Friday, October 13, 2006


I went to see Gagosian talk to a bunch of Wharton School of Business students at Penn early this week. Or rather, I saw a big screen with a blurry image of Gagosian on it in a room with a bunch of Wharton business students. I was a little late so I was directed to the simulcast, which was a new and odd experience for me. A woman at the door gave me a little pink slip of paper and indicated in hushed tones that I was allowed to stand in the back, despite the fact that there were plenty of open seats. I stood for a few minutes, saw other people being granted the pink slips, and then took a chair on the other side of the room, crumpling my pink slip in my hand. I never did discover what those slips were supposed to be for, and I'm still not sure what the purpose of the simulcast is, except that like the pink slip, it incited a kind of rebellion.

Gagosian was being interviewed by a collector who had bought several pieces from him, and the two of them had a sort of bonhomie rapport that couldn't quite squeeze its way through the wires into the room with the simulcast. One or the other of them would make some dopey joke, and the whole audience in the room where the real talk was taking place would laugh, not because it was funny, but because they were right in front of them, so they laughed out of politeness, or in order to show sympathy with the powerful men in front of them or something. Not so in the simulcast room. Our laughs came later, when the collector guy's high pitched peals of monkeyfried laughter echoed weirdly through the microphone, or, occasionally, when Gagosian said something a little too disingenuous.

It was an interesting talk, but interesting in a way that made me want to watch the whole thing simulcast into my bedroom, which I would paint black for the occasion, wearing a pair of sweatpants I've worn for about a month, staring at the ceiling with Pink Floyd's The Wall playing on repeat. I had difficulty keeping my neck muscles stiff during the talk- my head kept drifting towards the desk. The highlight was when he said something along the lines of, "If a collector buys a piece of art because they love it and the value goes down they won't like looking at it as much."

Luckily, though, I was in the room with the simulcast. So when I flinched, so did other people in the room.

The talk struck me as the antidote to a poetry festival. Poetry festivals are full of people fighting for a lost cause. This should give them a lot in common with gallerists, who are engaged in the same battle. I think the difference might be that gallerists sometimes win, and winning big enough makes it possible to forget what the fight was for in the first place.

I'm not sure.

But I'd rather be here

This was the Dodge Poetry Festival.

And this was its snake.

I hope to be posting more soon: I have news about animal sightings, a new piece, stuff I want to say about upside-down world and lots of new pictures, but I'm a little behind. In the meantime, to cheer you up, here's the Ambien Cookbook.


rebecca said...

that snake does seem much more interesting and genuine than an art dealer.

Sam Simpson said...

Well, it is poisonous...

And actually, I've had the good luck to meet lots of nice art dealers- but I know what you mean.