I keep finding beer containers positioned on top of my vines in the first row of the Merlot parcel closest to the village. I figure a simple “Don’t litter, you idiot” would fall on deaf ears. That message is already everywhere and I’m clearly dealing with an exceptional individual here…. so here’s an open letter to the person who keeps throwing their beer away in my vines.
Dear artistically-minded litterbug,
Stop leaving empty beer containers on my vines. I’m not sure of your name (yet) but I know that there will be no confusion when you read this letter. While many people litter, you are the only one who specifically places your empties on top of my vines rather than just throwing them on the ground.
Obviously, I admire your ambition. You’ve taken littering to the next level. Most of the slobs who throw their rubbish on the ground do it wherever they happen to be standing. Presumably because it would take too much of their valuable time to find a trash bin somewhere. But you don’t do it for the sake of convenience. On the contrary! You seem to go very far out of your way to litter in a specific row of my vineyard and with such style (dare I say panache).
"symbol of the intoxicating penetration of today's globalized consumer"
I see that you’re not simply dumping out empty beer bottles. Rather, you’re creating artistic installations that speak to the deepest problems troubling me in this day and age. In the photo above, I hope to have captured the courson inserted into the oversized beer bottle, symbol of the intoxicating penetration of today’s globalized consumerism.
Simple photos can’t display the emotional significance of your work. After all, a photo is only two dimensions and your art works knows no limits. Your pieces are at once sculpture and performance art, evolving over decades, polluting the environment around the installation as time erodes the label and glass, and as the bottle itself hampers the growth of the vine underneath.
"a subtle nod to the Danube School"
Even the choice of beer brands was inspired in this week’s installation. Switching from a domestic brew like Jenlain in the first week to a foreign beer like Bavaria 8.6 was the perfect way to bring attention to contemporary worries about European economics and the balance of power within the EU. The way the can is crushed and wrapped around the vine’s supporting wire, as if to strangle it and replace its natural fruit with the product of foreign alcohol, acts as a powerful reminder of the commoditization of French culture.
And the choice of the “Bavaria” brand was also a clever wink to the Danube School and the deterioration of the European landscape immortalized in the work of those Bavarian-commissioned painters like Huber and Hirschvogel.
Indeed, your work can be seen as the new marriage of landscape and street art. As street artists gain credibility in the contemporary art community, their work is no longer unsanctioned. Even as museums and art galleries are desanctified and toppled as monolithic authorities on beauty, the new temple of art is the natural world. You won’t stand for this sort of unfettered “official” narrative of beauty. You will tear it down and show nature that it doesn’t know the first thing about beauty.
And suffice it to say that the irony of leaving beer containers in a place where we make wine has not escaped me. You are a wit, sir.
But I’m not writing simply to commend you. Sadly, I have to ask you to stop your art. Because it’s simply too powerful. Too moving. I know I’m just a peasant, a simple farmer growing grapes. My work is not as romantic or as important as yours. But my family’s simple efforts won’t raise any commotion. Your life-altering master pieces are a potential threat to the way people function in that they will incite people toward revolution. And so I hope that the humanitarian in you can overcome the artistic urge to desecrate my vines with empty beer containers.