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Guy did a show of the sculptures with Robert, which Lucy saw. He showed the horse piece and the Steve Martin piece and the vacuum cleaner piece. Lucy brought Steve, who brought Max, who then came by Guy’s studio for a visit. Max put Guy in touch with Susanne, who worked for Francisco, and Francisco brought some of the work to Basel. Guy went there and people really liked him. He went to parties. He met people. He called Ellie from Jörg Immendorff’s boat.
How to Behave in an Art Museum
People were more naked than when they had come in, having spread various articles of clothing around them and, staring down at all the bodies, I thought I might be watching the beginnings of a lazy, pointless orgy. There was a lot of American Apparel—and the array of bright primary colors also reminded me of a kindergarten class during nap time. But then looking above waist-level, there were plenty of people engaged with their electronic gadgets, having adult conversations, catching up, and so forth.
I Was Here
You studiously avoid making eye contact with the desk attendant (who studiously avoids returning your fleeting glances) while quickly scanning the list of names. If throwing caution to the wind, you might even flip a page or two—nonchalantly, though, lest you appear to be idling or, even worse, genuinely interested. Admit it: You, too, are curious to see who’s out and about.
On the Aesthetic Edutainment of Man
The primary reactions these artworks elicit are physical dread, ontological vertigo, and an old-fashioned appreciation for their carefully managed artifice. Thus when the works are praised, critics use accolades like “spectacular,” “obsessively detailed,” and “completely believable,” but also “unnerving,” “claustrophobic,” and “spatially and emotionally disorienting.” According to their peculiar logic, which combines material literalism and an interactive idea of storytelling, the most effective way to represent the trauma of the September 11 World Trade Center attacks would be to confront the viewer with an actual, wrecked skyscraper.
Although he employed the usual implements—dry-erase board, slide projectors, podium, video projector—his manner of speaking was pretty unusual: he breathed heavily into the microphone, paced around, closed his eyes, requested that somebody turn off all the lights in the room (sending us into complete blackness), borrowed some keys which he annoyingly jangled, and drank directly from a water pitcher while nervously laughing at himself. At one point he even called the audience “distracting.”
The Empire of Conversation
Still, our visitor was managing to make some important friends; they were nominated for big prizes, showing at the right galleries, museums even. Tipsy, they patrolled the circuit of private views, charity auctions, and dinner parties with an aristocratic (and hedonistic) diffidence. Somebody usually had a V.I.P. pass or an invitation card, and they followed these wherever they led, coaxing bouncers and hosts or whomever until they got in, at which point they could begin complaining about the quality of the event. After one show, they dined with Tracey Emin, her large breasts perfectly curtained by a starched white blouse. (They were not impressed.) After another, they danced in a basement club that displayed beautiful women, in modified Victorian outfits, in semi-private cages. (They would not pay for sex.) Most of the time they just ended up in regular bars, but you had to know which ones. (Maybe they’d text you later.)
Black Bleeds Red
In retrospect, the summer of 2008’s punch-drunk decadence held more than a few warning signs for the art world: artists’ assistants enjoyed $300 lunches in Basel, the Times Fashion supplement enlisted front desk “gallerinas” as models, summer interns had personal drivers. Simply the staggering number of creative-class 20 year-olds on the L train with full-sleeve tattoos should have indicated to us that we’d finally, inevitably, overextended ourselves.
Did Anyone Understand Chinese Art?
The real litmus test of imminent success was the reaction of that other, mirror market, the exalted culture of counterfeit brands and pirated goods that is so constitutive of life in modern China. If a given artist’s works were fakeable, and if the people who flogged fakes sensed that the knockoffs would find buyers, then this was the surest sign that his name was destined to be misspelt in Western magazines.
Go or No Go
Hoey noted that an infrared ScoutGuard game camera took these grainy black-and-white shots of the yard. A deer, possum, and raccoon were captured in the camera’s bright flash, their faces startled, eyes glowing. She wasn’t sure what would happen with these pictures, if they might be used in a new series or not, and next pointed out a slime mold growing in a bucket near the door, perhaps another subject for a future body of work.
What Is This Art World You Speak Of?
The dispatches were ongoing, scintillating, ever-accelerating: a former child actress turned boho fashion icon canoodling with a “bad boy” NYC artist; a notably pneumatic starlet rubbing up against appropriation art worth more than the budget of her latest project; a hip-hop great and his triple-threat wife scoping out the booths at a sun n’ surf art fair; the art world, it seemed, was not only cleaning up, but also looking totes glam in the process.
The show’s unique project: to manufacture an authentic stardom that reaches beyond the realms of MTV, reality-show celebrity, or even youth; one that could constitute, in fact, a new mode of being in the world.
You Are Someone Special
No matter how closely you watch them, nothing really happens in the short films of Corinna Schnitt. In 18.8.2005, the artist sits immobile on the edge of a cliff in the Grand Canyon, a stalagmite in tourist’s clothes, on the film’s titular day. The tableau, recalling countless captured moments in perfunctory American vacations, is broken intermittently by the ominous presence of birds of prey circling over the calcified figure.