Post by Edward Rochester Esq. Post by Will Dockery
any publicity is good publicity
Here's an article the local newspaper did on Dan Barfield, for which I was interviewed, written by Tim Chitwood, who is still a reporter for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer:
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer (GA)
July 13, 1997
HOW GROSS THY ART
Apparently it was all just a big misunderstanding.
The misunderstanding led to a 911 call about a decomposing body in an
old house M***** S*****'s husband R****** owns at 2113 **th St. in
Columbus. That led to the discovery that it wasn't a body after all,
but artwork made of barbed wire and blowtorched Barbie dolls.
But it sure looked like a body to police. And it looked like a body to
paramedics. And it definitely looked like a body to Danny W****.
Danny is a real estate agent who with M***** went to look at the house
July 2. He wanted to buy it and fix it up. It needs fixing up. The
roof leaks in places and some of the floor's rotting. The S**** now
live on F**** Drive and use the **th Street house for storage.
M*****'s son Will Dockery lets friends -- artists, poets and madmen,
Will says -- store their work there.
Among those artists is Dan Barfield, who has a concept piece called
``Vietnam,'' part of which the veteran made of melted Barbie dolls.
(``He hates Barbies,'' says his wife Judy.) It now lies on the floor
among other stuff stored in the dark, northwest bedroom of the ##th
Street house. To someone who didn't know what it was, it might look
like a rib cage and sternum atop decayed matter.
That's what it looked like to Danny W**** when he walked into that
musty room, first staring up at the rafters. Then he looked down. Then
he froze. Then he ran.
He wasn't sure what he saw. Maybe a body. Maybe it was sealed with
wax, which trapped the odor. Maybe this was a bizarre ritual. Maybe he
didn't want to know.
M***** followed Danny as he dashed outside, where he tried to make a
call on his cell phone. She told him not to. According to her, she
told him he'd just seen some artwork. According to Danny, she never
said that; she just said they didn't need the police coming there.
This did not sound reassuring. Danny had to make that call. Now don't
call the police, M***** said again. She says she also told Danny her
son Will had a bad temper, and he wouldn't like Danny calling the
She says Danny replied that the police wouldn't do anything to her;
she wasn't involved. That's true, she said (she wasn't involved in
storing the art), but the police needn't be bothered.
M***** claims Danny then offered her $13,000 for the house, then said
it needed so much work the most he could give her was $10,000.
Danny maintains all M***** did was tell him no one should call the
The next day, someone called the police.
About 10:30 a.m., police and paramedics rushed to the house, unboarded
a door to get in and examined what they, too, thought was a decaying
body, oddly odorless. Then they poked it and figured out it wasn't. It
was such a weird story, the Ledger-Enquirer ran it on the front page
That's how M****** learned police had broken into the house. She was
perturbed. She blamed Danny.
Danny won't say he called police, but admits he told someone what he
thought he saw. Stan Swiney of the 911 center says the call reportedly
came from a Billy Hanson. (No Billy Hanson listed in the Columbus
telephone directory was involved; I called.)
The 911 report said someone saw the alleged corpse through a window.
That's difficult: The room's dark; the window's dirty; the art's hard
The artist, Dan Barfield, says it's funny Danny W**** would be
frightened, because the real estate agent stopped by a few months ago
when Dan was moving art into the house, and this piece was out on the
lawn at the time. The artist claims the agent told him a decayed body
was found in the house once.
Danny says that's outrageous: He has never met Dan Barfield. ``I would
remember that,'' he says.
Danny says he just wanted to buy the house to help clean up the
neighborhood, where he owns other property. ``As far as I'm concerned
now, they couldn't give it to me,'' he says.
Perhaps it will remain the house of scary art, where once people
thought they saw a dead body.