Part curmudgeonly pranksters, part dead earnest activists against the intrusion of right-wing values on the art scene, those participating in the nine-month old Art Strike have had a hard time "enforcing" their call for a three-year moratorium on art.
But earlier this month, the Albany Art Strike Action Committee garnered the support of the state Office of General Services (OGS) and Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, however unknowing this support may have been given.
When OGS removed and covered up the art collection in the Empire State Plaza (ESP) concourse, Art Strike moved in, postering the plaza and surrounding communities with a handbill declaring:
"All of the art that lined the walls of the ESP underground concourse has been removed or covered up (and hopefully soon to be destroyed) to call into question the blank emptiness of history that was previously hidden by so many bright colors and squiggly lines."
Actually, the art was removed to install a new security system, and OGS was not amused by the posters. Tom Tubbs, an OGS spokesman, said he was "awestruck" upon receiving a copy of the poster. He dubbed the poster a "terrorist note...an absurdity, filled with typographical errors and irrational charges."
Tubbs wouldn't go into the specifics of the new-and-improved security system, but did say that it would involve "all kinds of camera surveillance, and several other devices." He also said that he had never even heard of the Art Strike, nor did Dennis Anderson, curator of the plaza art collection.
All in good fun, said Neal Keating, one of three local Art Strike dis-organizers. "The intent was to suggest something so wild that, even for one moment, it would shatter the silent drone of constant alienation that permeates every aspect of life today," he said in a prepared statement.
Keating, a writer who has recently relocated to Albany from Woodstock, said that "even people in high places, whether conscious of it or not, are supporting the Art Strike." Keating challenged Cuomo to "go one step further, and never put the art back up."
Tom Gogola, Metroland, Albany, N. Y., Sept. 20-26, 1990, p. 7