Author's Note: When I first read Thud! the quote below stuck in my head; I couldn't stop wondering how it had transpired. So I guessed and wrote it all down. Enjoy. Or not. Whatever.
Disclaimer: Dance, puppet, dance! Seriously, they're not mine; don't sue.
"After he viewed 'Don't Talk to Me About Mondays!' Lord Vetinari graciousleah had Ms Pouter nailed to the stake by her ear," said Sir Reynold. "However, she did manage to pull free during the afternoon."--Thud!
Lord Vetinari looked around the gallery with interest; he'd heard a lot about this exhibition.
"My lord! How gracious of you to visit our gallereah!"
Lord Vetinari nodded at the man and smiled. "Well, I've heard so much about your new exhibition, I thought I had better view it for myself."
"How hwonderful!" said Sir Reynold. " Please, come this hway and I'll show you our most prized new exhibit. It's the masterpiece of the entire show, realleah."
As Lord Vetinari followed the man to the other side of the room, Sir Reynold started to tell him about some of the other exhibits in the show, but Vetinari found himself unable to concentrate on the words; the man had the strangest accent he had ever heard, it sounded like a permanent yawn. Vetinari himself was a member of the nobility and had over fifty years experience of hearing braying voices stretching the words of the Morporkian language to near breaking point, but this was something else; he made Lord Rust sound like a barrow boy. He fought the urge to yawn in return and instead turned his attention to the plinth in front of him.
"And here it is, my Lord. 'Don't Talk to Me About Mondays!'" said Sir Reynold, presenting the exhibit with a flourish.
"Excuse me?" asked Vetinari, a puzzled look on his face.
"That's the name of the exhibit, my Lord; 'Don't Talk to Me About Mondays!'" He waved his arm toward the exhibit again.
"/This/ is the exhibit?"
"Yes, my Lord."
Vetinari pressed his hands together in front of his face and breathed deeply. "This /pile of rags/ is your new prize exhibit?"
"Yes, my Lord," said Sir Reynold worriedly. "Is there a problem—"
"Whose 'work' is this?"
"That hwould be Ms Daniellarina Pouter, my Lord," said Sir Reynold. "Ah, here she is now." A thin, sulky-faced young woman appeared beside him. "My Lord, allow me to introduce Ms Pouter, the artist."
Vetinari raised an eyebrow at the use of the word 'artist' in the same sentence as Ms Pouter's name but refrained from pursuing the point further for now. "I'm not entirely sure I understand the piece, Ms Pouter. Perhaps you would care to explain it to me?"
A superior look came over her face. "It's an emotive piece; a free-form sculpture representing an emotional state."
"Ah. So this is a…sculpture?"
"Sculpture doesn't have to be confined to solid blocks of marble, you know. Art can be found in anything; a feeling, a look, a movement."
"Movement? Do you mean acting? Like a performance in the theatre?"
Daniellarina Pouter snorted. "The theatre? A bunch of men standing around shouting some dead man's words? That isn't art."
Lord Vetinari smiled. "Some people would not consider this," he pointed at her work, "to be art either, Ms Pouter. /Some/ people might think that for true artistry to be achieved the artist has to work at it, to go through some internal struggle so that true beauty can be brought to the world; /you/ just appear to have gone through your rubbish bin."
"And I suppose you would be one of those people would you, Lord Vetinari?"
"Yes, I've heard about your /reactionary/ views on art, Lord Vetinari. But with all due respect, you're wrong. Art is no longer bound by the traditions of society, it's wild and free and just because you don't understand it, you condemn it! With your blinkered view of what you consider to be 'art' you will /never/ be able to see the inherent Truth in this," she waved at the plinth, "or a finger painting by Hast or a display of performance art by Plenchly. It's just another example of your tyrannical and totalitarian rule over this city that you should try to judge what you have no jurisdiction over!"
Vetinari raised an eyebrow but didn't say anything to Ms Pouter, instead he turned to Drumknott and whispered something in the ever-present clerk's ear. Drumknott nodded and quickly left the room.
Sir Reynold laughed nervously. "Perhaps hwhat Ms Pouter is trying to say, my Lord, is that modern tastes /do/ tend toward the abstract rather than the classical these days, and it is imp—"
"Oh, that's fine, Sir Reynold," interrupted Vetinari. "I believe I understand Ms Pouter completely. In fact, I feel I'm ready to try a little piece of this modern art myself; a little performance piece, if you will. If you would follow me…"
He swept out of the room towards the back doors, Daniellarina Pouter and Sir Reynold, as well as most of the Gallery's guests, following behind him. Vetinari opened the doors to the building's courtyard with a flourish, revealing two large men standing beside a stake, one holding a hammer and a large nail. He turned back to the artist, a wicked smile on his face.
"I call it 'Art Critic'," he said. "Now, gentleman, if you would be so kind…"