Friday, December 28, 2007

The Most Disturbing Thing I Have Ever Seen

Sleeping Rat Baby © Anne Geddes
I am back in New York after seven sun-soaked days lazing around the beaches of Orange County. I am mildly resentful, but ultimately happy to be back home. The OC is all about excess. Shiny expensive cars, big hillside mansions, Botoxed and pulled faces and everyone wearing Ugg boots for one more season. Over the course of a week the gross parts become part of the perverted whole and it's hard to be moved to comment by any single excessive fragment. But, amid this ocean of excess one thing managed to rise above and hover like a grotesque surfeit island of beautifully useless swill. I speak of the Anne Geddes flagship store.

After a day spent at Disneyland (don't ask) waiting in mind-numbingly long lines to ride their latest cross-promotional brand experience, I was not to be easily aroused by marketing clutter. But, as we walked through the chilly streets of Downtown Disney I saw the Geddes store in the distance and I became transfixed by the sheer totality and audacity of her vision. Inside the store were the typical cringe-inducing photos of her Doctor Moreau-like flower and animal babies, but that was just the beginning of the Geddes merchandise empire. There were baby clothes, hats, t-shirts, maternity kits, books, and most disturbing of all, a series of plushy dolls that resembled the hybrid monsters in her photos. These dolls were all around you, eyes closed and sleeping. Or were they dead? After a few moments I began to imagine that the local Union Carbide plant had sprung a leak and these babies lay peacefully departed, the casualties of a terrible industrial accident.

Then it hit me like a store full of dead plushies; Anne Geddes is a genius and my new inspiration for pimping dry every last bit of my art to maximize exposure and profits. Now, when I close my eyes I don't just see my work hanging on gallery and museum walls, I see my own flagship store hawking the Amy Stein logoed line of hats, t-shirts, golf tees and mouse pads. I see a line of plushy deers and coyotes playfully chewing away at plushy garbage. And, I see a touring ice-show featuring a bear and a little girl tensely skating to "The Final Countdown" around a chain-linked enclosed swimming pool. The sky and my own sense of decency are my only limits.

Thanks, Anne!
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