I love and hate these.


I don’t go to museums nearly as often as I used to, so it’s not as often that my mind goes through the “art review” tumble. You know, that feeling like you appreciate something, but you also hate it, but want to understand it, but think it’s terribly low, all at the same time.

So, I went to see the Tim Burton exhibit down at LA County Museum of Art (which was pretty sweet), and as I was finishing the exhibit, naturally I was poured into the gift shop. That’s where I found these beauties. In the wise words of someone who recently said them, “I lost 5 minutes of my life thinking about them.” They’re just another kitschy, fun, silly trinket, that someone who either “gets” you, or can’t find anything else under $5, would get you. And I totally adore the idea that you would take something as mundane as the ubiquitous napkin, notorious for being the medium for genius, and “bind” them into a completely useless conversation piece that will get you to laugh for a minute, but in the end, just blow your nose with it.

So why did I get so stuck on them? Why is it boggling my mind still? It’s as if there’s a struggle inside that wants to hate the pop-up commercialism that they completely embody, while simultaneously adoring the complete mockery of it; as if the existence of these keenly bound cocktail napkins are making fun of their own existence. It’s almost so genius, I wish I had thought of it myself, yet if I ever *actually* acted on the idea, I would hate myself eternally. I mean, who would have the gaul to actually bind 3 napkins together, package them like they’re useful, and make some kind of presumption that these napkins are special, maybe special enough to presume that whatever you scribe upon them will be genius?  Or to assume that this packet would be so worth carrying around with you, it could in fact replace paper in that moment of genius? But that’s it- they know you won’t be using it for its intended purpose. It is pure kitsch.

It’s one of the freshest pieces of art I’ve seen in a while; something that got me seriously riled up. The obvious lesson that I’m taking from this is that art is everywhere, not just on the walls in the museum.