The art will go on, so to speak. The Speed Art Museum recently announced plans to partner with Speedway gas stations in an art-share program while the museum is closed. Beginning in October when the Speed launches its three-year renovation, the art collections will be relocated to the walls of men’s and women’s restrooms at Speedway service stations throughout Louisville.
“We’re calling it The Speed at Speedway — it was a natural partnership,” said museum director Charles Venable at a press conference Monday. “Our art collections should be enjoyed, even when we’re closed. So now you can get some culture while you pick up that six-pack or pay for your gas. Or more specifically, while you’re taking a leak.”
One of the museum’s most prized pieces, Claude Monet’s “The Church at Varengeville, Grey Weather,” will be hung in the newly remodeled Speedway at Grinstead Drive and Bardstown Road. And Pablo Picasso’s “Woman in the Studio” will be hung at the Poplar Level Speedway.
“Gas station bathrooms get a bad rap sometimes for being filthy and disgusting,” Venable said. “But with a little artwork on the walls — bathed in fluorescent light — these spaces can transcend the stench and the urine on the seat to become a place of reflection. You’ve got the Louvre in France. Now you have the Loos in Kentucky.”
Speedway attendant Mabel Welsh is thrilled to have the art in her store. “I like to look at pretty things when I pee. It will definitely be an improvement over what’s in there now — a few phone numbers and racial slurs. I just hope nobody tampers with the art. You know … ‘For a good time, call Picasso’ or somethin’.”
But frequent customer Bud White isn’t pleased with the new installation. The construction worker spends most lunch breaks at Speedway, washing down a Ranchero Beef and Cheese Tornado with a giant Mountain Dew Code Red before hammering the john. “I like to read Guns and Ammo when I’m dropping a load. Now I’ve got this creepy-ass broad staring down at me. It’s distracting!”
He’s referring to Rembrandt’s “Portrait of a Forty Year Old Woman,” which is, in fact, creepy as hell.
Unfortunately for Bud White and other culture haters, there are more art-share plans in the works, including the perhaps poorly conceived Contemporary Glass Art on TARC Tour. The Speed predicts it will be a “smashing success.”
For more info, go to speedatspeed.com.
*This story is part of LEO’s Fake Issue.