Bruce Morgan: Forbidden art at UF


Published: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 2:40 p.m.

On the UF campus all art is forbidden that is not specifically permitted. I found that out the hard way when I donated a still unfinished mosaic, marble sculpture of "damsels transforming into damselflies" and associated landscape for the otherwise dreary exterior wall of the Butterfly Rainforest, which faces the Harn.

One day while artist Marianne Lerbs was working on the mosaic, the director of the Harn happened to look out her window. Appalled to discover "unauthorized" art, she contacted the administration and the project was ordered halted.

About a month earlier during construction of the Rainforest I had been asked to move a tangled pile of plastic pipes and other construction debris stored near the Harn; not because it was a mess, but because it might be confused with modern art.

Of all of mankind's many achievements none have been more debased by "progress" than the arts. Beauty, form, and grace no longer have a place. It was recently revealed that cavemen from the late Pleistocene had a better grasp of artistic representation than many of the most prominent "artists" of today.

There is no better place to observe this phenomenon than on the UF campus where we see the "French Fries from Hell," "Mr. Potato Head", and a giant clanking piece of sheet metal called "Working Man." Worse still is what is referred to as "conceptual" art, a polite term for the placement of the preposterous upon a pedestal. Like Warhol's soup cans it is all an inside joke that you, the benighted public, will never get.

So it is that I mourn the loss of a forest grove enlivened with simple pieces of biodegradable bamboo; a joy for those fortunate enough to have stumbled upon it.

Bruce Morgan, of Archer, was the designer and builder of the Butterfly Rainforest at The Florida Museum of Natural History.

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