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.

 

More articles by:

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

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castille’s Killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
Gregory Barrett
“Realpolitik” in Berlin: Merkel Fawns Over Kissinger
Louis Yako
The Road to Understanding Syria Goes Through Iraq
Graham Peebles
Grenfell Tower: A Disaster Waiting to Happen
Ezra Rosser
The Poverty State of Mind and the State’s Obligations to the Poor
Ron Jacobs
Andrew Jackson and the American Psyche
Pepe Escobar
Fear and Loathing on the Afghan Silk Road
Andre Vltchek
Why I Reject Western Courts and Justice
Lawrence Davidson
On Hidden Cultural Corruptors
Christopher Brauchli
The Routinization of Mass Shootings in America
Missy Comley Beattie
The Poor Need Not Apply
Martin Billheimer
White Man’s Country and the Iron Room
Joseph Natoli
What to Wonder Now
Tom Clifford
Hong Kong: the Chinese Meant Business
Thomas Knapp
The Castile Doctrine: Cops Without Consequences
Nyla Ali Khan
Borders Versus Memory
Binoy Kampmark
Death on the Road: Memory in Tim Winton’s Shrine
Tony McKenna
The Oily Politics of Unity: Owen Smith as Northern Ireland Shadow Secretary
Nizar Visram
If North Korea Didn’t Exist US Would Create It
John Carroll Md
At St. Catherine’s Hospital, Cite Soleil, Haiti
Kenneth Surin
Brief Impressions of the Singaporean Conjucture
Paul C. Bermanzohn
Trump: the Birth of the Hero
Jill Richardson
Trump on Cuba: If Obama Did It, It’s Bad
Olivia Alperstein
Our President’s Word Wars
REZA FIYOUZAT
Useless Idiots or Useful Collaborators?
Clark T. Scott
Parallel in Significance
Louis Proyect
Hitler and the Lone Wolf Assassin
Julian Vigo
Theresa May Can’t Win for Losing
Richard Klin
Prog Rock: Pomp and Circumstance
Charles R. Larson
Review: Malin Persson Giolito’s “Quicksand”
David Yearsley
RIP: Pomp and Circumstance
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail