And now for something completely different

As I’ve mentioned one or two million times before, I work in a law firm. It’s somewhat different than all my previous work environments, which have ranged from a warehouse/production environment to a lot of years in Higher Education.

One thing all my jobs have had in common though, is that people will buy some ugly ass “art” and hang it on the walls and call it good. The firm is no exception, although they apparently went the route of actually having all their shitty art insured and have it inspected once a year. They’re also about to spend an obscene amount of money on having interior designers come in and choose new paint colors for the walls (undoubtedly another exciting shade of beige or ecru) and move the art around.

But I digress.

I’ve been talking for a few months now about how the world needs a blog similar to cakewrecks, but for office art1. We could call it and accept submissions from offices around the globe that have ugly art in them. Which I am starting to think is all of them.

At says I should quit talking about it and actually try it.

So here I am, taking a stab at a piece that hangs near to my cubical, and seems more like a poster than real art, but is somewhat rich with possibilities for mockery. I call it Downtown Types, because those are the words printed on the piece so that we’re not confused into thinking it’s Businessmen Next to Cactus or Two Dudes Standing Around Waiting for a Bus and Sharing a Paper.

(And I apologize in advance for the shitty quality of my phone photo. It was hard to get the picture without getting my own reflection in there and a bunch of people were walking by and giving me very funny looks2.)

Downtown Types


I want to start by saying that I don’t understand why anyone would pay actual money for this… this… “art.” Even taking into account that art appreciation is fairly subjective, I can’t begin to figure out who took a look at this and thought, “You know, this looks like something a 12 year old might create in art class, what with the wobbly knees and severely inclined angles at which those two douches in suits are standing. I should buy it and insure it and hang it up on the wall at work!”

And then there’s the question of what the artist was trying to say here. “Downtown types are faceless money-grubbers in rumpled suits that all look the same and who don’t actually contribute anything more to society than standing around and catching up on the news or the stock market. I will demonstrate their soullessness by having them be¬†indistinguishable, crooked and standing on either side of a vaguely phallic cactus! Brilliant!”

Lastly, I think this is a pretty narrow slice of what might constitute “Downtown Types.” I work downtown myself, and in addition to all the people in various degrees of business wear, I also see the homeless, people dressed to casually stroll the city streets, people working out, people half dressed, that one guy in a kilt who was playing the bagpipes, a variety of hippies and a bunch of people in various uniforms, such as cops or city workers.

You know, maybe that whole Downtown Types thing is a typo. Because I could totally see this being a better and more accurate representation of Downton Types.

Downton Type, Reading the Paper, sans Phallic Cactus


What do you guys think? About the art or the feeble attempts at wit, here. I am possibly not the person for the job of lambasting ugly office art, but man, I do see a lot of it every day. Like the painting¬†of a dead joker that hangs outside the president of the firm’s office. I am not sure what that says about him, but I can think of a few things I’d be willing to say about it.

  1. A very cursory Google F Search does not seem to pull up anything more than this post
  2. And not that I care a whole lot, but they already think I’m deranged for all the lurking I do outside of closed conference room doors, trying to determine if the room is actually empty before I go barging in.


And now for something completely different — 7 Comments

  1. I used to work in a small office run by an “art lover.” He would sometimes rotate pieces between his home and the office, but for the most part we were stuck with the same collection for the nearly three years I worked there. There was no cohesiveness to the collection, no theme. Unless “make every piece clash with the next” can be considered a theme.

    The most amazing piece hung in the hallway. Anyone that made it past the receptionist area (which did not have a receptionist, so anyone that somehow got in the door) would be treated to the splendor of this painting. It was an original, primarily in acrylic and I believe oatmeal. Yes, it was textured. But not over the whole piece, just this one lumpy mass in a bottom corner. It made no sense in relation to the image, which was wildly colored ships in a cubist sort of harbor. Not to be outdone, the frame it was in must have weighed close to 80 pounds. It was over-sized and ornate with heavy sculpting and gilded in bright gold, like what a portrait piece hanging over a castle fireplace 300 years ago would be bordered with. In short, it was terrible.

    • That sounds… interesting. Sort of like an overdone piece at my temp monkey job that included what looked like a carpet remnant. From the 70’s. Covered with plaster or something. At least it did not have the Giant Frame o’ Doom?

      Although, speaking of frames, a department I worked in at the university once paid something like 15k to have a gold plated shovel framed. It was ridiculous. Especially when they ended up hanging it near the restroom…

  2. Unrelated to bad art, but on those times when you’re wrong and there actually IS someone in the conference room, put on your best Helena Bonham Carter, give them the Overly Attached Girlfriend smile, and screech out, “And are we DONE yet?”

    I imagine it stands a good chance of cutting down on the number of people that stay past the appointed time.

    * Not that I’ve ever seen anything like this … my last employer had no hospitality at all.

    • Oh Grimm. You should come work with me. Because while I would have to be drunk to do what you suggest, I fancy I could egg you into doing it sober.

      • No bet there, though I’d be doing it more like Riff Raff from Rocky Horror. Or maybe what’s his face doing Sweeny Todd.

        “How are we today, gents? Comfy? Cozy?”

        • If you then happened to go all Sweeny Todd on their throats, I think I… might like that a little too much. I’m a horrible person.

  3. Thanks for the link. I too am amazed at the dearth of bad office examples. I would have thought entire sites would be devoted to the subject by now, like PeopleofWalmart for those who have to suffer having their eyeballs blown out of their sockets on the job. I suppose no one has ever quit their job over being subjected to art like “Men Reading Newspapers With Giant Cucumber,” but I’m sure an enterprising disability advocate could find some grounds for a successful suit.