Butt is it Art?

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Cheer up, Daria, Jane'll be along in three years.

Butt is it Art? is an episode of Beavis and Butt-head which aired on May 9, 1994.

Synopsis[edit]

Mr. Van Driessen is taking a group of Highland High students on a field trip to the Highland Museum of Art. The group consists of ten or eleven other students, including Cassandra, Daria, Earl, and of course Beavis and Butt-head. Van Driessen alludes to a previous trip to the zoo that might have gone wrong - he warns the students that they can't have that same kind of behavior here. As Van Driessen lectures about how the works there took years to create and that they'll be ruined even if tampered with slightly, Beavis and Butt-head begin playing on a prominent abstract sculpture in front of the museum, treating it like a see-saw and inadventantly destroying it. Van Driessen completes his lecture by leading the class towards the destroyed sculpture (with Beavis and Butt-head buried under the debris) and points out the pile of debris as one of the meaningful structures with which one should be careful.

The buttmunches extricate themselves from the metal wreckage and rejoin the tour, where they are facing a large marble nude statue on the scale of Michaelangelo's David. Van Driessen makes a comment about how great art can be easy to enjoy; Butt-head notes that what he's staring at is "hard, but it's not like...hard". Van Driessen approves.

The boys are then introduced to the room of painting, where Van Driessen makes a comment that sets the boys to laughing, until Daria clarifies:

  • Daria: He said "master painters".

Van Driessen introduces the class to a Renoir, a Monet, a Picasson, and a Dali (which are either the works themselves or reproductions - the Dali painting appears to be variation on Dali's The Persistence of Memory). The boys note that the picture looks nothing like "Dali", or rather, Dolly Parton, "she's got really big thingies". Borrowing a marker from a guard wo is distracted with picking his nose, Beavis highlights the boobs on the Dali painting, indicating how big they should be. Beavis and Butt-head continue drawing boob extensions on Dali's work.

When the tour hits the Renoir paintings, Van Driessen mentions the uplifting nature of Renoir's works. (Since these are paintings of nude women, Beavis concurs that the paintings are "uplifting".) Butt-head is inspired to take one of the Renoirs home to his bathroom, but as the boys haul the painting away they are stopped by a female guard - who informs Beavis of his transgression of standing on the wrong side of the velvet rope, oblivious to Butt-head with painting in hands. She orders Beavis back to the other side of the rope or to face arrest, oblivious to the blank space formerly occupied by the Renoir. Beavis returns to the correct side of the rope, and the guard walks away having done her duty. The boys simply leave with the painting.

In another room, Van Driessen lectures to the remaining students on the inestimable value of the paintings. Butt-head concludes that art is cool, and Butt-head and Beavis cut the Renoir to pieces in order to take home various parts of the nude.

Back in the classroom, Van Driessen decries the vandalism that took place at the art museum, unaware of Beavis and Butt-head's actions. As he hopes that the class found the experience meaningful in some way, random students (Earl, Punk Girl) pay no attention, clearly distracted and disinterested. Only Cassandra seemed to be illuminated, taking away a feeling of "deep inner joy". Beavis and Butt-head, in the back, display to each other what they took away - the canvas "boob" and a "butt" from Renoir's painting.

Trivia[edit]

  • This is the briefest speaking appearance by Daria in a Beavis and Butt-head episode, with the exception of her voice possibly being in the background of "Wet Behind the Rears".
  • Daria will later recount this as one of her main memories of the buttmunches in "Beavis and Butt-head are Dead".
  • Highland High School apparently has its own school buses - the bus is marked "Highland High School" but most buses in rural school districts are marked with the name of the county.
  • The Highland Museum of Art's sign simply says "Museum of Art".
  • The Internet Movie Data Base (and other online sources) list the episode's title as Butt is it Art?. However, the opening titles of the cartoon do not have the question mark at the end of "Art".