Area Graphic Designers Have Better Senses Of Humor Than Conceptual Artists


We haven’t seen Robert Smithson’s posthumous Floating Island in person–mommy told us to stay inside when it gets cold–but we’ve been somewhat following its trajectory (ha, get it?). Which is why we were tickled to read that someone had done something really funny about it. And made a miniature Christo and Jeanne-Claude gate. And put it on a motorboat. And followed the Floating Island boat, the Rachel Marie. From the Times story:

Approaching the Rachel Marie on its starboard side was a small motorboat, affixed to which was a replica of one of the saffron-colored gates created by Christo and Jeanne-Claude that dotted Central Park last winter. Captain Henry remembered “The Gates” and, putting two and two together, he worried that maybe the man in the motorboat was planning on boarding his little version of Central Park and planting a gate somewhere among the trees.

“He was coming up on me a couple of times,” recalled Captain Henry, the owner of Island Towing and Salvage in Staten Island and a plain-spoken 40-year veteran of the harbor. “I was trying to wave him off.”

He added, sternly: “When I saw the kind of rig he was running, I didn’t want him getting no closer. Joker like that? In a motorboat? I don’t need that.”

Hysterical. At least that’s what the graphic designers who were randomly watching out of a Dumbo window thought.

“We all thought it was kind of hilarious,” said Ian Adelman, who took some photographs.

A colleague, Elizabeth Elsas, was also hella psyched to meet the Smithson-stalking artists, but they weren’t even “friendly.”

“They said that they do some public art pieces themselves, and they thought the ‘Gates’ project was stupid and kind of wanted to comment on public art and make a joke about it,” Ms. Elsas said, adding that, apparently, this joke was not meant to be funny.

“We were laughing about it,” she said. “But they weren’t laughing.”

God, that is just SO typical.