Pie are squared

May 14, 2003 at 12:00 am

In this week’s update on Detroit’s turtle graffiti saga, Detroit Artists Market Director Aaron Timlin was hit in the face with a dairy-free pie last week, at the opening of the gallery’s “Selecti” exhibit. The gallery raised $550 in a raffle for pie-throwing rights; gallery board member Tracy Lark won.

The event was an attempt to co-opt a bounty placed on Timlin’s head by Jef Bourgeau, director of the now-homeless Museum of New Art. Bourgeau and NYC graffiti artist Crash each offered $500 for anyone who’d hit Timlin with a vegan pie and document it.

The $1,000 bounty matched a reward raised by Timlin for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the ubiquitous turtle graffiti throughout downtown Detroit, including on a sculpture in front of the DAM. Bourgeau was upset that Timlin would try to police the art world; Timlin was disturbed that the artist(s) known as “trtle,” “trdl,” etc., would mark art and significant downtown buildings.

Lark says she felt “really bad” about pie-ing Timlin, even though he knew it was coming, because “you still are assaulting someone, even if it is for money.”

Or was it? Bourgeau says he won’t give Lark the $1,000 bounty, because Timlin was in on the deal. Anyway, the bounty expired last week, says Bourgeau.

Timlin, meanwhile, is footloose and fancy free, looking for elephant dung to mold for an exhibit he’s working on as an intern at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.

“Many thanks to both Crash and Jef,” writes Timlin in an e-mail. “Great guys.”

The whole turtle controversy has worked in the gallery’s favor, increasing attendance and interest, Lark says.

Next question: Will future pie-tossings become known as Trtl Whacks?

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