The Slammer

Yesterday, Dan’s friend Vicki swung by the ole homestead. She has been working this year at the Saint Louis Art Museum as a security guard, also-known-as the Art Police and did she have some stories to tell. There were the usual suspects, seniors too nearsighted that they have to cross the line and get too close to read the various artwork’s labels and small children in need of better parental supervision, but beyond this class of misdemeanor infractions are a whole class of felonious crimes against art that she regaled us with. The job can get pretty boring at times, except when one of these incidents occurs. When this happens, after it has been dealt with, the best part of the job is gossiping with the other guards about what occurred, “Did you hear what just happened?” Through the course of a shift, as the guards circulate through the museum, it only takes a few minutes before they all know. One of more egregious assaults was perpetrated on the huge Moroccan doors that our friend Chris labored to restore. A boy was caught climbing these doors, when he forced opened one of its little sub-doors, breaking its latch with a loud snap. Beyond these offences is a whole class of people, nay perverts that let us say have a prurient love of art. A man lifted the skirt of the Degas sculpture Little Dancer and then looked up it. My God! She is only fourteen years old. The sculpture of Reclining Pan is always having his rather ripped belly rubbed, but the offence against art that Vicki personally witnessed was of another man sucking on the breast of a bronze statue of a nude woman. The museum’s motto is “Dedicated to Art and Free to All.” I guess that means both the good and the bad.

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