'Sleeping Fool' on KCRW ventures inside the minds of art museum guards
If you've ever wondered what goes through the minds of museum guards while they watch you looking at art, KCRW (FM 89.9) will give you a 10-minute auditory glimpse Tuesday and Friday with a radio documentary called "The Sleeping Fool."
Its creator is Sofia Saldanha, a Portuguese broadcaster who made it in 2009 while earning her master's degree in radio at Goldsmiths College, University of London. The piece won her best new artist honors last year at the Third Coast International Audio Festival, based in Chicago.
Testifying are five security folk from the Tate Britain in London, whose ruminations range from the mundane -- it's a good day job for an art-photographer; Americans tend to be the rude ones who blurt out demands for information without so much as a preliminary "hello" -- to the highly personal. One guard says the job gives him too much time to brood on his problems; another says that being around great art is a relief from his troubles. A third daydreams about making love with the subject of a Francis Bacon painting, only to be violently intruded upon by the artist.
The title comes from one guard's wish that if he could enter one of the works he guards, it would be as the blissful dreamer in Cecil Collins' 1943 painting "The Sleeping Fool."
"The Sleeping Fool" and another short piece, a fantasy in which actor Shane Conrad riffs on "The Wild Wild West," the TV show that starred his dad, Robert Conrad, are this week's selections in KCRW's independent producers' series, "UnFictional," airing Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. and Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Saldanha's piece also can be heard here.
-- Mike Boehm
Photo: "Guarded View," a 1991 art installation by Fred Wilson, features headless mannequins dressed in guard uniforms from four leading New York City museums; Wilson had worked as a museum guard himself. Credit: Fred Wilson/Pace Wildenstein, New York.