The new season has started here in New York. The galleries are promoting their openings like crazy – mass emailings, twitters, facebooks, a few greased palms, publicity in all forms, nudity when appropriate, and especially, when inappropriate, the promise of exchange-value sex, the ramping up of desire for both art and the things of art – all of it designed to create the NBT – which will hopefully lead to cash, cash and more cash. These are the same old market mechanisms being applied in our new economic environment. It’s kind of like the way the economic media keeps touting a jobless recovery – which basically means that those without means will remain without and those with means will find that they have opportunities to become even more… meaningful. Roberta Smith summed it up in her recent column in the Times – “Despite reports from the auction world that a recovery is under way, Manhattan’s gallery scene feels all pins and needles as it heads into fall. Things aren’t as bad as many expected them to be, but they could get worse.” You might call this an artless recovery – secondary market, back room sales and the same old Postmodern loss leader stuff installed in the showroom. Maybe the market will be able to squeeze yet another bubble from the froth and furtive stirrings of this new white-knuckle season.
The intrepid videographer of the NY Artscene James Kalm has once again provided us with a quick, wonderful rundown of the opening night on the LES. I dont’ know how James does it. I have a really difficult time at these openings – the rooms are packed, hot, pungent and airless. I last about ten seconds before I scramble for the door. Hey, how you doin’, congratulations and out into the cool night air to catch my breath and gather my wits for the next plunge into the maw of art world civility. One overheard conversation at an opening – “Could this work look any more derivative?” – three minutes later, same guy to the artist – “The show looks amazing. I love it.” Fear and Loathing in the art world my friends. To my shame I have practiced such creep inducing childish behavior in the past, but I stopped cold-turkey a few years ago when I began to feel that too many douche inducing moments makes one, simply, a douche bag. So what should one say, how should one behave at these functions? One mustn’t rely on one’s own standards. Real world etiquette has no relation whatsoever to art world etiquette. And so a whole new industry of articles about art world etiquette has sprung up which you may find useful. Always understand that the evil lurking beneath the passive-aggressive-green-with-envy opening night bonhomie will take one into the dark territories of one’s own psyche. For one’s own sake render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s and get on with one’s own life. Why be a douche bag at an opening when one can simply get roaring drunk and piss in a fireplace? Grand magnanimous gestures make all the difference.
SO with that said we want to wish EVERYONE a wonderfully successful and financially fulfilling season. However, we reserve the right to disagree with the art and practices of the academy, institutions, Modernists, Postmodernists, conservatives, reactionaries, installationists and Methodists.