FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Clinton Boisvert, Sorry with a Capital S

by ANTHONY GANCARSKI

As the 12/18 GUARDIAN put it, “Clinton Boisvert, a newly enrolled student at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, was arrested this week and charged with reckless endangerment after dreaming up one of the more provocative art projects of the post-September 11 era: placing 38 black boxes, bearing the word ‘fear’ in white lettering, around the Union Square station.”

Of course, the immediate implication from the media was that Osama bin Laden, Lex Luthor, or one of the evil minions thereof had placed these boxes of fear in the station, attacking us as terrorists are wont to do. Not to worry, though. After the station had been shut down for a few hours so the Bomb Squad could sweep for bombs, recover dropped sweetheart lockets, and the like, helpful tipsters began reporting that they had seen “two ‘artsy types’ distributing the boxes.” What stoic cool it must have taken to downgrade the incident from an Attack On Democracy By Theocratic Fascists to a distribution of boxes. But never mind all that. Once the police figured out it was two artsy types, they naturally began to “canvas local art schools” for the hopefully ersatz evildoer. At some point amidst all this canvassing, Clinton Boisvert turned himself in.

Certainly, this is the most interesting piece of conceptual art done in homage to the terrorists since the mailbox bomb smiley face a few months back, though I have yet to see some of the work Israeli Art Students have done relating to 9/11. But I’d expect that an artist with Boisvert’s audacity and vision would take the opportunity provided by claiming the work to articulate his vision. Boisvert certainly must have realized that this is a country that doesn’t play around when its court-appointed leaders decide we’re in wartime. Once Boisvert started speaking truth to power, he might as well have finished the job.

But Clinton Boisvert had no such inclinations. There are no gallery openings in the Cell Block. No time for “provocative art projects” when one is having diseases communicated to him on a hard plank in a cramped cell. In behalf of the young artist, Boisvert’s attorney claimed that “he’s only been in New York three months; I’ve been trying to explain to him what 9/11 was like here. He feels terrible. He wants to say sorry to New Yorkers, with a capital S.”

What is Boisvert sorry for, exactly? The lawyer’s implication is that he is sorry for the inconvenience he caused, or for unintentional reckless endangerment. For an artist, however, the consequences of his work are beside the point while the work is being created. The difference between a visionary and a hack is that the visionary is willing to die for his vision, while the hack is willing to cut deals with benefactors so that he can continue living. For a visionary, there is no life without truth. Boisvert’s proxy plea comes attendant with the cowardice that allows a man to cut deals, to sacrifice the sanctity of his work to save his own ass. Boisvert, like so many among us, feel like fame and material fortune suit us better than the miserable poverty to which we’ve become accustomed. The price for getting over in the exciting world of modern art is dear indeed, but apologizing for one’s work itself certainly is a nice down payment. Clinton Boisvert, welcome to the big time!

ANTHONY GANCARSKI’s collection of fiction and poetry, UNFORTUNATE INCIDENTS, is available through Amazon.com. Emails are accepted at ANTHONY.GANCARSKI@ATTBI.COM.

 

ANTHONY GANCARSKI is a regular CounterPunch columnist. He can be reached at Anthony.Gancarski@attbi.com

February 11, 2016
Bruce Lesnick
Flint: A Tale of Two Cities
Ajamu Baraka
Beyonce and the Politics of Cultural Dominance
Shamus Cooke
Can the Establishment Fix Its Bernie Sanders Problem?
John Hazard
The Pope in Mexico: More Harm Than Good?
Joyce Nelson
Trudeau & the Saudi Arms Deal
Zarefah Baroud
The Ever-Dangerous Mantra “Drill, Baby Drill”
Anthony DiMaggio
Illinois’ Manufactured Budget Crisis
Colin Todhunter
Indian Food and Agriculture Under Attack
Binoy Kampmark
Warring Against Sanders: Totalitarian Thinking, Feminism and the Clintons
Robert Koehler
Presidential Politics and the American Soul
Thomas Knapp
Election 2016: The Banality of Evil on Steroids
Cesar Chelala
Is Microcephaly in Children Caused by the Zika Virus or by Pesticides?
February 10, 2016
Eoin Higgins
Clinton and the Democratic Establishment: the Ties That Bind
Fred Nagel
The Role of Legitimacy in Social Change
Jeffrey St. Clair
Why Bernie Still Won’t Win
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Aleppo Gamble Pays Off
Chris Martenson
The Return of Crisis: Everywhere Banks are in Deep Trouble
Ramzy Baroud
Next Onslaught in Gaza: Why the Status Quo Is a Precursor for War
Sheldon Richman
End, Don’t Extend, Draft Registration
Benjamin Willis
Obama in Havana
Jack Smith
Obama Intensifies Wars and Threats of War
Rob Hager
How Hillary Clinton Co-opted the Term “Progressive”
Mark Boothroyd
Syria: Peace Talks Collapse, Aleppo Encircled, Disaster Looms
Lawrence Ware
If You Hate Cam Newton, It’s Probably Because He’s Black
Jesse Jackson
Starving Government Creates Disasters Like Flint
Bill Laurance
A Last Chance for the World’s Forests?
Gary Corseri
ABC’s of the US Empire
Frances Madeson
The Pain of the Earth: an Interview With Duane “Chili” Yazzie
Binoy Kampmark
The New Hampshire Distortion: The Primaries Begin
Andrew Raposa
Portugal: Europe’s Weak Link?
Wahid Azal
Dugin’s Occult Fascism and the Hijacking of Left Anti-Imperialism and Muslim Anti-Salafism
February 09, 2016
Andrew Levine
Hillary Says the Darndest Things
Paul Street
Kill King Capital
Ben Burgis
Lesser Evil Voting and Hillary Clinton’s War on the Poor
Paul Craig Roberts
Are the Payroll Jobs Reports Merely Propaganda Statements?
Fran Quigley
How Corporations Killed Medicine
Ted Rall
How Bernie Can Pay for His Agenda: Slash the Military
Neve Gordon
Israeli Labor Party Adopts the Apartheid Mantra
Kristin Kolb
The “Great” Bear Rainforest Agreement? A Love Affair, Deferred
Joseph Natoli
Politics and Techno-Consciousness
Hrishikesh Joshi
Selective Attention to Diversity: the Case of Cruz and Rubio
Stavros Mavroudeas
Why Syriza is Sinking in Greece
David Macaray
Attention Peyton Manning: Leave Football and Concentrate on Pizza
Arvin Paranjpe
Opening Your Heart
Kathleen Wallace
Boys, Hell, and the Politics of Vagina Voting
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail