Two little boys, ages 7 & 9, came into the Museum of Art in Bangor. Have I told you this story before? They were greeted by the gallery technician, who helpfully held the door for them. Inside, the docent gave them a children's scavenger hunt, and let them loose in the galleries, even though it was posted that children must be accompanied by an adult. The went in armed with a blade, and found my piece, Rosary, on their scavenger list of things to spy. They took out some kind of a blade, sliced off eight items, and pocketed them. At some point soon after (within the hour) they arrived at the Frati Pawn Shop up the hill, and presented part of their treasure:
one peacock feather (crown only)
one "brass knuckle" (actually a paintbrush holder)
one antique key
one glass prism
one rhinestoned bow-shaped pendant
and one very shiny, bling-y Jesus medallion.
This is only seven items. The eighth one they kept as a souvenir: a brand new condom,
still in it's wrapper.* Even so, the pawn shop owner took one look at their curious loot and called the police.
The police brought the little brothers into the station and questioned them. It has been reported that they alternately claimed that they thought the museum's scavenger hunt wanted them to take the items, and also that the list of rules I printed on aluminum which accompany the piece, told them to "pick up one object a day." ONE object. I am not buying any of that nonsense, and apparently the cops didn't either. At that point the Bangor Police Chief called the Museum Director at his home, and let him know what had happened...and the museum staff still had no idea that anything had transpired.
Since I declined the offer to sue or press charges, the cops were free to sit on their hands and forget the whole thing. I was refused a copy of the police report (requested with the names blacked out) because the anonymity of the children needed to be protected (?!). I asked that the cops demand answers to three questions (How much did they think they would get, where did they get the idea to go to a pawn shop, and what kind of art do they like), and the cops refused. I was told that the parents were "not so good."
I liked my friend Autumn's idea that the kids spent their afternoons at home watching Pawn Stars.
When George and I went up to Maine to take our shows down this weekend, I was presented with a cracked plastic to-go container with my items inside, and a childishly scrawled handwritten list of contents. (Condom omitted again**) We went to the pawn shop to thank the owner, and maybe take his portrait, but the shop was closed. It looked like all he sold inside were guns and guitars, but more on that later. When we returned to the gallery to resume our laborious packing, the museum tech showed us an article in the local paper over lunch. The article recounted a crime, perpetrated by two little boys, ages 7 & 10, who had stolen a laptop from an unlocked room at the local middle school. Perhaps one of them had a birthday?
* ** The purple wrapped Lifestyles condom was one of the multiple offerings left by visitors at the RISD gallery where I first exhibited the piece two years ago. Easy come, Easy go.