Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bed Post


I think I’m going to write a novel called The Talking Bed.  Of course, I don’t even need a Google-search to know, like most things, it’s already been done.  Fortunately for us, titles aren’t copyright- proof or we might have a way to filter the tsunami of crap that’s come down the pike in the name of culture.  But since we all seem to resort to under-the-blankets for several varieties of trust or confession, the concept is amusing.   Besides, there’s no privacy anywhere—no truth, no real contract for solitude, certainly no guarantee for prayer.  Why not betrayal by one’s own bed?

I watched an old Bergman film last night--- The Passion.  Tough to say whether it’s my predilection for the Swedish cultural reverence, or the period, or the crashing tedium of recent film-watching…but it stayed with me.  From the opening scenes-- -the pace, the cinematography, the quiet breathing of Max von Sydow—it was hypnotic.  It felt important.  For me, anyway. 

Cut to the Contemporary art sale at Phillips’ tonight where the Emperor’s New Clothes has become something to own rather than an ironic warning.  Most offensive for me is that artist who sticks chewing gum on a canvas in an unattractive arrangement and banks 6 figures.  The catalogue actually has the balls to relate the fact that the guy doesn’t even chew the gum himself but hires college kids to do it for him for 50 cents a piece.  Kind of a Warholian joke or maybe a metaphor for what the banks are doing to us.  Wasn't it also a 'green art' project we did when the kids were in kindergarten and were learning about recycling? Don’t get me started. 

At the risk of becoming the cranky old woman, because anyone with education and memory must have some opinion here, I am searching to find things of recent manufacture that feel ‘important’.  I’ve retreated to my little book-lined anthill of indie songwriting and poetry and simply wince when one of my rich friends gushes about their latest Damian Hirst Butterfly purchase.  Last night for food-money I had to ghost-write an article on one of the big young collectors.  I have to admit I can’t find much to criticize--- the guy, although massively wealthy, seems relatively intelligent and philanthropic and of course, the gist of the article, he has created his own Private Museum. 

The old saying ‘you can’t have everything; where would you put it?” is no longer valid, because of course, you put it in your own Private Museum.  From there you can lend it out, give it away, auction it off, store it-- -whatever… an enormous tax write-off, a solution to having your 45 room triple-penthouse look like a hoarder’s hideout, a relief from renting apartment-priced storage from Crozier or Cadogan Tate,  not to mention insurance.  It is also kind of a living monument to yourself--- your taste, your sophistication--- at least in principle.  And a way of covering up your mistakes, your unwise purchases in the name of philanthropy.  Let's face it-- some of these things don't wear well in your private living room.

So in one of his clever flippant hedge-fund manager remarks, the guy says, of course, art has no intrinsic value: it is just marketing.  Maybe your art has no value, I retort silently, but mine does.  I have starved for weeks, gone without new shoes and clothes for years, to have some small painting I simply couldn’t live without.  Can Mr. Private Museum live without his art?  He can.  In fact, I’ll bet he could live without his wife because although she seemed nice enough, I really couldn’t tell her apart from at least 3 other Private Museum wives who sat at an adjacent table.  

I’m also beginning to see a definite trend of artifice in these trophy women—like some of them used to have soft, blowy hair, or neat ponytails and well-tailored dresses.  Now they seem to have these megalo-hairstyles like somewhere between the Jersey Housewives and Barbie.  I sense a certain rococo tendency in the jewelry and accessories… like even a charity dinner is a red-carpet moment for these well-photographed housewives.  Like a Dave LaChapelle thing…just a little more blingy than chic. 

Oh, Andy, where are you now?  Will your hundreds of soupcans and thousands of Marilyns be enough to go around?  At least my old guitar continues to increase in value because there was little demand  and few produced because they were for actual real musicians back then-- and when you play it—well, it sings.  It’s old and it’s done thousands of gigs and at least for now it hasn’t been bought by some hedge fund hoarder who will hide it in a guitar mausoleum.  I’ll be playing realtime unique music on it while Forbes magazine photographs Mr. PM proudly displaying a wall of 5-cent gum chewed and spat out maybe by the same drunk NYU students who just stuffed one of the artist’s bills in our jar.   

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