Hideous Subway Monster


February 6, 1992

Poor Klinger called last night. He has some sort of rash or pox on his face. He said it’s so bad that he can’t go out in public. Since he’s a broke-assed actor, he has to use the free clinic. When he rode the subway to the clinic, nobody sat near him even though the car was pretty crowded. On his second trip to the clinic, it had gotten so bad that he wrapped his head in a scarf and wore sunglasses. He should’ve taken some pictures.

He’s not in any physical pain but I guess looking like a hideous monster is its own form of pain. I was going to visit and bring him chicken soup from the deli and a paper bag with eyeholes but decided he wouldn’t see the humor in it. Now, all of a sudden, he’s concerned with the healthcare issue in America. If you heard him describe the way he looks you’d laugh. I hope there’s no scarring.

I saw Maureen on Saturday. She spent the day saying terrible things about herself. She told me she has recurring dreams where someone dumps a vase of water over her head in front of a group of people and some other variations on public humiliation. Who can love someone who thinks so little of herself?

At the end of the evening she tried to kiss me. Yet another in an unending series of uncomfortable partings. She’s tried to kiss me on more than one occasion. I don’t return her affection so she’ll wait a couple of weeks and try again. Does she think I’ll suddenly have a change of heart? When I go to kiss someone and am rejected, I rarely return for a second round of punishment. Perhaps she’s too young and hasn’t learned that very useful lesson yet. Sometimes, friendship is all there is, and all there’s ever going to be.

Last night, I was lying in bed half reading The Andy Warhol Diaries and half waiting for the phone to ring. I’d left messages for Ann and Candace and I was waiting to hear from Christina, who should be back from Vermont by now. My phone never rang. Before I went to sleep I picked up the receiver to see if it still had a dial tone. It did.

I was thinking about how married people never have to go through this. They don’t spend time waiting for the phone to ring. I think it’s one of those lifestyle trade-offs once you get married. (No rush.) I won’t have to stare at the phone, which might be kind of nice. On the other hand, I won’t be able to dance around the apartment in my underwear to Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation, play with myself while watching TV or stick my finger in the peanut butter jar. But I won’t have to lie in bed and wait for the phone to ring.

Speaking of marriage…Poor DeeDee. She’s going through a terrible divorce. She’s so nice. I feel awful for her. I’d rather stare at a phone that doesn’t ring than go through what she’s going through. Don’t trust Brazilian men! She joined us for dinner on Friday night. When divorce is in the room, the air changes. It can lead to long, uncomfortable silences.

As I predicted, we ate at an overpriced, overhyped restaurant and although I wouldn’t want to make a habit of it, I had a nice time. I had the duck in orange sauce with wild rice. Scrumptious. If I’d been home I’d have grabbed that bad boy with my bare hands, ripped it apart and shoved it in my stupid face. Orange sauce dripping off my chin and wild rice stuck to my cheeks. Since I was in a tablecloth joint, I used a fork and knife. A butter knife. Very ineffectual. When the waiter came to remove my plate I looked down and saw meat still on the bones. I almost wept. Everyone else ordered fish and didn’t seem to struggle with feeding themselves. I think they enjoyed watching me wrestle my fatty, delicious duck. Dinner + a show for them.

We killed a couple bottles of wine. It’s nice sitting at table in a fancy Manhattan restaurant with five people I’m comfortable with. I didn’t have to worry about putting on airs. They know I’m from nowhere, and going nowhere. And they don’t judge me for it. What a relief! DeeDee didn’t have any fun. She didn’t necessarily have a bad time, but you can tell she’s been drained of her usual effervescence. Her hair is long now. She’s pretty. Julie accidentally asked how the renovations on the house were going. Everyone knows that’s the third rail.

Art Auction Addendum

Two more from the May Contemporary Art auction at Christie’s

Just look at her. Sexy. Dangerous. The kind of woman who’d eat me for breakfast and use my sadness to pick her teeth. I’d hang her in a back room and wouldn’t share her with ANYBODY. Not even you.

Richard Prince
Runaway Nurse
Estimate: $7,000,000 – $10,000,000
Sold for: $9,685,000


On the other hand…

Robert Gober
Estimate: $2,000,000 – $3,000,000
Sold for: $1,445,000


I want to meet the man (because you KNOW a man bought this) who paid $1.4M for a urinal that DOESN’T FLUSH.

The spring art auctions: money amok

It’s the time of the season when we turn our beer-soaked attentions towards the modern art world and gaze, in dumbfounded disbelief, at what hedge fund princes, Russian oligarchs and Sheiks of Araby spend on what they are assured by gallery owners and auction houses to be Beautiful and Important objects d’art.

This spring’s Impressionist and Modern Art auctions at Christie’s and Sotheby’s were fairly staid affairs. There were no earth-quaking pieces that set me all aquiver. That’s happened, you know! I’ve turned corners and have been confronted with canvases that looked alive to me. That didn’t happen this time.

I’m going to start with the piece that’s likely to insult the most number of people. There was a WARNING posted outside the small gallery where this was displayed that some people might find the content upsetting.

A dark room with a spotlight trained on a small sculpture of a kneeling man/boy. What could possibly be so offensive about that, you might wonder?


A visitor knelled beside him for perspective.


Walk around to the front of the sculpture and all is revealed.

Maurizio Cattelan
wax, human hair, suit, polyester resin and pigment
Estimate: $10,000,000 – $15,000,000
Sold for $17,189,000


Oh. That guy. You can see how this might meet with some disfavor. There was a guard posted and only a few people were allowed in at a time. Part of the reason it sold for above the high estimate is that Maurizio Cattelan is The Hot Shit right now. He’s about to install a working 18-karat, solid-gold toilet in the bathroom of the Guggenheim. I’m going to poop in it. I am!

This following piece is more playful and easier to digest. I’ve seen these before and actually think I could put one in the corner of my living room and enjoy it. It’s suspended in sodium chloride reagent and distilled water.

Jeff Koons
One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Spalding Dr. J Silver Series)
Estimate on Request
Sold for $15,285,000

koons ball1

I didn’t like Jeff Koons for a long while but I became so exhausted with hating stuff that I decided to give in and enjoy it. Plus, it does this cool refraction trick when you look at it from an angle.

koons ball2

Look at this lovely Monet. If you’re familiar with his work, you might be wondering about its unusual dimensions. You’re not going to believe what I’m about to tell you.

Claude Monet
Le bassin aux nymphéas
Estimate: $25,000,000 – $35,000,000
Sold for $27,045,000


This is only half the painting. An unscrupulous dealer divided the canvas sometime before 1944 because, you know, two painting sell for more than one. This is the right half. The left half is in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. I think they should’ve bought it and hung it next to its missing half.

If the Tel Aviv Museum of art couldn’t come up with $27M for the other half of their Monet, perhaps they could’ve coughed-up $2M for this gigantic stick of butter:

Robert Gober
Estimate: $1,500,000 – $2,500,000
Sold for $2,285,000


I can’t stand Robert Gober. What a fake What a charlatan. It’s crap like this that turns contemporary art into a punchline.

This might prove to be divisive but I like Francis Bacon. Art is so subjective (although not subjective enough to qualify a giant stick of butter legitimate art). These are self-portrait studies. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you met him and his face was all smeared like that?

Francis Bacon
Two Studies for a Self-Portrait
Estimate: $22,000,000 – $30,000,000
Sold for: $34,970,000


I usually save my harshest barbs for Jean-Michel Basquiat. He passed his scribbles and half-baked canvases off as finished work. They’re lazy affairs. And aside from that, his dreams came true and he threw it away on drugs. What a stupid ass. But I finally, after all these years, found a piece of his to admire in this gigantic canvas. He rarely worked this big. You’ve got to grudgingly hand it to him on this one. I intentionally waited until that lady walked in the frame for perspective.

Jean-Michel Basquiat
Estimate on Request
Sold for $57,285,000


There was a shocking dearth of Rothkos offered for sale. These auctions typically feature a few juicy pieces. This season, we only had this one and another smaller piece to choose from. This is another painting I think I could live with, although I’d have to buy a much bigger house to accommodate it.

Mark Rothko
No. 17
Estimate: $30,000,000 – $40,000,000
Sold for $32,645,000


I took this group shot and realized that, individually, they’re interesting enough but if you bought ALL THREE and displayed them just as you see here, you’d really have something to drive the neighbors insane with envy.

Roy Lichtenstein
Estimate: $300,000 – $400,000
Sold for $418,000

Andy Warhol
Campbell’s Tomato Juice Box
Estimate: $300,000 – $400,000
Did Not Sell

Keith Harring
Estimate: $450,000 – $650,000
Sold for $745,000


When I walked into the gallery I was instantly drawn to the pile of white objects on the floor. From a distance, you really couldn’t tell what they were.

Christian Marclay
Estimate: $600,000 – $800,000
Sold for $550,000


In memoriam:

[Brrring] the phone rang and she said
“Whoever’s calling can’t be as cute as you”
Right then and there I knew I was through

“The Ballad of Dorothy Parker”


Damien Hirst is another guy who raises a lot of rankles but I find some of it clever enough. People seem particularly bothered by the raw cruelty of raising butterflies in order to use their wings for paintings, but they’re quite beautiful. If you saw this in person you might have a change of heart.

Damien Hirst
Psalm 46: Deus noster refugium
Butterflies and household gloss on canvas
Estimate: $80,000 – $120,000
Sold for $161,000


I’ve got more that’ll make you grind your molars to dust and question the direction contemporary art, not to mention all of humanity, is taking but I’m pushing 1,000 words and I don’t want to break my own Cardinal Rule of Blogging so I’ll leave you with these; one I like and one that deserves scorn heaped upon it. I leave it to you to decide which is which.

Jeff Koons
Smooth Egg with Bow (Magenta/Violet)
Estimate: $7,000,000 – $10,000,000
Sold for $7,445,000


Cady Noland
Chicken in a Basket
Twenty-seven elements, wire basket, rubber chicken, boxes, bottle, flags, baster, bungee and beer cans
Estimate: $350,000 – $450,000
Sold for $305,000



14-Year Old Daughter was Confirmed by the Catholic Church. For the uninitiated, Confirmation is a spiritual rite-of-passage. A sacrament. It’s kind of like a Bat Mitzvah, I think. Actually, I’m not quite sure what a Bat Mitzvah is.

At Confirmation, you receive seven gifts from the Holy Spirit:

  1. Knowledge
  2. Fortitude

(So far, so good.)

  1. Understanding
  2. Piety
  3. Counsel

(Not bad. Keep going.)

  1. Wisdom
  2. Fear of the Lord

HOLD IT. Back up one. What do they mean Fear of the Lord? Does He really want us cowering in fear? Wouldn’t ‘Love of the Lord’ be psychologically healthier? It sounds like yet another Catholic beat-down to me. They should change that last one to ‘Fear of the Church.’ That’d be more accurate.


Not-so-fun Fact: In the Pledge of Allegiance, the phrase, “under God,” was tacked on in 1954 as a response to the Communist scare. Idiots.

*      *     *     *     *

Manhattan skyscrapers are loaded to the teeth with over-sized lobby art. There are some nice pieces by Roy Lichtenstein and Frank Stella. The murals in Rockefeller Center are spectacular. But there’s one piece that isn’t about aesthetics. Can you guess what this is?


I’m not claiming it’s visually appealing. It isn’t. It’s visually appalling. I pretty much hate all forms of graffiti. But this is important.

These are five sections of the Berlin Wall. Remember that one, old timers? I don’t know who trucked these things all the way to NYC—they must weigh tons—but I like them. I remember when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 there were people down on Wall Street selling what they claimed were pieces of the wall. This side faced West Berlin.


The East Berlin side tells you everything you need to know about what it must have been like to live there.


Fun fact: The femme fatal in the first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, was Vesper Lynd. That was Ian Fleming’s playful take on West Berlin.



January 2, 1992

For Christmas, Colleen gave me a book about people throughout history who’ve kept journals. I don’t know what made me think doing this was so special. You walk around thinking you’re one in a million but the truth is you’re a dime a dozen.

Kat and I exchanged gifts. She put a catalog of worldwide timeshare properties in my lap and said, “Pick one and I’ll send you.” I got her bamboo windchimes.

I felt terrible and tried to tell her I couldn’t possibly accept. I told her it was an unwarranted, undeserved and overly-extravagant gift. I phoned Marshall and he called me a fucking idiot and said to pick the place the furthest away. Preferably on the other side of the planet.

Oh, she also handed me a beautiful, professionally wrapped box and inside was a great Ralph Lauren tie and an evergreen cotton/linen pullover sweater. She said she really likes her windchimes and can’t wait to hang them. I got the 8:00 train back to the city.

There’s a terrible exhibit at the Whitney right now. A lot of cold, soulless, hyper-modern garbage, if you ask me. This was the only piece that had some humor. These are Gary Simmons’ gold-plated basketball shoes.


Yes, real gold. Of COURSE it doesn’t make any sense. I don’t know if it’s supposed to. It’s playful.


I think those markings running up the wall are the measurements from a Branncok Device. Someone had to point that out to me. I’m not that clever.


IMG_2939 (1)