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A REPORT FROM THE PHANTOM ZONE

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By STEVE AISHMAN

Every hero becomes a bore at last.

— Emerson

I have never been able to throw. And I mean anything. I can't throw a baseball, tennis ball, Frisbee, whatever. Don't ask me to toss you a pen or a coin because you're likely to have to spend more time reaching under the couch to try to find it than just asking me to walk it over to you. It's also rather dangerous asking me to throw anything in your general direction because I could put your eye out, the eye of the person next to you or just break a lamp. I don't even try to play sports where I have to throw because everyone just gets frustrated with me as they have to continually jump over fences or run across roads to retrieve my horribly targeted missiles. Dogs don't even want to play catch with me because it is simply no fun.

However, I love to watch the Red Sox. I love watching Pedroia or Youkilis make perfect throw to first base and just beat out a runner by milliseconds. The problem is that now I have to apologize for enjoying watching someone make a great throw. I have to say something like, "I know it's just a game, but I find it exciting and uplifting". If I don't, someone will attack me. Someone will say something like, "That's stupid." "Baseball is a waste of time." "If you like baseball then you're clearly sexist." Etc. Etc.

It used to be that enjoying something was a good thing. I remember when having a hero was something that was encouraged. Now if you say anyone is your hero, it opens up a floodgate of ridicule. A hero should be someone we can admire without apology, but most people have secret heroes. People we aspire to be like, but don't dare tell anyone about.

The art world is a good example of this. Who would say that Damien Hirst is their art hero? He's hugely successful and influential, but to say you want your career to be like his is an open invitation to being attacked. Marina Abramović's show at MOMA just opened and it will feature a performance piece that will be the longest that she has performed a single solo piece. I would love to see the piece, but I would never say that a performance artist is a hero of mine because so many people hate performance art (usually without seeing it) and it takes too long to defend why I love performance art. This year's Whitney Biennial is filled with great artists, but it is dangerous to say that you think of any of them as an art hero.

It's possible that there are no more art heroes (or maybe heroes at all). No Michelangelos or Rodins who it is OK to call a hero in the art world. Someone to draw inspiration from... Someone to aspire to...

Is there someone you consider your art hero? Someone you feel you don't have to apologize for liking?

If so, please list them in the comment section. (And if you're really bold... leave your name!)


Abramović image found here.
Hirst image found here.


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About Author

Steve Aishman is a former resident of the Phantom Zone. Since his escape he has been a regular contributor Big RED & Shiny.

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