It’s all over the headlines this morning that over $600 million worth of art has been stolen from the Paris Museum of Modern Art. Now, this is not remotely funny. Art crime is a serious and growing problem, which is one of the reasons I chose to focus on it in my recent series (TAKE ME IF YOU CAN, TAKE ME TWO TIMES, TAKE ME FOR A RIDE) about an international agency that recovers stolen art. (www.KarenKendall.com)
What is funny, to me at least, is the title of the missing Picasso: Pigeon with Peas.
Since I’m highly irreverent and have heard all the jokes about abstract art that I can stomach in a lifetime, I imagine the following crime report:
“Hello, Officer? Zis is ze Paris Museum of Modern Art! We are victims of a rrrhobbery!” (Clicks and static invade the telephone line.)
“Terribly sorry to hear that, sir. What has been stolen?”
“Picasso’s Pigeon with Peas! And Olive Tree Near Estaque by Braque! And–” (more static).
“Picasso had a pigeon? Curious. I thought he only had mistresses . . .”
“It is a painting.”
“A painting pigeon, you say?”
“No, you imbecile, it is a–”
“So that accounts for some of his later work . . .”
“. . . never did care for it, myself.”
“Quel sacrilege!” (One imagines the museum staffer crossing himself.)
“A sacrilegious pigeon? Well, he should have owned a dove. Very spiritual birds, those.”
“Gaaaah! Listen to me carefully, Officer.”
“I’m all ears.” (Rolling his eyes. Clearly a crazy person is on the line.)
“A painting–by Picasso, not a bird—has been stolen from the museum. It is called Pigeon with Peas. I am faxing you a copy right now!”
“Well, why didn’t you say so?”
“Are you receiving the fax?”
“Ah, yes. Here it is.”
“Very good.” (Relief permeates the museum staffer’s voice.)
“But I’m afraid there must be some mistake. There is no pigeon in this painting.”
“It is an abstract piece, Officer.”
“I don’t see so much as a single feather.”
“Cubist, to be exact.”
“I don’t care if he painted the damn thing in Cuba. You’ve sent me the wrong photo . . .”
“Mon Dieu, you cannot possibly be this stupid! Look closely: you must at least see the peas, sir!”
“Sort of in the middle?”
“All right. I see the peas. But still no pigeon.”
The museum staffer moans, then recovers and indulges in sarcasm. “Perhaps you cannot discern the pigeon because it is MISSING.”
“Oh . . . (officer peers at fax myopically) . . . I see. I mean, I don’t. But we’re not too busy this morning. So by all means, I’ll humor you and we’ll fill out a Missing Pigeon Report.”
“With peas!” The staffer shrieks.
“Yes, yes. With peas. No carrots?”
Clearly, the museum director should have called ARTemis, Inc. immediately and hired my art recovery agents to recover the missing paintings. Don’t you agree?
KK has enjoyed using this blog entry to avoid her contracted writing this morning . . .