Here’s a simple test for deducing what any New Yorker does for a living: ask the person in question when she is most overwhelmed. If she answers, “Spring and fall,” she works in fashion. If she says, “Every morning,” she works on Wall Street. If she says, “Never,” then she’s lying or overmedicated. And if she says, “Right now … oh, god, I’m late, I have to run! Air-kiss!” then she probably works in visual arts, or in the realm of that ill-defined and somewhat absurd construction some call “the art world.”
Between the Whitney Biennial, Brucennial, the Armory show, and the Art Show thrown by the Art Dealers Association of America (and the various non-art museum events like the annual American Museum of Natural History Museum Gala and the Museum of the City of New York’s Winter Ball at the Plaza Hotel), not to mention the various VIP events, preshows, alternative shows and the option of just staying home and staring at a blank wall until your eyes bleed, even the most casual art lover can end up feeling overwhelmed by choices.
Our vote? Just go to the Guggenheim and stare at those John Chamberlain sculptures that look like twisted heaps of scrap metal from a car accident. If you really want to sound smart, try out the following phrases on your friends: “I love the juxtaposition of color against the opposing imagery of a dark and tragic accident”; “Abstract Expressionism is my favorite kind of Expressionism. What’s yours?”; or, “Does this colorful simulacrum of a car wreck remind anyone else of Lindsay Lohan’s performance on Saturday Night Live last weekend?”
We don’t want to dwell too long on the horrors of la vie en Ms. Lohan, as the only lines she can remember are the ones she left back in her dressing room. But it’s hard not to question Lorne Michaels’s taste when any basket case with a history of substance abuse can take the stage these days. (In all fairness, basket cases with drug problems made up half the cast of Saturday Night Live in the ’80s and ’90s, but at least they were talented.)
Still, with our heads spinning with images of Picasso, Hirst and Warhol, we have to wonder what the greats would have done with Ms. Lohan’s visage. It wouldn’t have been that difficult for certain artists, as Ms. Lohan herself has begun to resemble a sort of Cubist painting, covered in borrowed diamonds and a bit more angular than we last remembered. And god knows she’s taken to the Warholian definition of fame in the future and stretched her 15 minutes to a good 15 years past its expiration date. Lindsay Lohan: Human Pop Art!
Now we’re starting to feel a little overwhelmed.