Education Curator Amy Herman is schooling New York’s finest to be eagle-eye detectives by teaching them to analyze scenes in Old Master paintings from the Frick Collection. Soon-to-be NYPD police captains team up and take turns describing the paintings down to the last detail. The idea behind it being that officers will be able to use these newly-sharpened observational skills to deconstruct crime scenes and identify the who, what, why, when, and where. Check out a news video clip about this new program here.
So what if we apply these new techniques to a few pieces in the Walker Art Center Collection? Here are my best attempts:
Dinos and Jake Chapman, Year Zero, 1996. Gift of Peggy and Ralph Burnet, 1996
Juvenile delinquents! These youngsters are proud and defiant, and clearly in violation of public nudity statutes. And is that their tree? Are they trespassing, too? I also have to wonder about those shoes. Why is it that these kids can’t find a stitch of clothing to put on, but they have shoes? I say bring the youngsters in on suspicion of shoplifting.
Anna Gaskell, Untitled #2 (Wonder), 1996. Clinton and Della Walker Acquisition Fund, 1998.
This scene requires immediate attention. An ambulance has to be called in now! It seems clear that the juvenile delinquents from Year Zero, in all their rowdiness, knocked Woman #1 down and she sustained a head injury. If Woman #2 hadn’t been on the scene to immediately administer CPR, this could have escalated to manslaughter. Catch those kids!
Craigie Horsfield, Klub Pod Jaszczurami, Rynek Glowny, Krakow, February, 1976, 1991. Rollwagen/Cray Research Photography Fund, 1991.
This could be where all the problems really started. A loud and rowdy party scene is in full-swing here, and it looks like everyone has been throwing back a few. If we look closely, we may be able to make out the profile of one of our Year Zero kids–like, way in the back near the upper-right corner of the image. Yeah, right there! I would bring everyone in for questioning on suspicion of getting these kids intoxicated and turning them loose to wreak havoc on trees and unsuspecting women.
It’s so clear to me now why I work in the arts and not for the NYPD.