Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Joke Played On the Eagerly Pretentious

Drove down on Thursday night to the opening of a two-artist show featuring artist friend James W. H2O at a gallery in the reportedly arty Chelsea sector of Manhattan. On the way down, James said he wished For All In Tents weren't so fanciful. It is his view that real life is wacky enough without my making things up, and I promised I’d stop.

The sidewalks of New York were full of slush and ice, so once out of the car, no one did any fancy footwork, for fear of a pratfall. The artist didn’t want to be standing there looking needy when people started arriving, so we went for a drink, even though we arrived in Chelsea at the time the opening was scheduled to begin. I couldn’t keep up with the conversation because, after washing my hair at the gym, I’d managed to get a great deal of conditioner in my left ear. I instead observed the couple at the next table, who reminded me of how LA groupies used to treat even the gooniest English rock musician in the early 70s. The guy was cadaverously skinny, with a huge nose, an Adam’s apple the size of a baseball, and clownishly gigantic feet. He wore an Adidas warmup jacket over a striped T-shirt that didn’t go with it. He might, at that moment, have been the least attractive man in New York City. His companion, who wasn’t exactly Isabella Rosellini herself, but who was way ahead of him in the attractiveness line, was all over him like a cheap suit.

I have recognized for years that like a cheap suit isn’t going to win any prizes for originality, but deploying it never fails to give me pleasure. I am too demure even to consider the earthier like flies on shit.

I urge you to make up your own minds about James’s work. I am able to assure you that I enjoy its wryness. There was nothing about the other guy’s work — big monochromatic rectangles obviously influenced by the Emperor Has No Clothes School — that I enjoyed. Like the stuff at the nearby Dia:Beacon museum of modern art right down the hill from where I’m composing this, I believe such stuff isn’t art, but sophistry, a joke played on the eagerly pretentious by the talentless.

But enough about me, and on to the remarkable cavalcade of celebrities who turned up to offer James their encouragement. The first of them were New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, his cornerback teammate Corey Webster, and a gaggle of protuberant showgirls with peroxided blonde hair. Residents of the Tri-State area are accustomed to seeing Eli depicted in TV commercials as an amiable rube far more likely to say, “Aw, shucks,” than to be cavorting with sluts, but don’t believe it!

I was shocked by the appearance of former mayor and presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani, as James is no one’s Republican. On the other hand, I wasn’t in the least surprised by Hizzoner’s unabashed leering at the showgirls, as I believe all on the political right to be hypocritical slimebags who behave at the slightest provocation in direct contradiction to the values their “faith”-based donors force them to pretend to embrace. It was my impression that the two Giants — many professional athletes are gullible dimwits prone to falling for sanctimonious posturing — gave him his pick of the girls. He chose the one with the most flagrant dark roots. I wasn’t displeased to see them splashed by a passing Japanese sedan when they dashed out onto 23rd Street trying to hail a taxi.

They actually wound up taking the taxi out of which the late Norman Mailer and Ayn Rand emerged. Because they are both very old now, and long deceased, only a couple of us book-loving art lovers recognized them. I overheard one expressing surprise that Rand, who was born Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum, would date a Jew, given her history of apparent self-loathing. My view is that, at 104, Rand is lucky to get a date with anyone, even someone who’d be well behind Adidas Boy in the attractiveness line.

The evening’s most conspicuous arrival was that of Lady Gaga, dressed unusually sedately for the occasion. I took the opportunity, while she was admiring James’s most celebrated creation, Homeless Chateau, to ask if it were true that she’s transgendered. Her response was to have her bodyguard beat me into unconsciousness, which made the long drive home very much more difficult than it ought to have been.

[Congratulations to Robert Cook, who deciphered Mother I Wouldn't Fuck With Your Dick. I have decided, after not miasing a day yet in 2010, to start taking Sundays off. My new album continues to yearn for your attention. James writes a mean blog of his own. Facebookers: Subscribe here.]


  1. You are a naughty, naughty man. But thanks for keeping your promise and not straying into fantasy on this one. I just wish GaGa hadn't been quite so playful with the ceiling of the Chateau with the tips of her 10-inch Alexander McQueen stilettos.

  2. Speaking of taking pratfalls on Manhattan's icy sidewalks, I did, Thursday morning on my way to work. A trip to the emergency room and one confirmed broken wrist later, I'm typing one-handed, with my non-dominant hand.

  3. I liked what I could see of James' work. I'd like to hear more about the Emperor with No Clothes as relates to the artists in Dia:Beacon - or was that more fantasy talk? What about Sol Lewitt - is he lumped in there, too?

    Go ahead and splurge - take Sundays off!