Jim Coufal

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines “curmudgeon” a crusty, ill-tempered and usually old man.

For some years, Donald Kreuger wrote a weekly column for my local paper, then the Madison County Courier titled “The Cazenovia Curmudgeon.” I admired Don as an older man of experience and dignity who had a crusty side and was very observant and opinionated about the world around him and unworried about who knew his opinions.

Don passed into the ethers, and so did his column.

The local paper may or may not welcome a new curmudgeon on a regular basis, but I’ve reached the point of being an old man, grown crusty and opinionated – while open to criticism and discussion – and write at least this one piece in the spirit of Don and other curmudgeons. (In the modern spirit, I suggest hearing from a curmudgeoness would be well worthwhile). So here I go, starting by putting my neck in your hands.

I love art, but admit to no training or ability in the field. It’s simple: I like what I like, whatever is said about a piece of art, acclaimed or degraded. Our Cazenovia Stone Quarry Art Park is commonly acclaimed, yet when I drive by it, I want to cry and laugh and cuss all at the same time.

A stack of hay bales with a wooden structure … is it art?

An old industrial piece of metal … is it art?

A field of short blue stakes (crosses?) laid out symmetrically … is it art?

So much of what I see at the Art Park can be seen by all at many farms or junk yards. If the artist is making a statement about wasteful America, it escapes me. How about you?

I used to drive by the heavy metal sculpture at Syracuse University. There was a dumpster alongside the sculpture; I wanted so much to get a large blue ribbon and put it on the dumpster, but I never did.

So, there you have it. My first brief public statement as a curmudgeon. Am I an art neanderthal? Do I stand alone? Or am I simply sharing feelings many of you also have?

Editor’s note: Jim Coufal of Cazenovia is a part-time philosopher and full-time observer of global trends. He can be reached at madnews@m3pmedia.com.

By martha

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