EDMONTON, Alberta–We drove in a rented car to the Edmonton Art Gallery of Alberta. To paraphrase Shakespeare, we searched all day to find it and when we finally found it discovered it not worth the search. No paintings. Just modern art featuring Canadian Jack Bush.
We refused to pay to enter a third-rate gallery.
The gallery guide noted the “double bind” of modern art: “Postmodernism both succeeds and follows Modernism. The inter-relationship of the two stresses how the succeeding Postmodernism comments on–and perhaps completes–some of the aims of Modernism.”
If that sounds confusing, it is. How can something be postmodern? In any case, so much modern art is trash. Artists today mostly elaborate badly on the modern art of painters Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol and sculptor Alexander Calder.
The downtown around the art gallery is also marred by construction traffic jams. Shameful. There are no road signs pointing to the gallery. Shameful. To those who have been there, Vancouver in British Columbia is a much better place to visit in western Canada.
We tested Edmonton again the next day, visiting the Telus World of Science. In the very first exhibit, dealing with climate change, the speaker was inaudible. Shameful. No gallery director should allow it.
Entering the science museum we found the hall blocked by kids sketching and painting. To get to the bathroom we had to push instructors out of the way. Sure, kids should be introduced to art. But they are not more important than visiting adults. Then school buses pulled in, disgorging kids who rampaged through the exhibits–again annoying adult visitors.
Turn the other cheek
One of my wife’s grandchildren plans to read the Bible from Genesis (“In the beginning”) to the last word in Revelation (“Amen”). While at lunch his 19-month-old son slapped his older brother. What should he do, the boy asked? Dad recommended that he slap him back.
I gently reminded him that that that was not the advice of Jesus in Matthew 5:39 (KJV): “…whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
We spent the rest of the lunch arguing capitalism vs. socialism. My wife’s grandson is a conservative who ignores another Jesus axiom: Matthew 6:24. (“Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”)
World motorcycle capital
The noise of trucks constantly rumbling through Edmonton day and night is disturbing. But far worse is the constant roar of motorcycles. It is an Alberta tradition going back half a century but a repellent one.
The Rebels Motorcycle Club was founded In Red Deer, Alberta, in 1962. The Rebels earned notoriety in 1976 when they battled with a Canadian Airborne regiment.
About 40 members of the regiment fought the Rebels at the club bar in Edmonton, the Kingsway Inn. The airmen wielded steel bars, blackjacks and baseball bats, interrupting a rock-band concert. The regiment lost, retreating bruised and battered.
The Rebels Club was outlawed, but other motorcycle clans were undeterred. Wikipedia cites motorcycle groups like the Grim Reapers, Warriors, King’s Crew and Hell’s Angels that periodically overrun Edmonton.
While waiting in the Minneapolis airport for a flight, a large contingent of Americans debarked from a plane: fat men and women, obese men and women, slovenly men and women–a mind-boggling cross-section of ugly America.
Jake Highton is an emeritus journalism professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. (email@example.com)