Monday, 11 January 2021

En Avant Garde - Flash Fiction

     Hollywood had fallen as easily as a stage flat. Militias from Idaho and Montana were dispatched to de-core the Big Apple and root out every last maggot. The President was equivocal over assailing Wall Street, but they had carte blanche on deviant lawyers, journalists and artists housed in Gotham. They were also encouraged to hunt down radical Islamic terrorists who were assumed to be embedded there.

The campaign started with simultaneous assaults on MOMA and the Guggenheim. Sculptures were attacked with chisels, mysteriously transformed into harmless palette knives on first contact. Tins of house paint were hurled against paintings mounted on the walls, but some inherent shaman-artistic force bunched the paint splashes like Hokusai waves, before sending them slithering to the concrete floor, whereupon they proceeded to reproduce a variety of Jackson Pollock canvases. The only blow these crack squads landed was successfully shooting up several Jasper Johns’ Target paintings, scoring perfect bulls’ eyes. Museum curators felt this added to the paintings’ interactive spirit of the familiar, though art critics felt it merely exhibited the AltRight’s two-dimensional literalism. The discourse raged on, with this first wave of shock corps oblivious to their part in the colloquy. An Islamic Anti-Blasphemy squad came across them at the upper echelons of the Guggenheim, launched a copy of their Taliban and ISIS Guide To Perfidious Art into the gallery they occupied and then fled. The manual had just a lone page, a photograph of a stick of dynamite. The Breitbart Division mined the top story, but their hoped for Helter Skelter failed to materialise. Instead they were thrown off balance and tumbled all the way down the Guggenheim’s spiral incline and were bounced out by their own philistine perspective, followed by all the creative energy their blast had liberated from behind glass. 

They took their war to the streets, but New York’s awakened soul defied them at every turn. Broadway turned Boogie-Woogie and seethed and pulsed with animated light and color that refused to offer itself up for landmarks by which the militias could orient themselves. Other Mondrianic effects warped and disarrayed the grid pattern, so plunging the troops into anomic motion homesickness. The mid-Westerners didn’t trust the solidity of Joseph Stella’s Brooklyn Bridge, so Brooklyn remained unmolested for now. When Koons' creations walked the streets, these supermen thought them to be real cartoon characters and halted their operations to sit down and enjoy their progress, reliving their own bucolic childhoods. The sexualised scents emanating from the O’Keefean blooms that bedecked New York’s flowerboxes, made them sick just below their paunches and scores fell away invalided from the campaign with inexplicable erections. Many saluted Lichtenstein’s Flag and were frozen in patriotic Old Glory immobility. KKK Quartermasters tried to secure rations from One Hundred Cans, but they stubbornly refused to multiply in order to feed the five thousand. The image of Leutze’s Washington Crossing The Delaware employed for their banners, mysteriously transformed in NYC’s rarefied air into Colescott’s version, which saw them jumping up and down on their own cloth and setting fire to it, the only art they managed to burn throughout the whole campaign. Finally, a man in leathers was crouched crosstown, with a whip protruding from his rectum, at which point an Islamic terrorist cell fled for their lives at this visitation by Shaytan himself.  

The Young British Artists pledged their support for their fellow American BoHos. But no matter how exhausted the New York resistance were, none could bring themselves to resort to Tracey Emin’s donated bed for rest and recuperation. While Damien Hirst’s leering jewelled skulls were felt to be a hex, though the diamonds proved useful in supplementing their lasers and machine tool production in the fight against the Übermensch. Hirst’s dead shark was wheeled into a New York thoroughfare, its case opened up, but the formaldehyde just pooled in the gutter before disappearing down the sewers, while the fish itself lay forlornly in the street holding up traffic, though no one considered this the least bit surreal, nor worthy of comment. 

The Neo-Nazis retreated from Manhattan, but they had successfully liberated Marsden Hartley’s Portrait Of a German Officer and managing to overcome their own vertiginous revulsion at its bewildering Cubism, at least they could center themselves in the insignia of the German army at its heart. Thus they regathered themselves to storm Brooklyn, bolstered by reinforcements from Ohio and Florida. They put aside their antagonism with the Islamists for a joint onslaught. They dug themselves in, erecting an Eruv of gas ovens at their perimeter in order to sap the will of the besieged. However, Rothko canvasses appeared everywhere and at every angle, like a Roman Legion’s tortoise formation. The AltRight couldn’t get their ovens to work, the gas to flow, the flame to light. When they sent in their engineers, they observed how the oven doors were indistinctly and imprecisely edged, being of poor fit and allowing the chemicals to escape. The gas too had condensed into thick pigmented layers, rendering it too dense to ignite. Rothko’s hues sucked the heart and space out of them, demanding a crepuscular meditation they just could not offer up. Instead many jumped inside their own ovens and begged for combustion to take them completely away from this claustrophobic Hell. And so a retreat from New York was engendered, back to the snowy wastes of the Heartland.