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10/08/2004 Archived Entry: "Lame Excuse of the Day"
Posted by CKL @ 11:11 AM PST

So there's a new mural at the Livermore public library which depicts famous people from world history, and nobody noticed that some of the names were misspelled until the unveiling. Possibly the most egregious is Albert Einstein, spelled "Eistein" on the mural.

In her defense, the artist said:

"The people that are into humanities, and are into [William] Blake's concept of enlightenment, they are not looking at the words... In their mind, the words register correctly." (as reported in SFGate.com)
Which begs the question: why didn't you misspell all the names, then? And are you saying that your art is only for "people that are into humanities," and screw all those nitpicking scientists? If so-- disregarding the bigotry for now-- then why the hell did you include Albert Einstein, arguably the greatest scientist of the last century, in your mural?

Could it be that you made a mistake? Why can't you just admit that?

Anyway. Now, after the city has offered to pay for her to fly back from Florida and correct the misspellings, the artist is refusing to do so because she's gotten some hate mail. Her official statement to AP:

"I will not return to Livermore for any reason... There seems to be so much hatred within certain people. They continuously look for a scapegoat. I guess I am the sacrificial goat."
No, actually, you are an idiot.

Here's my favorite part:

When asked whether she chose the words and names for the work or whether the city provided her with a list, [the artist] took an artistic stance in response.

"The art chose the words," she said.

Lady, please stop saying and doing stupid things before you give all artists a bad name.

This is really just pathetic. First she's a bad speller who can't own up to her faults. Now she won't fix her mistakes because, what, some people don't like her? I could understand if she'd received some death threats or something, but if that's the case, why not tell the world and get some real sympathy for yourself instead of looking like a petulant child?

This is the bottom line: misspelling someone's name is disrespectful to that person. The artist has never, as far as I can see, claimed that the misspellings were intentional. Is she saying her misguided artistic integrity is worth more than paying proper tribute to Van Gogh? Michelangelo? Gauguin? Shakespeare? I don't think so.

California state law requires that the city get the artist's permission before removing or changing her work, so that's not an option now. But here's my proposal: find another artist or designer, one who can actually spell, to create a plaque for installation next to the mural. The plaque will contain a list of all the names of the people depicted in the mural, corrections for any misspellings, and a paragraph explaining that the original artist was an unreasonable moron.

Speaking of stubborn fools, the second Presidential debate happens tonight. I'm looking forward to seeing Kerry wipe the floor with Dubya again, but even more so to The Daily Show's analysis afterward.

Replies: 2 comments

This was so funny I had to read it out loud to people in the room. I am so glad you started up the Hotsheet again CKL!

Posted by Loren @ 01/02/2005 09:28 PM PST

Posted by @ 00/00/ 00:00 PST

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Additional content copyright © 2005 by Loren A. Cheng