Artforum Diary: Competitive Ennui

My secret indulgence the last couple of weeks--and the reason I didn't care that I missed Art Basel Miami Beach this year--is Artforum's new Diary feature. It's like an art world reality TV show, where the magazine's editors and contributors compete for the Walter Benjamin-inspired title of Greatest Flaneur.

Translation: a bunch of highly educated, insider's insidery, seen-it-all-before snobs go to art parties, dish jaded, bitchy gossip, and try to outdo each other with how over it they are. In other words, it's nearly perfect.

Check out these representative quotes from whatever entry was on top of the heap, in this case, by Steve Lafreniere:

The crush at the New Museum's opening for "East Village USA" was snarly yet fun, a little like being jammed into one of those unisex bathrooms at the Mudd Club, sans vomit. It was Old Home Week for the art world's Class of '81, seemingly a less-reserved bunch than one typically encounters nowadays, with air kisses replaced by cries of, "Shit, Anastasia, I thought you were dead!" The flamboyant mobótwo glasses of wine were knocked out of my hands in five minutesówas a veritable who's-left of the era....

Another gallerist observed, "I can't believe all the twenty-somethings here tonight. There's this undergrad art groupie-ness in the air!" As if on cue, a young woman trotted past squealing, "Oh my god, RoseLee Goldberg!"

Of course, to those people who might still hold out over-idealized hope for the power of art to affect our society in some beneficial way, Diary will no doubt be a damning indictment, the biennial circuit's own Titticut Follies.

Artforum Diary

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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first published: December 15, 2004.

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