“I was just eating my usual 1 AM double order of onion rings, and I look up and I was just shocked” says a local greasy viewer.
There seems to be no better word to describe the installation, reaction, and cultural phenomenon of “Voyage of Humanity Vol. 3” inside of Cornell University’s Bear Necessities café on North Campus. Seriously, there really is one. Right now, the scene is mobbed in Donlon Circle, usually filled with fratboys waiting for rides and girls seeing who can wear the shortest skirts in subzero temperatures. The discovery has sent shockwaves throughout the art community worldwide, bringing in art historians and media outlets near and far, from The Cornell Lunatic (print edition) to the New York Times Fine Arts section (online edition).
Incredibly enough, the third and critically acclaimed work of art in D. O. Odler’s landmark Voyage of Humanity collection has been on display in the café for years! Even more amazing, the specimen has no protection whatsoever: no bulletproof glass, prohibited flash photography, and even the presence of food and drink near it. “Well, the maggots eat the food squashed in the booths, they don’t eat on the wall”, Bear Necessities’ head art curator and griller shouted over blasting millennium beatz. “Although one time there was a massive food fight and we were cleaning marinara sauce off the ceiling for weeks.”
“I wrote my Early Decision essay all about Volume 3, it’s such a masterpiece! To be able to further my education alongside such history and passion…ugh, I don’t know if I’m about to orgasm or go to the bathroom!” a swarmy little fuck interrupted my calzone to tell me at some point, but I didn’t get enough quotes from the art critics to finish the article. The one I did manage to snag by shouting “Kurt Vonnegut used toilet paper,” had this to say about the mural: “I’ve never seen such visceral anguish captured in a single brush stroke. The fiery reds practically jump off the canvas and into my very soul… wait, is that marinara sauce?”
For those who haven’t seen the glorious spectacle, or were among the clueless college students who never comprehended one of the few artistic triumphs of the last half-century, I’ll do my best to describe the watercolor wonder. Imagine you’ve walked nearly a mile uphill, past drag racing food delivery cars and dilapidated party houses that seem to be sinking into the ground with every thump of bass. You are cold. You are tired. You didn’t realize the party’s theme was actually “Bros Needing Shirts,” so your My Little Pony tail is dragging in the mud. Then, like a guardian angel sweeping down from the heavens, it hits you. Not the vomit, that was last block. That smell. Walking in, you see every walk of life, every expression imaginable present in this institution of life, every soul blending seamlessly into each other so that a universal zeitgeist arises and manifests itself in every nook and cranny of your very being. You feel sad and scared and hopeful, and you realize that’s what makes you human. That, my friend, is what “Voyage of Humanity, Vol. 3” truly looks like. And there is nothing nasty about that.
Matt Barker ‘19