Friday, June 07, 2013

An Open Letter to Virginia Postrel

Will Van Gogh Go to Los Angeles?
I want to thank you, Ms. Virginia Postrel, for having the courage to say what so desperately needed to be said. As you pointed out in your most recent column for Bloomberg View, Vincent Van Gogh's Self-Portrait with Straw Hat really would be much better off in Los Angeles than it ever would be at its current residence in Detroit.

Many of my fellow Detroiters, of course, will disagree with this assertion. Nancy Kaffer wrote a blog piece this afternoon in which she pointed out that, on a per capita basis, there are more Detroiters who visit the Detroit Institute of Arts than there are Los Angelenos who visit the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Of course, you and I know that isn't why Van Gogh's work - and all of the other great masterpieces that Detroit has been holding hostage for generations - would be so much better off in Los Angeles. These artworks would simply get better exposure in Southern California than they ever could in the Motor City.

I mean, think of the opportunities that shipping these priceless masterpieces out west would represent to art lovers everywhere.
  • The art could be featured on NCIS: Los Angeles and other great television shows. A super villain, who would no doubt be British, could steal one of these masterpieces while in transit, only to have our heroes recover it exactly three seconds before it's sold to a Middle Eastern art dealer as part of a plot to finance another Al-Qaeda attack.
  • Or maybe it could be featured in Fast & Furious 27 - where the gang has to steal the prize of the Getty collection in order to pay for their monthly prescriptions
  • Or, if we're really, really lucky then maybe this artwork will be the star of a new reality television. Contestants could spend hours trying to paint Van Gogh's other ear onto his portrait. In order to keep it up to the current standards for television, though, those contestants will have to do so using nothing more than their genitals.
Of course, I regret to inform you, Ms. Postrel, that the biggest obstacle to bringing this art to California may actually be from Los Angelenos themselves. I took an informal poll of my friends and former classmates who live in Los Angeles.

They simply do no see you the opportunity that you and I see in this matter. Their most common reaction was, "You've got to be [expletive deleted] kidding me?"

It would appear that these individuals, including some native Los Angelenos, simply do not relish in the idea of exploiting another community's misfortune. They would rather get on an airplane, travel to Detroit, and see these great works of art where they currently are.

But don't worry, Ms. Postrel. I'm confident that after a few more columns, you'll be able to change their collective minds.

That is, of course, unless they were actually serious about boxing you up and shipping you back to Texas before you further embarrass the great city of Los Angeles.

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