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Thou shalt not steal … art?

Benitez, Chuy | Thursday, February 17, 2005

My last year at Notre Dame as a budding artist and photographer has been filled with the task of attempting to organize more student art exhibitions on campus. My latest exhibition is “The Juggler Show” in Reckers. It is a collaboration of the freshest work out of Riley Hall, and is both insightful and controversial with the inclusion of a politically charged silkscreen by Meeghan Conroy. Now, even if you have viewed the show recently, you might be asking, “What political silkscreen?” Well, I would point it out to you, but much to the surprise of everyone, the silkscreen was actually stolen from Reckers the weekend after it was put up. Oddly, my reaction to the stolen art did not include starting a campus-wide search and walking around campus with a bloodhound. I was actually flattered that someone was moved enough by the show to want to steal a piece. In my mind, you cannot flatter an artist more than by stealing their work, and that is simply because it means that the art struck a chord in that person so greatly that he had to steal it. Meeghan was a little surprised, but soon she also realized that she had struck a chord in someone’s mind, and in the end her work was successful. As word spread that her work was missing, young artists gasped and older artists couldn’t help but be a little jealous.Right now you may be thinking, “So this is why artists are stereotypically poor … they LOVE to have their art stolen!” Well, the truth is that we prefer to hold onto our work and not have the fruit of our hard labor stolen, but theft is out of our hands and when it happens we just have to think optimistically.Coming back to Meeghan’s silkscreen, it was a political commentary on our now president, ol’Dubya, and on a campus like Notre Dame’s we knew that there would be people who would not agree with Meeghan’s message. But did they steal it because they hated it, or did they love it? In the end, we could not decide which motivation would be more interesting, but one thing that I can tell you is that this will not keep you from seeing the work yourself. After all, the purpose of the show was to preview work in the up-and-coming issue of the Juggler. So when the Juggler does come out in the next week or so, pick up a copy, find Meeghan’s piece, and ponder, “Who would steal this?”