rent the equipment that is necessary to move me. So now my existence is limited to getting peed on by dogs and the occasional appreciative nod from some employee’s kid who went to art school.
I can feel that my glory days are behind me—and I know you feel it, too. That’s why you can’t bear to make eye contact with me. I’m so overwhelmingly passé, a forgotten relic of the time when TV dinners were considered gourmet and no US soldiers were in Afghanistan.
But there’s something more about me that you find disturbing: you know, in your heart of hearts, that I was once considered as cool as you could ever hope to be. Alas, my relevance has been eroded by history. Time, just as the sun and wind and rain, has torn at my very being, contributing to my current state of constant and irrevocable erasure. Even I find it difficult to believe that once, not long ago, I had a certain je ne sais quoi about me that gathered visitors from all over the office park. I drew them to me with the magnetism of Halle Berry in the James Bond film Die Another Day (2002)—and I do not say this lightly.
You do not hate me because I am ugly, or because I am a weak derivative of Isamu Noguchi’s work; you hate me because I confirm all of your worst fears. You and the supposed modernity you cling to like a child’s blanket have no chance against the black hole of time. You will fade into oblivion, just as you see my relevancy fading before your eyes. The generations that will come after you will regard your existence with the same mild hostility with which you now regard mine. You have obtained nothing. Progress is an illusion. Actualization will never come. All of life is a constant clamoring towards a meaning that evades us.
Have a great day!