Executive Director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts Writes "Bullshit" on a Photograph by Tony Zeh
On the opening night of Eye Lounge's annual fundraiser show, art community members mingled and snatched up small-scale works donated by local artists.
Courtesy of Tony Zeh
The show's an opportunity for the Eye Lounge to raise money, for collectors to snatch up pieces they recognize (each is signed by the artist on the back and is left unlabeled) and for artists to experiment with size and medium -- and in photographer Tony Zeh's case, message.
But Zeh's message didn't last long before he says it was defaced by the Executive Director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Bob Booker.
Zeh's photo was a self portrait on matte paper that had a large red circle and line through it: "Arizona Commission on the Arts: Visual Artists Need Not Apply," the piece read.
It was Zeh's reaction to the commission's project grant, which he applied for last year and was turned down for. He says he feels the process was unfair and based on a skewed panel. (The majority of the jury was of a literary background, and the majority of the grants given were to local writers.)
"I decided to make a piece in response to that," Zeh says. "I went ahead and made variations to the image, and put it in the show as a commentary piece. I just wanted to poke fun at the situation and have a conversation."
On Friday night, Zeh was talking to someone at Eye Lounge when he says he turned around and saw Booker writing on his photograph -- "BULLSHIT" Booker wrote over the red circle before signing his name and putting the piece back on the wall.
Both Zeh and Booker admit the atmosphere was a little crazy. Booker says he had talked to Zeh a few times before writing on the photograph at Eye Lounge. And Zeh says he had no idea it was going to happen and was pulled in for a photo in front of the picture with Booker right afterward.