This is what I see in Drury’s destroyed artwork, the full title of which is, “Carbon Sink: What Goes Around Comes Around.” I cannot see that he is attacking the fossil fuel industry. There is nothing in it that suggests, for instance, that he doesn’t appreciate all the goodness that these sources of energy have brought to our culture, and he doesn’t point a finger at any particular person or company. In fact the work is (was) very beautiful in its archetypal spiral, and in the age-old wisdom in the title, that what goes around comes around. That would seem hard to argue with, wouldn’t it? So why were some so offended? Why the vitriol of defensive demands for destruction of the art? Do these people have something against the beauty of spirals or the wisdom of the ages? Is this what they are afraid of?
It appears so. Because beauty and wisdom question the use of fossil fuels. Even without the title (though without the title, who would have noticed?), this work stands for all that is being destroyed in the name of industry. And it brings up questions that the fossil fuel tycoons do not want raised. In an age where over 500 mountain tops have been “removed” (utterly destroyed) in the Appalachian mountains, billions of gallons of crude oil spilled into our oceans, and the continued burning of these fuels is destroying the capacity of the planet itself to feed and clothe and shelter us, it is important to these corporations that this beauty and wisdom not be embraced, these questions not be raised. Once raised the answers are not that difficult to come by. I will say here what Drury does not say in his artwork, that if we do not end our dependence on these fuel sources, and very very soon, it will be the end of life on this planet as we know it.
If we care about any of this, we should be thanking Chris Drury and others who raise these questions, not destroying their work and silencing their voices.