May 18, 2010

Please don't kill the neighborhood children with your sculptural evocation of the Holocaust.

"[Lewis Greenberg, 66, a] retired art teacher in Ballwin was sentenced to 20 days in jail Monday after he refused to make changes to art pieces in his front yard that the court and city officials have deemed dangerous. ... For years, Greenberg's wood, plastic, steel and aluminum structures have vexed neighbors in the Whispering Oakwood subdivision. He has said the works are a statement on the Holocaust."

64 comments:

New "Hussein" Ham said...

Isn't it funny how the most important aspect of this story - the art itself - isn't even covered.

The Dispatch paid to send a photographer to the scene with a digital camera and it has an unlimited amount of pixel space to document the art.

And yet, they don't even show it (except for a small amount unfocused in the background of a photo). What complete morons. And they wonder why they are going out of business.

It's a horribly reported story.

We cannot tell why the judge and city are in such a tizzy without seeing the art itself.

Dumbasses.

Fred4Pres said...

What? No pictures of the "dangerous" yard art? I do not care about what the artist looks like, I want to see what the hub bub is about.

HDHouse said...

Don't let the forest obscure your vision of the trees Ham.

How ripe is this for a free speech suit? Any constitutional lawyers around?

Fred4Pres said...

Here is a better picture but it is still incomplete.

You want lawn art, I will give you lawn art...

rocketeer67 said...

The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man deploying pointy holocaust sculptures in a theater and causing a panic.

Fred4Pres said...

Less words, more photographs! Are these reporters stupid?

paul a'barge said...

Here are some pictures of the art

Go look for yourself.

paul a'barge said...

Lots more, like maybe 4 or 5 photos.

Fred4Pres said...

Finally. It is like Jewish Christmas. What is wrong with this?

TMink said...

The art is not my cup of tea, but how many wandering small children from the neighborhood tresspass onto his lawn every day? What about the parents acting, you know, parental?

The "don't kill the children" quote is wonderful and surreal in its hyperbole.

Trey

Fred4Pres said...

Art Yard.

former law student said...

Have Missourians no respect for private property? From the stltoday.mycapture.com, we see the front yard is clearly posted "No Trespassing" "Keep Out."

Fences are no doubt prohibited by covenants, etc. in that subdivision. And no wonder, because a child could impale itself on a fence picket.

Fred4Pres said...

These art pieces are not man traps are they? What is this nonsense about the children. This is about the neighbors not digging the art. Fuck them. Maybe Greenberg does not dig them?

More yard art.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I suppose if they stay out of his yard, the childrens won't be endangered.

Fred4Pres said...

Ann, you should have the instapundit links come right to this site as opposed to the article. You deserve to Instalanche yourself--because your site is both art and political!

Hoosier Daddy said...

Have Missourians no respect for private property?

Private property is an impediment to the establishment of the collective.

I thought you lefties were all about that?

Joe said...

I'm reminded of the Python Whizzo Chocolate Company sketch:

http://candyaddict.com/blog/2006/10/19/monty-pythons-whizzo-chocolate-company/

former law student said...

Private property is an impediment to the establishment of the collective.

Lefties simply don't want people to die in a ditch. Even the Labourite Virginia Woolf wrote about the importance of A Room of One's Own.

former law student said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fred4Pres said...

Art!

Comrade X said...

He has said the works are a statement on the Holocaust

and that statement would be: Get Off My Lawn

campy said...

Could he have avoided trouble if he'd added a crucifix in a jar of urine to his display?

former law student said...

A sculptor's front yard in Palo Alto:

http://blog.redfin.com/sfbay/2007/08/art_attack.html

rocketeer67 said...

Even the Labourite Virginia Woolf wrote about the importance of A Room of One's Own.

With a key and lock, and enough money to support oneself. Provided, of course, at the exchequer's expense.

Brian Hancock said...

Sure, make jokes, as more and more children die every year from front yard Holocaust art in private front yards.

Have you no shame!

I think I'm going to patent "play safe" Holocasut front yard displays. I'm counting my millions now.

Joe said...

(The Not Very Libertarian one)

1) The “it’s for the chil’ren” approach is, indeed, BullSh!te. It ain’t about the children.
2) It’s about the Property Values. His “art” is Butt-Ugly. His “art” lowers my property values, assuming this guy was my neighbor. I’d go after him on that front and DO go after him on that front. The City wants to buy it and put the “art” on display on the Court House steps, a place where the 1st Amendment is on display, according to courts, fine. The city wants to buy it and put it in a museum, that’s fine, or IF a museum, private, wants to buy it, fine. The 1st Amendment works there too. And if someone objected to the art on the courthouse steps or the in the museum a la P!ss Christ, I’d be all about the 1st Amendment, then. He wants to put it in his back yard and put a fence up so everyone doesn’t have to look at it, Drive on Troop. But, this Butt-Ugly assemblage hurts the neighbors and your right of “Free Expression” ought to end when it begins to hurt my ability to re-sell my house or the “Quiet Enjoyment” of MY property.


Bottom-Line: Sod the Children. This guy has no right to ruin my view with an eye sore! He wants to make “public art” let him sell it to the public; he wants to make a statement, make it in your own back yard. Otherwise please remove the cr@p from your front yard, you’re hurting me, too.

James Wolf said...

Take a close look at his mailbox...

As my whimsy leads me.. said...

Have there been any children injured on the art? Is the safety of children the excuse to restrict property use? Does he have to cut down all his trees, too? Kids fall out of trees and get hurt, don't they? The ones who still know how to climb trees, anyway.

Why don't they just say they just admit that tacky yard decorations are only acceptable from November until January?

I didn't like my neighbor's 10 John Deere riding mowers in his backyard, so I planted bushes. I wonder, though--if you can have mechanical grass removers, why can't you have biological grass removers? (Still pondering the goat issue, Largo.)

Toy

Big Mike said...

May I translate?

"City officials said they only want Greenberg to make his yard safe in a neighborhood full of young children."

Translation: We're tired of listening to complaints from his neighbors that this guy's asinine dreck has lowered their property values to zero, and anybody who looks at the mess can see that they really have a point. But unless we make it all about "the children" then these good and voting taxpayers will get tagged as NIMBYs and we don't want that to happen.

"Greenberg calls the exhibit The Holocaust Revisited."

Translation: Including the word "Holocaust" trumps goyishe kids every stinking time.

"Greenberg has high hopes for his television appearance."

Needs no translation.

Fred4Pres said...

I will defend him, even if he has a stupid hopey chanegy mailbox.

Joe said...

Big Mike WINS!

Ralph L said...

My house is in an historic district, which allows the politically-connected to bully their neighbors using federal law and ridiculous fines. I have to get permission to cut down any tree with trunk >4".

The one thing they cannot control is the color of my house, so I might borrow this hippie's color scheme.

As my whimsy leads me.. said...

Joe,

I agree that it isn't attractive. Different areas have different rules about what's tolerable. Where I used to live, there was no zoning at all. One of my neighbors glued two used trailers together and started an unlicensed day care center, with pit bulls chained in the back yard. (Not nice, sweet pit bulls--the kind that were (literally!) used for fighting. Where I live now, there are some communities where you can't have a swing set visible from the street.

I like things somewhere in between. I didn't go after my John Deere neighbor because he also cleans everyone's sidewalks in the winter. I agree with you, that this isn't about safety. What is the limit, though, when so much is tolerated at Christmas? Can I have a pink flamingo? A totem pole? A flag? A bench? What about a dozen of each? Wind chimes?

This guy isn't being a good neighbor. People have been killed over less. I wish the articles went into more depth on the history--whether the neighbors tried to reason with him, whether he is otherwise a nice guy or a jerk, whether he wants to stick his finger in the neighborhood's eye. This stuff didn't spring up overnight.

Toy

Fred4Pres said...

Palo Alto art!

Cannon Beach art!

Crazy Art House.

Fred4Pres said...

Ann and Meade should cover MeadeHouse with ceramic kittens. Thousands of them.

Joe said...


I agree with you, that this isn't about safety. What is the limit, though, when so much is tolerated at Christmas?


Not sure, but as a SCOTUS Justice said, "I know it when i see it." This is Butt-Ugly cr@p carried way too far.

Like I said, if it was in his BACK yard, behind a fence, no problem or in a "public space" no problem.

But Butt-Ugly cr@p in your front yard to this extent is crossing a line. Not sure where to place it, but I can see a line has been crossed.

WV: "unmer"

French for dry land, Un-"Mer" (sea)

former law student said...

It’s about the Property Values. His “art” is Butt-Ugly. His “art” lowers my property values

I'm sorry, this post reflects thinking that is both collectivist and philistine. The artist must be free to express himself, and the property owner must be able to use his property as he sees fit. I recommend that this commenter read The Fountainhead twice, and Atlas Shrugged three times, for enlightenment.

Fred4Pres said...

Weeeeee

JAL said...

I can't decide who wins the thread.

At first I thought it was Fred4Pres @ 10:59. Perfect!

Then -- sigh, I saw Campy @ 12:05

And the jury was hung.

Hoosier Daddy said...

This is why I live in a community that has a vigorous homeowner's association. If you're content with mowing your lawn twice a summer or parking your RV in the backyard lawn then you might consider living somewhere else.

Joe said...

Poor FLS, please note the name, Joe (Not a Very Libertarian One) Ayn Rand is hardly my cup of tea, but if you've undergone a transformation from Liberal to Objectivist, well Ok, then.

He can create as much "art" as he can sell, which does not damage MY property....I think Ayn might not take that amiss, do you?

Again his backyard, behind a fence...OK. In a Public Space, park, court hosue steps, government building, museum...OK.

But ruining MY property values? No, but to use an Anarcho-Libertarian PoV, IF the state cannot act, or wouldn't act to preserve my values (property) I believe Ayn and Murray Rothbard might approve if I were demolish the offending art.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Joe said...


And the jury was hung.


Titus is that you? How do you know it was an all-male jury? I mean couldn't it also have been "stacked" as well as "hung?"

JAL said...

uBut Greenberg was horribly disappointed to find that the Obama Family in Hyde Park *reeeaaallly* didn't want his Holocaust Revisited lawn art in the empty lot next to them.

So they got someone to buy it for them. That fixed that problem.

He hoped St. Louis would be a good change.

wv ughticsd
What more there to say?

JAL said...

Well, it was stacked.

Then hung.

wv prerv
So there.

JAL said...

Property value is a really subjective thing.

Ask anyone underwater.

JAL said...

How many people in the neighborhodd bought houses there since Greenberg started arting his lawn?

bagoh20 said...

I've come to the conclusion that the more an artist tries to say with his art - the less I see.

Forget the children, what happens when you come home drunk to this place, staggering through the yard? It's a Vietnam flashback, dude.

E.M. Davis said...

Ham wins the thread for pointing out how newspapers regard the digital facsimiles of their dead tree versions.

Tons of digital 'space' and they show one puny photo of the offending 'art' in question.

Or, they could have embedded a video of the art.

c3 said...

Campy beat me to it!

edutcher said...

From the article, I thought it had pointed stakes in the ground, something more Fort Ticonderoga than Auschwitz. Now that I see it, I get the impression this is another "artist" who thinks he can throw anything together and it's art because he says so. If he wants to make a statement, where are the railroad tracks, the barbed wire, the gun towers?

Whatever it is, it's got nothing to do with the death camps. I agree with those who say, if it's such an important 'statement', why hasn't he offered to the city?

As it is, he has to explain it to people, which makes you wonder what it really is. I mean, is he channeling Ilsa Koch by the light of the full moon or something?

ken in sc said...

He was previously charged with denying access to officials to his property. Doesn’t that mean he could also deny access to children as well?

lemondog said...

He looks like a beefier Gandhi.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. Gandhi

former law student said...

Here's Greenberg's complaint agains the City of Ballwin.

He's lived at 977 Morena Court for the past 35 years. All of you comfortable with using Zillow, etc. can determine the effect of his art on property values. Greenberg started work on "Holocaust Revisited" in 2004, although he displayed previous works of art without complaint.

former law student said...

http://www.courthousenews.com/GreenbergArt.pdf

Pogo said...

Artists are often libertarian summer soldiers.

Freedom for them is a tool for narrow pursuits. When necessary, a hammer and sickle will do.

former law student said...

This is why I live in a community that has a vigorous homeowner's association. If you're content with mowing your lawn twice a summer or parking your RV in the backyard lawn then you might consider living somewhere else

Hoosier Daddy has given up some of his freedom for the right to force his neighbors to give up some of theirs. This is how totalitarianism starts. He who would trade liberty for some temporary (financial) security, deserves neither. Sinclair Lewis showed it was a short step from Babbitt to It Can't Happen Here.

If I could capsulize my philosophy in one sentence, this would be it:
I swear — by my life and my love of it — that I will never decorate my front yard for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to decorate his front yard for my sake.

RR Ryan said...

JAL makes the most important point. I hear this complaint all the time in my neighborhood when someone wants to open a new club or reastaurant(I live a block off of Sunset on the strip in West Hollywood). My response is to point out that unless you moved into the neighborhood before 1930, you knew what you were getting into.

Pogo said...

It's foolish to mock or decry all free associations. de Tocqueville favored such local organizations, fls.

'Local' and 'freely chosen' being the keys, for each unit of governance above that makes liberty less possible and abuse more likely.

Cedarford said...

1, Man puts up ugly art.
2. Ignores neighbors complaints.
3. Neighbors complain to town that property values are lowered, various ordinances violated.
4. Greenburg evokes the absolute moral authority of The Holocaust.
5. Town officials, now knowing that the ugly art is wrapped in the Holy Authority of the Holocaust - back off, not wishing to appear Anti-Semetic.
6. Neighbors, confronted with Absolute Moral Authority conferred on Holocaust celebration, (as well as any art for the Holy Saint Martin Luther King, or any art a Muslim wants to display) - think hard.
7. If the art does not disrespect Dr King or they have no case it is Islamophobic what other Supreme Moral Authority is left?
8. Of course! The Children! The art is an attractive nuisance done as sanctified Holocaust art or not. It could endanger the children! The children! Tear it down for the sake of the Children!

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"Don't let the forest obscure your vision of the trees Ham."

@HDHouse: Just for the record, I don't think this will stand up for one second in court. It's clear neighbors hate the art and want it torn down because it's impacting their home values.

But I'm just so irritated by newspapers which are utterly fucking incapable of doing the job they are supposed to be doing.

Everything about this story is "in the eye of the beholder." There should be 20 photographs of the art accompanying this story so readers can make up their own minds about it.

The Dispatch editor is a moron who should be fired for killing the newspaper with coverage this piss poor.

pst314 said...

"The other thing that happened to the movies was that the studio system was destroyed, meaning that instead of businessmen trying to make entertainment that people would like you have artists trying to express themselves, which is always a bad thing for art."
--Andrew Klavan, ricochet.com

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Joe said: The City wants to buy it and put the “art” on display on the Court House steps, a place where the 1st Amendment is on display, according to courts, fine. The city wants to buy it and put it in a museum, that’s fine...

If MY city tried to buy that crap with MY tax dollars, I'd be right pissed off.

- Lyssa

Sixty Grit said...

He has an Obama sticker on his mailbox. This art must stand.

WV - swayba - what a Boston sports car has.

Gary Rosen said...

I guess C-fudd finally got OR'd on that morals charge.