Friday, October 14, 2005


Pictures, attractively framed, adorn the walls of the hotel room I will call home for these two days of meeting. As hotel art goes, these samples are not unattractive; one even claims my attention and draws me closer.

The print is neither signed nor named but welcomes consideration. As I draw closer I also notice the quality of the frame. My mind suggests care might actually have been taken in the decor of these rooms.

Then I see them. Two Phillips-head screws centered, one in the top the other in the bottom of the frame.

This picture, and now I realize the other two are also, is anchored solidly to the wall with screws. These screws were not designed to be on display, much less in the midst of art.

In my mind I smoothly segue to the unattractive things of life. I think first of how easily we allow difficulty, weakness, pain, even failure and sin to soil the otherwise artful appearance of our lives.

Then I thought further. (I usually do) The screws are not bad or wrong. The impropriety here is not the screws in themselves, but that they are visible and blatantly draw one's eyes away from the beauty of the art. The utterly mundane appearance of the screws distracts disproportionately from the art.

There is much in live that is not bad, wrong, harmful, or sinful that yet does not belong in the presence of art. Our culture has generally lost the boundaries between what belongs in public and what is best left out of view.Many things, like these screws, belong out of view not because there is anything wrong with them, but simply because their use is functional and their purpose does not include being seen.

Even if the beauty is only hotel art, can we not at least hide the screws?


At 7:26 AM, Blogger gavin richardson said...

funny, i thought the screws were there to keep you from taking the art. sorta like those alarm system stickers and signs on houses & in yards. or maybe those, litter and be fined signs going into the park.

screws, signs, stickers, it's sad commentary that we need them in the first place.


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