Friday, November 25, 2016

The Day After (posted on 10 November 2016)

The Day After

I spent yesterday in shock that this could happen. I looked to my daughter when she woke up and I pitied the fact that her childhood would be dip-dyed with the threat of nuclear war. I cannot remember for the life of me the soundtrack on the day when I saw the towers fall, but the feeling of yesterday was similar. Yesterday, I kept hearing REM’s (Don't) “Fall on Me.” (The title is missing the “Don’t” bit which is actually quite important.) 

"Buy the sky and sell the sky”

On my Walkman, I listened to this song again and again as a kid in the mid-1980s, unsure yet of what my role in the world would be. Looking back on it, I’m absolutely sure that the lyrics of REM and The Smiths (my two favorite bands back then) informed my ways of thinking. And in reflection of "Buy the sky and sell the sky" I’m not thinking of Trump the high-rise builder, the buy-sell luxury-I’m-too-smart-to-pay-taxes guy, so much as I am of how there is so little left in the world that belongs to the public, the vanishing of public space. As my Shakespeare professor in college loved to say, and he repeated this again and again all semester long: “There are those who divide the world into two, and those that don’t.” What do we need a public space for anyway if we are not in dialogue any more?

Although I love sipping tea with like minds, those who don’t believe in the logic of numbers, the real work to be put on the to-do list is in coming into discussion with the other side, the other side being, of course, plural. The side that voted in protest, that didn’t want to elect a career politician so much as the side that embraced racism, sexism, fascism. We live in a plus-minus 50/50 world, so much has been proven by vote after vote, and just like any good relationship, when the going gets tough the tough get going: it’s time we learned how to talk. Divorce is not an option. Ignoring them doesn’t make them go away.

I love the ideals of my birth country, I love what it represents even if the reality is skewed and wicked. No country in the world has our spirit of Welcome. We are a nation founded by immigrants and that grew and grows based on the influx of always new blood. By definition, we are diverse. That is why this comes as such a shock, an absolute slap in the face. Again, the lyrics of REM waft into my head like something trying to come between me and my Calvins: "There’s a progress we have found a way to talk around the problem. Building towered foresight isn’t anything thing at all.”

When I ran out the door the other night here in Berlin to take part in an anti-AfD demonstration, it wasn’t because of my activist energies. It was because I was in disbelief that people singing the German national anthem ("Deutschland, Deutschland ueber allies….") were on my street and there was no friendly football/soccer match in sight. So near, yet so far, these people who want to build walls, who want to shut out the refugees, who scapegoat the Others (the Syrians) for all of our problems. I wanted to see them, to see who they were, to talk with them, to get into their heads so that I could begin to understand their thinking. Their numbers are legion. Over 20% of voters in neighboring Mecklenburg-Vorpommern voted AfD last election, and when celebrating German Unification on 2 October, Chancellor Merkel was boo’ed hideously by crowds telling her to “Get out” (Hau ab) as a result of her open-door (We can do this!) policy last year. My husband looked at me, warning, Be careful out there. In the end, a row of anti-riot police (imagine: Michelin men in all black) prevented me from talking to them, keeping an emptied four-lane road between “us” (the beret-wearing Che Guevaras) and “them” (whose fashions resist a soundbite). I ended up shouting across the street with the protestors of the protestors, the rainbow flag bearers, the students, I think —now— wrongly. The world is not divided into two. Let’s stop thinking that way. Let’s begin to break down the ivory towers, the towered foresight (thank you, Michael Stipe) on all sides.

see the REM video here:

Thursday, October 13, 2016

at on Mike Nelson's "Tools That See" at neugerriemschneider

At first, the objects in the eight vitrines on view in Mike Nelson’s current exhibition appear to be souvenirs from an unsellable intervention—titled Space That Saw (Platform for a Performance in Two Parts)—that took place in 2012 in a derelict former variety theater a block away from the gallery. That installation—remarkable for its utter refusal to reveal its nature as an artwork—was more like a found site, or a haunted theater silently worked upon, reminiscent of Gordon Matta-Clark’s cut-open houses. In the artist’s current show, the work is metaphysically titled Tools That See (The Possessions of a Thief) 1986–2005, 1986–2005. There’s a formal repetition here, and what seems to be a reconciliation with the materiality of art: Each of the eight vitrines is a rectangular composition of what the handyman sees—to turn Nelson’s title around—and in fact, what he uses.
Largely unremarkable worn wooden floorboards are topped with tools arranged with the attention of ikebana. The aesthetics here might be an homage to an unseen laborer: his low-seated bench, dirty work gloves, a set of handsaws piled as if in a game of pick-up sticks. It isn’t until you notice the heavy concrete base of each of these works that their contrition becomes clear. Nelson gives them that almighty quality that connotes luxury in an object: heaviness. By putting them on such pedestals he elevates leftovers from those 2012 pieces into lamentations for a now-demolished building-cum-artwork, a victim of gentrification. With an air of haunted sarcophagi, they’re pristinely guarded, although they seem to turn up their noses at the world of shiny new things.

(More on Mike Nelson's amazing Space That Saw, 2012, below this post)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

on Mike Nelson in Berlin, 2012, unpublished

The presence of absence, or the absence of presence, I cannot decide. The mantra has been running through my head since “seeing” (the first verb that comes into my head) the Mike Nelson piece at neugerriemschneider.

It’s difficult to write a review when the most basic words become prescriptive roadblocks. To call it “seeing” is troublesome. To call it an “installation” sounds old-fashioned, at this point, and to call it a “piece” is too dimished. To call it an “experience,” though broad in scope, to be sure, is not enough. It is not a happening but a place where something has happened, an experience, yes, as all art is, but rather it’s an experience of a place where something has been experienced. And it’s not even “at” neugerriemschneider, but rather “at” an off-space (two rather) on Gartenstrasse, a street nearby, though it is more “is” than “at” if you can follow my train of thought (unpacked: it’s more about what it does than where it takes place).

Let me just say it from the get-go: without resorting to hyperbole, I think Mike Nelson is making some of the most significant work of our time. It’s incisive. One of the few salient examples of negative dialectics (pardon the pompousness) to be witnessed in the past twenty years of art I’ve seen in Berlin.

There’s a comeback feeling to it. After having suffered the stress and strain of not knowing where to go with anything, it seems that Nelson’s work provides an exit out of “where to” and an entry into “where now.”

What are its claims? There’s an intensity in its subtlety, the hushed quiet that makes you listen harder, and a nothingness on view that makes you look elsewhere. But that’s not it.

There is something about Nelson’s work that is freed from the textual. You don’t need to read the press release to get into his head. There are no historical references that need to be spelled out in specific in order to have your antennae feel out the piece. There is no “painted word.”

Skeptics would say that there’s not enough artifice in it. Indeed the skeptic in me asks where can it (art) all go… after Mike Nelson?

Let’s sort out the mental baggage here. When you witness a Mike Nelson piece, you catch yourself making detours of consciousness: what was done by the artist and what was found? What is craft and what is readymade? What is uncovered, what is revealed, what is constructed, what is created (engendered, the art writer likes to say)? Falling back on the structure of thought, the exposure of an unearthed phobia and attraction at the same time. An aesthetic field under stress…

There’s the fun park element, which is not to be missed. The natural erosion of the building’s exterior, the erosion of the interior, a place that’s been sealed off, where the micro could work on the macro without the intervention of human artifice, where human neglect has allowed nature to do all of the active destruction. The hole in the ground, gated over, the place where the Gimp resides. There’s the open door to the man’s toilet, the strange markings on the wall, the staircase which is blocked by a wall of chicken wire and a locked door with an anachronistic padlock.

There’s the temptation to call it, this so-called installation, the workshop of a mad man. Indeed, one can peep through a window into a workshop, and mounting the stairs to the next floor, a theater. Everything has been abandoned, and the workshop only recently put into use. (One surmises, of course, that Nelson used it). But even in the banality of this reality, there’s a covert element: the workshop is viewed through a broken window, a pane of glass removed from a door. Its nemesis is this element of theatricality, perhaps. […]

April Lamm

(A draft completed in October 2012, unpublished)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

April's Top 13 from the Paris runways, Wednesday, September 28, 2016

If you ask me, you could pair a pair of white leather (plether?) boots with just about anything and it would look GOOD!


When Are Tits Not Really Tits But More Like a Stylist's Accessoire to Rev It Up a Bit?

This morning, after my evening dose of fashion porn via ( my question is

When did it become ok to show a woman's breasts on the runway? 

I am being sincere, not judgmental. There's usually at least one 'look' in any given runway show featuring some diaphanous material veiling tiny tits. 

Here's one of the only not black-and-white numbers from the new designer at Lanvin, Bouchra Jarrar:

Question no 2: Where are we meant to wear these without a negligee (or full-on turtleneck, for that matter) underneath? I'm trying to place it: a dinner, a cocktail party, pasta night at home? A gala event? Hardly. (Though I am sure the Kardashians can pull it off, I'm interested in a fashion historian's answer in relation to feminism. Was the first 'boob look' related to women's lib?)

ANSWER here, thanks to my friend Hans Loeffler: it was YSL in 1968. 

It was Yves who began the campaign to free the woman of her iron-clad bra and of the taboo associated with showing our (yes, albeit) tiny tits. Apparently there is a smart campaign going on out there called #freethenipple ( READ that please. Super interesting. And all very well and good, but I'm sure no one has the answer to this one:

Question no 3: Why is it acceptable to "show" tiny tits, veiled, usually, yes, and the big ones remain pornographic? 
We teenage-boobie-types have the option, so to say, of bearing them in public (if we were to wear everything that came across the catwalk, that is) but the bigger ladies don't. 

Not fair in my book. 
More on YSL's radical politics here. He was also apparently responsible for putting Naomi on the cover of Vogue. Bravo, dear Yves, rest his soul. We love you ever more. (I thought it was Imam who was the first black model on the cover, and a quick Google check reveals it to be Beverly Johnson in 1974.)

Friday, September 2, 2016

When Respecting Freedom of Choice Equates Respecting No Freedom of Choice

Mario Testino for Chanel, 1993. Did Lagerfeld make this Tschador for Chanel? I've yet to research it.

We all have to live in the borders of the boxes our dads or husbands draw for us.
—Zahra, 25-year-old Saudi woman, April 7, 2016 (taken from the Human Rights Watch website,

We find ourselves in the crucibles of conscience. The war in Syria and Iraq rages on and the picture of a boy covered in dust and blood will surely be used to fuel further military intervention. The covert arms trade will be less covert and war will be declared.

Meanwhile, Europeans find themselves distracted by a debate about symbolic dress: What should be allowed and what should be forbidden by the state? It has long been illegal to wear any garment emblazoned with nazi insignia. In Germany and France, at least. Elsewhere I wouldn’t know. Perhaps it is seen as “freedom of expression” in other countries.

The sensationalist snapshots of women in the being forced to strip off their banned burkinis in the south of France confused the matter at hand in Germany altogether. But apparently, here in Germany, there are only some 100 wearers of the blue Afghani burka (a far cry from a burkini) which has come to be synonymous with the Saudi black “full ninja” niqab or abaya.

Recently the Foreign Ministry made the proposal that burkas and niqabs be banned from schools and public transportation.  It set off a furor of ignorance, of purported left-thinking proponents proclaiming freedom of choice, freedom of expression: let the woman decide! But the burka and niqab are not cultural accessories that a woman simply choses like a fedora or faux fur stole. The women who wear them (largely) are not wearing them by choice. The burka “fashion” is no fashion. It is a symbol of repression. It is a walking-talking cloak that signifies a human being hidden underneath who needs permission of her male guardian before she does anything. 

Even if that means release from prison. 

After serving a sentence, for example, for having accused her husband of rape.

There are those women, of course, that say that the burka/niqab makes them feel safe. Consequently, there are those that say we should allow them to feel safe. But shouldn’t we be getting to the root of their not feeling safe? How will they ever feel safe if they are always a part of the subaltern?

If this is not enough to convince you of the moral imperative of a burka/niqab ban, let’s move the argument to a very basic level, a basic human need to feed. What woman, tell me, in their right mind would willingly deny themselves access to food and water when outside the house? We don’t have curtained off areas of restaurants, as they do in Saudia Arabia, for families so that the female population of those families don’t have to starve while out of the house. That a simple fact that should be enough to convince any “politically correct” adherents that we should and must dictate (here in Germany, yes) these so-called “fashion” choices of others. Even if that means only 100 women here in Germany, we still must act on their behalf.

To hammer it in: to say that we should and must respect the religious garb of others, that we cannot impose our (free- wheeling bikini) culture onto theirs, that we have to let those women make their own initiative to remove their burkas is akin to saying Jews could have made their own initiative to get the hell out of hell, that they could have simply bought a train ticket in 1938, that they could have made a “choice” in leaving Germany before it was too late. (Need we be reminded of the current quotas in accepting refugees? How are you meant to get out if no one will let you in? see Or to put it another way: what if Abraham Lincoln had left it to the plantation owners to decide whether or not slavery should be legal? “Let the muslims decide on what they want to wear. We cannot mess with their religion.” With a burka/niqab ban we are not even doing that. Leftist thinking here is akin to thinking that the slaves could have simply left their masters.

In the fashion world it is oft said now that the 1990s are making a comeback. But with the trashy slacker style (dresses over jeans, combat boots with long flowery skirts, all fine and good), the idiotic ideology need not follow suit. I mean the advent of Political Correctness. What was intended to help us sensitize to Otherness as ok and no-need-for-conformity here ended up being a means of censorship to any loud-mouthed opinion at all. Repeatedly I find myself amongst friends who say that we cannot dictate their fashion. Repeatedly I say: can we stop and think about this? What are we supporting when we tacitly support a woman’s “decision” to wear a burka?

Apropos other discussions out there: I find the comparisons of burkinis to wetsuits an insult to our collective intelligence. Even a comparison of a burkini to the habit of a nun is outrageously stupid. Nuns eat in public (and here I add a religious expletive: for Christ’s sake). 

Let this be said: Burkas are not banned in banks. The day will come when a band of bandit burka wearers will rob those banks. The big banks that reap in the profits of covert arms trade fueling the fury of the Middle East. Then and only then will we have a truly enforced burka-niqab ban in all countries of the world.

A ban is not a right-wing, anti-immigrant, lack-of-respect for another’s culture thing. A ban in Germany demonstrates quite forcefully to the world that we are different yes: we believe in equality, that the female sex does, in fact, have a right to eat and drink in public. The female sex does have a right to drive, a right to work, a right equal wages, a right to exit prison without the permission of her guardian. 

If we allow the burka/niqab we are complicit with a regime of terror: keep the woman in her solipsistic tent as if she were in a protective bubble. (Protected from mosquitos and machos alike.)


As long as we cannot see into the windows of the soul, into the eyes of this tent-wearer, she remains a non-entity. Someone whose “cultural-religious” wishes, we politically-correct (stupidly) proclaim, we should respect, when it is in fact her rights as a human that we must stand up for.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Make Purple Great Again

 The Color Purple

Purple is the color of fairy tales, of magicians. At this point in time, these are the only things we can still hope for.

The color purple — or the one known to specialists as 2715 Pantone — was not that favored by the late, great Prince. No, the purple soon to make a real comeback is not that of hyacinths or royalty, but rather the pinkish purple hue usually relegated to old ladies. I don’t know why you find so many old-lady sweaters in that hue. You just do. But imagine it paired with beige, nude, pale blue, or burgundy (like Alexis, below, on Dynasty, in a pencil skirt unseen here but intuited, for sure) — and then “let’s go crazy” and put that purple with a “little red corvette” red. Owa. I think I love you.

Now that he is dead —the Prince, not the King, but I think the King favored a purple cape at some point in his career — it’s forced me to rethink the reasons why I love this color so. Not because it’s just the odd-man-out of purples, but maybe because it represents many of the things that Prince was: ambivalent, oversexed, coy, the female male. Prince is so today (and yesterday). So Caitlin Jenner, so unlike Caitlin Jenner. He was a man who totally felt well within his skin of being a man dressed much like a woman. He loved ruffles, satin, shiny things, tight things, and he loved to show off that tiny taught physique of his. (According to Madonna, who had a brief fling with him, according to People mag, in 1985, he was so concerned about his figure that he refused to eat.)

Breaking dress codes used to come with harsh penalties. If you were a merchant in Henry VIII’s reign, you could be fined and sent to prison for wearing purple. Would it were so easy to put Bush and Blair into flashy satin purple suits and put them in prison, for just a spell, even, and then the world might begin to heal, just a bit. Maybe we need some more flying Purple People Eaters out there. First course, Bush and Blair, second course: Edogan!

The coming season, this Fall 2016 I mean, the shows we watched back in February, it seemed that many designers had their token purple garment. It jarred me when I first took note at  Michael Kors in New York. (

 As for perfect purple-combo cues, found at Mitte’s much-favored SCHWARZHOGERZEIL, Carven has combined it here with (owa) orange or a red-corvette purse (especially good with those royal blue shoes and patterned socks):

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by purple in a field and you don’t notice it.”

 and now for some (slightly jigged) purple prose from Jenny Joseph:

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on Stauffenberg gin or brandy and summer gloves and satin sandals, 
and say we've no money for butter.

Daniel Josefsohn

When I was hired in 2009 to be Vanity Fair Germany’s weekly art columnist, the ed-in-chief brought Daniel Josefsohn on board to be the photographer. Daniel and I were meant to travel the world together as the column I was writing (called Schneeball/Snowball) required that I follow the whims of the artists I would visit, a chain gang of friends, so to speak, suggesting friends.

The Snowball column would have been exhausting and exciting, especially as I’d have Daniel always by my side with his wicked sense of humor. To get the ball rolling, we were booked to visit Josephine Meckseper in Zurich. One day before our trip, the snowball would become a quickly melting snowflake: Si Newhouse unexpectedly waltzed into the Berlin offices of Vanity Fair and shut the entire operation down.

Eight years later, after having completed my first stylist job for Escada, I’d only just begun to dream of the chance of working with great photographers like Daniel again. And being a stylist is a lot like being a writer, only better: out from behind her desk and interacting with the real world. Stories happen ad lib based on the characters (models and photographers) you are working with on that day. Creating a story with Daniel would have been absolutely Dada, in the best sense of the word.

I knew him primarily as a neighbor. Bumping into him at the grocery store, often with his dog Jesus and with the lady with a pug named Bonbon, he always had a story to tell. He was a superhero, a galactic star fighter, too, and I will miss him.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

on Vladimir Karaleev: a long-time love, since 2010...

While at the showroom of Vladimir Karaleev the other day, I asked him if he named his wittingly ripped-torn-shorn pieces. The Andy, the Mickey, the Sue? (Thanks, Sam!) The tug? The yank? But wait, what’s Karaleev’s trick? How does he make a rip look romantic? How does he make it look Parisienne and not partisan New Jersey? It made me begin to think of the language used to describe so many of this year’s favorites. 

Jersey, it would seem, has taken over the scene. Of course, it’s better when it’s not just jersey, but “sheer” jersey. Or if it has an uneven hem (bad seamstress) or side vents (‘cause when you’re working it can get hot). Perhaps it’s an indicator of the “democratization” of fashion jargon. In fact, many of the recent season’s fabrics and cuts have a direct relationship to the parlance of class conflict. What we are witnessing is a subtle Bruce Springsteenization of the fashion world. It’s a way of getting a little closer to the People by wearing working-class gear, cargo pants or “distressed” leather. (Though “distressed” does sound rather Jane Austen in comparison to the ordinary “stress” of Charles Dickens.) The favored jumpsuit (or, fully ironic, playsuit) is not a far cry from a gas station attendant’s overall.

And almost everything has to be “oversized” which made me refer to a recent shopping trip as an exercise in buying potato sacks with belts. Why diet anymore if there are no zippers or seams to control our cravings for cookies? You have to be rich to wear these things. Rich people eat cookies and pay someone to vacuum out the fat out of their stubby knees. 

And those purposeful wrinkles, those ordinary indicators of a pleb, what are they called? “Ruched” indicates a puckering of fabric that looks like the ruffled seam of a lettuce leaf. “Let them eat cake,” cried Marie Antoinette, and in this case, I decry, Let them eat lettuce! Give me your tired, your poor, your Salad days, so that we working plebs can find a better way of fitting into our slouchy pants. Either way you look at it, fashion jargon seems to compensate for the guilt one might feel in a world strangely absent class conflict.

-- April von Stauffenberg, 11 July 2010

Monday, June 27, 2016

Wasting Away – or rather, Waist, go away! – in Repression Era Wear (ca 2007)

(old post, still relevant, from 2007, I think)

So there’s wasted and there’s waisted, and I cannot get enough of the high-waisted looks from those shops of others’ “waste.” I’m shopping primarily secondhand these days and what could be less wasteful and more ecologically sound than hoarding what would only fill the landfill. Shopping for high-waisted pants, you see, represents the ultimate optimism and the ultimate do-gooding. What fashion signaled the end of the Great Depression? The high-waisted roaring 40s. What’s more, you don’t have to do credit crunches to fit into them. That is, your core bank account – the piggy bank – supports your addiction to these $3.99 Goodwill goodies.

Ok, so truth be told, the idea of wearing recycled pants gives me the heebeegeebees. And though it’s never been a street name that’s sounded anything less than mangy, my pant collection is pure high street, Mulackstrasse. [Leave it to Berlin to make a high street sound so gross. Mulack? Really?] It’s what I pair up with them that’s yesterday’s goods. Recently, I found three “new” tops in my new favorite shops, used, yes, vintage, no. Silk-imitation polyester tops, wash and go – at the risk of sounding like a shampoo commercial, we’re talking about more time for travel and leisure. RTW, no ifs, ands, or buts, and if someone backs into you and your cocktail, you can always convert the goodwill shirt into a holy holed Balmain by cutting the stain out. These tops deviate from the normal button-up with flattering pleats at the collar bones and blousy arms cinched at the wrist. No removal of the shoulder pads necessary, though I’m still unsure of the comeback of the Pad. All three are in hues of nude, and though it’s tempting to say that nude is the new black, it’s not. Black is the new black, red is the new black, and nude is just an interesting side dish I’ll never tire of, like mashed sweet potatoes. Furthermore, this rosy nude evokes the era of taupe. I don’t mean to digress into a diatribe on color in the midst of my push for recession-wear, but… remember that color? It’s not one of your 64 crayons, but connotes rather the tone of a lady who means business, Rosie the Riveter business. Roll-up-your-sleeves business, yes, but just let them blush to think that you’re nude while you’re doing it.

[super fun new high-waisted bikini at H&M. Talk about a trend that lasts and lasts.]

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Question de jour: How much ass can one show?

I was in NYC to see an ass.  

I don’t want to be an ass in saying this, but there is a question in the air of late of how much ass to show.

If I trust my online shopping eye, apparently it’s where the thumb joint hits the thigh that is the magic spot.  

But for those of you who aren’t ready for the visual assault of the cheeks of Daisy Duke, my own experiment in hacking off the legs of five pairs of jeans should save you a bit of time. (Wow. That sounds like I have issues.) But really! Don’t use your own jeans. Get a secondhand pair on the baggy side. Think high waist Liz Claiborne, Lee, Wrangler, Bill Blass; think not of the thin boyfriend but the reality TV husband’s jeans. (But that leaves a large margin of error: think of jeans in which you can actually use the pockets, not a clown’s tumbledown trousers.) And when you’re ready to make your own “mini-short” (leave it to the French to come up with that brilliant redundancy and to make what was always plural into a singular), you’re legs will look automatically slimmer because you’ll be practically swimming in them!

Daisy Duke, by the way, wore her extreme shorts with pantyhose. 

But when it comes to shorts, to each his/her own sweet spot. Mine is at the tip of my index finger. Longer is even better, more daring. Long shorts are tres hip, and I predict that this mini-short biz will be short-lived indeed. Two weeks from now and we’ll all be wearing long-ass, gone-ass Bermudas. After all, unlike the mini-skirt of the 1960s, the mini-short is a far cry from liberal or ‘women’s lib.’ Those mini-short cutoffs are no less than dirty little neoliberals, which, frankly, is another term we should just completely give up on and call the ketchup the tomato fake-bake that it is. Neoliberal is another way of saying pseudoliberal. Ergo, these mini-shorts are pseudoliberal. (And here’s my battlecry for the millennial feminist: Take off your bra — put on your Bermudas! Less ass, higher wages!)
The onslaught of neoliberal Daisy Dukes in our midst aside, really, I did go (all the way) to NYC to see a real ass (again). At an art fair. (Not unusual, you say? Nah.) This one was that of the gallerist Daniel Newburg, the ass he once trucked down from Connecticut to put inside his gallery in 1994 because Maurizio Cattelan wanted it so. (Maurizio wanted it so again in 2016 at frieze. One can never get enough ass or repeating asses in art these days. Nietzsche calls it the eternal return.) 
The piece was called “Enter at Your Own Risk—Do Not Touch, Do Not Feed, No Smoking, No Photographs, No Dogs, Thank you.” (Hey… wait a minute. That sounds an awful like a warning label for any of a number of French mini-shorts out there!)
Other than that donkey munching on hay in a gallery, the only other thing in the room was a fancy chandelier hanging from the ceiling. The donkey made so much noise, Newburg was forced to close the show after a week. The donkey was returned to greener pastures and the gallerist hung up his hat for good and moved to London. 
In the meanwhile, Wake Me Up When September Ends. I only just remembered now what we Americans call them: short shorts. Now that’s a redundancy I can live with — small without being belittled, repetitive but meaningful too.