It’s NOT A CORNFIELD. Oh, how could you be misled? How could you be so uncouth, so uncivilized, as to not recognize it for what it is: a work of art. Sigh. Only in California* could 28 acres of growing, living Zea mays be not a cornfield! There are two things about this that really irritate me. One, they didn’t grow edible varieties of corn. Given the poverty and ethnicity of so much of Los Angeles, why couldn’t they have grown corn that could be ground into masa harina, and either sold at a discount or given away free to the local residents? Instead it is an ornamental corn that will be converted into “biodegradable containers.” How like a politically correct, well-fed gringo. And two, do you think it is a coincidence that the funding for this project came from a foundation for which the “artist” is a trustee? It’s obvious from the website copy that she can write a well-crafted, jargon-ridden grant proposal, but it sounds a bit like the wolf guarding the chicken coop to me.
I think a cornfield in the middle of Los Angeles is marvelous. There are probably lots of people in Los Angeles who have never seen corn before, or the various wildlife attracted to it. And probably if the Department of Parks and Recreation grew a field of corn for people to eat, there would have been an outcry about wasting taxpayers’ money. Given today’s litigious society, perhaps it was deemed too risky to plant edible corn. I guess I’m not modern enough, because it strikes me that there’s something very wrong with a society that calls this art. Have we come this far from our agricultural roots, that a field of corn becomes an abstraction, a “potent metaphor . . . [for] these very questions, polemics, arguments and discoveries”? I’m thankful that my children live in an area where a field of corn is a field of corn, and if it comes to be a metaphor for something else in their lives, it will be a private metaphor built on personal associations, and not an urban construct foisted on them by a foundation-funded, overeducated artiste who knows how to play the game and milk the system. Grrrrrr!
Thanks to Alexander Trevi of Pruned for bringing this to my attention.
*Update: I take it back. New York beat them to it–with wheat.