Mayor Giuliani enters Brooklyn
By Steve Martin
An exclusive essay written by actor and devoted art collector Steve Martin for The Saatchi Gallery Art Opus.
‘It’s time, Mr. Mayor.’
‘Wait,’ said Rudy, ‘I’m just getting a brush-up course on art.’
The mayor turned to Philippe de Montebello, the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
‘Manet … nude people on a lawn. Okay to like. Cézanne, daring apples. Okay to like. Picasso, very daring … nudes, everything,’ said de Montebello.
‘Picasso would be good to like,’ said the mayor.
‘Yes,’ said the mayor’s best friend, Ace. ‘It would show that you’re open to daring art, just not this CRAP!’
The mayor turned to his legal counsel: ‘Everything proceeding with the lawsuit?’
‘Well,’ said the counsel, ‘What if, and this is just a what if, what if we find a clause that says it’s okay for them to charge for specific exhibitions if they’re funded by outside sources?’
‘Hmm,’ said the mayor. ‘Public funds should never be used for art that causes parking overflow and traffic jams. It destroys the city!’
‘Very good, Mr. Mayor.’
With a ‘Let’s go,’ the mayor stood up, and the group moved out of City Hall, and toward the phalanx of Cameros that had been readied for the taking of Brooklyn.
Not having a sunroof in his car, the mayor was forced to hang out a rolled-down window, but the effect was potent. People lined the streets to glimpse him as the battery rolled toward the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
Some protestors shouted out cat-calls at the mayor. ‘Isn’t that illegal?’ he said. ‘Actually, it’s not,’ replied Ace. The mayor thought for a moment, then said, ‘What if we sprayed them with malathion? ‘Will do,’ said Ace.
They arrived at the Museum and went up the few steps to the entrance, past the security check, up the elevator to the hallowed halls, housing the big names of nineteenth century art: Heade, Cropsey, Kensett, Cole. ‘These are okay to like,’ said the mayor. ‘I believe so,’ said Ace.
Finally, the entrance to Sensation was before them. The mayor was dumbstruck. A shark was floating in the tank. ‘This is not Manet, this is not Cézanne,’ the mayor said loudly. Then quickly whispered, ‘Is it?’
The next room and the mayor confronted his destiny: a painting of a black Virgin Mary, resting on two shellacked piles of elephant dung. He almost felt his knees buckle, but they didn’t. He felt a swoon coming over him, but it passed. Ace spoke, ‘It’s oddly benign, it’s kind of sweet.’
‘Fifty lashes,’ shouted the mayor, and Ace was dragged away. Then the mayor, in a strict interpretation of the constitution of the great city of New York, shouted, ‘I am confiscating this painting in the name of the City of New York and the Mayor of Brooklyn, which I am, I think.’