Mr. Meza at school

Ulises Meza (oo-LEE-sehss MEH-sah) is an artist about to receive a master of fine arts degree from California State University, Chico. His thesis show opened at the Bell Memorial Union on Dec. 1, 2005.

The show closed Dec. 6, 2005. The work comprised a dozen yellow, vaguely Neanderthal figures holding two fingers up like a salute and staring blankly at a small yellow figure with long bunny ears on a cross. Absurdist, one might say.

Upstairs on the second floor Mr. Meza had put a big bust of the Madonna, Jesus’ mother, with three more bunny-eared figures at a tea party.

Several people complained about the show apparently, trying to control the rest of us so they’ll feel better. They’re everywhere, sticking their noses into our lives, looking for their fears.

This particular variety of fascism is the crucifix people. I would capitalize the name but I don’t think they’re incorporated. The crucifix people think they own the right to use figures on a cross, unless the figure is Jesus of Nazareth and you don’t make fun of him or imply that he’s not all he’s cracked up to be. If you use a figure on a cross and it’s not the right kind of Jesus of Nazareth they are offended, and that is not their fault. Nobody gave them the exclusive right to all figures on all crosses, even little yellow ones with bunny ears. They just claimed it, like mineral rights or eminent domain.

I suppose some people thought of Jesus of Nazareth when they saw that yellow figure with the bunny ears on a cross, but having seen Spartacus recently, I thought of Kirk Douglas and all those actors crucified with him. I do not approve of mocking Kirk Douglas.

It was the crucifix people who complained, though, and the Associated Students shrewdly asked the artist Mr. Meza for a clearer artist’s statement, one that would talk about Mr. Meza’s not meaning to offend anyone and that would say clearly what the installation meant. They seemed to want him to tell them how to think about it—as satire, as commentary, whatever, just tell us what it is!

Mr. Meza had of course written an artist’s statement and taped it up for anybody to read. My understanding is that the A.S. tried mightily but couldn’t make head or tail of it, so they asked him for another one. I’m not surprised.

No, it’s not because of the sorry state of public education. I’m not surprised because I too tried mightily to understand Mr. Meza’s artist’s statement, and I couldn’t make head or tail of it either. Apparently the new and improved version wasn’t really, and rather than write a third artist’s statement with no end in sight, Mr. Meza agreed to haul his yellow plastic away. The bunny-ears people got to sit this one out.

It seems the crucifix people weren’t crazy about the bust of Madonna, either. The bust reminded me of Giety Epting’s show at 1078—with the head cover and all—but the crucifix people thought of the Mother of God, they didn’t approve of having such a notion in a public space, and they blamed Ulises Meza for their thought. Go figure.