In Situ Art

As I leave my building and, for a few minutes, mingle with elementary school kids and their mothers streaming toward the entrance of the public school, before I move tangentially toward my own destination, I scan the surface of the sidewalk, much abused and colored by the dogs. On the cement, leaves that are long gone have left a mark. The marks are light-brown, like the tint of an old photograph, and only recognizable by their contours — mostly ginkgo, maple, and oak. It’s a chemical exposure, no doubt: the sun doing what suns are known to do, the whole sidewalk acting as a film, and the acid rain doing the business of development. In the end, the whole exhibit stays right where the pieces have been created, since it would be incredibly inefficient and costly to chisel them away and exhibit them in a Chelsea gallery, though these kinds of things have been done for much less spectacular objects. The difference, I suppose, is that in this case there is no identifiable auteur, since I need to exempt myself, even though, don’t you think, I might have a Duchampesque claim, in a way?

Joachim Frank