Broken Pieces all Around Town

This is a clever conceit but I remember reading that some of the broken pieces started falling off the board not long after he sold these. A quarter mil. Hope it holds together.

Julian Schnabel
Portrait of Robert Wilson
Oil, found ceramic plates and Bondo on panel
Est: 150,000 – USD 200,000
Sold for $250,000


September 23, 1994

I went out with Amy Peng. She’s just back from Ireland. Golly, she’s pretty. I hope she sleeps with me. [Note: she didn’t.] Her British accent plays to the Anglophile in me. Her family is a bunch of multi-degreed super Brainiacs. She just got her Masters and is in a panic. For the first time her life, there’s no class to attend and she finds herself with an overabundance of free time. The paradox of the overly-educated. She drove us out to the Nassau Coliseum to see Depeche Mode in that little Jeep. She’s a terrible, dangerous driver.

She said she feels trapped because she bought a co-op. I told her she needs to get a grip. Trapped is living in Bayonne and working a job you hate but can’t leave because you’ve got four kids and being married for 15 years, the last five of which have been sheer hell, but you’re psychologically and economically unable to make a move. Owning a co-op in Manhattan with a framed MBA isn’t a trap. I asked her what she’s reading and she showed me some stupid yuppie self-help book. How to cope with the tragedy of success. She asked what I was reading and I told her I’m in the middle of “Babbit.” She’d never heard of Sinclair Lewis. How do you get through graduate school and never hear of Sinclair Lewis?

Oswaldo called and told me I shouldn’t smoke pot because I can’t handle it. Do you know what? He’s right. He said my problem is I smoke everything I have all at once. He said to just take a puff or two. I’ll try that right now and see how it feels.

There. I had exactly two puffs. I’m stoned, but not so stoned that I can’t answer the phone, like last night. My phone rang and I didn’t pick it up. I listened to the answering machine and it was Hedy offering me some homemade soup but I was too high to pick it up so I missed out. I’m sure she thinks I’m weird because we had just spoken an hour before, so she knew I was home.

I called [my niece] to wish her a happy birthday. She’s 8. She asked why I’m not married yet. Everyone back in Ohio is married. I’m certain they all think I’m gay. I wish. That’d be preferable to a catatonic fear of abandonment so severe it causes occasional sexual dysfunction. Being gay sounds pretty sweet compared to that.

Went to the New York Theater Workshop with Cindy, Hedy and Hedy’s sister (also gay). I got comps to see Secretaries by the Five Lesbian Brothers. Everyone on stage and in the audience was gay. It was lesbo-rama! It’s entirely possible I was the lone hetro in the house. The show was hysterical. Lisa Kron is the best.

Ann invited me to some contemporary dance mess at the Joyce. I said I’d go but I can’t stand modern dance. Right after that, Maria Herrera invited me to sit at the Blue Note table at Sweet Basil’s on the same night. I immediately called Ann and canceled. I counter-offered to spend Sunday afternoon at the Met with her to see the big Annenberg Impressionist and Post-Impressionist exhibit and she seemed happy with that. Another paradox.

30 thoughts on “Broken Pieces all Around Town

  1. Good heavens, I thought you had given up blogging. Lovely to see your return.
    Julian Schnabel should have used No Nails instead of Mod Podge – live and learn.

  2. Ah! Great to see you back. I thought you’d fallen down a plughole somewhere outside Atlantic City.

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve wished I were gay. I’d get hundred times more the action and with less of the ball and chain.

    I’ve met people like Amy. Oh, to have their problems!

  3. Total aside (or maybe not, art-wise), but super nana recently told me about a performance artist she knows and the first thought that came to mind was “I wonder what Mark would say about this?” You’ve become my go-to art guy! LOL

    By the by, please don’t give up on blogging! Ok, selfishly it’s because I have to replace my iPhone and Instagram is not as much fun on my MAC! 😉 xoxo

  4. 1994 I would have been in NYC around that time in “business” in the big building on 42nd. I believe I got really drunk in some Irish bar and some kind guy offered to share a taxi.
    I wasn’t that drunk that I didn’t feel him start to steal my wallet which led to a scuffle in the back of the cab.

    Oh the drinking days…

  5. Hello, stranger!
    Nice to see you back AND with a piece of art.Sad memories and regrets are never worth the time they suck out of us,
    That said, a lot of us live vacariously on others’ woes.It’s called life. Or so they tell me.

    (By the way, our Sth African friend made a comeback too.)

  6. As the others have said, Nice to have you back. I kept checking everyday, and this just proves it was worth it, lol. Blog when you can! The reading will still be there!

  7. I feel like I should have a couple of puffs and then reread this, to see where it’ll take me. And then maybe stare at your Instagram. I have gone through your Instagram (I don’t have an account though). Got to say, you know how they declare that a picture is worth a thousand words? I think a thousand words is worth a thousand words. Good to see yours again.

    • I always looked at Instagram with a degree of contempt. It doesn’t require as much effort. It’s thoughtless. But then my curiosity got the best of me. I have no sizeable audience there (same as here) but perhaps I was being too harsh in my judgment. There’s some beautiful photography on Instagram. Some real crap, too, but some genuine art.

  8. To my shame I hadn’t realised you had been absent. Occasionally life takes over. I’m always delighted when you visit me and will try to finish the story before I pop my clogs. Hope all is well.

  9. I am flummoxed by art and those who makes up its worth.

    Amy Peng … seriously? Was she peng? Ah yes, pretty I see…

    A British accent opens many doors.

    How to cope with the tragedy of success. Hmm. That must be so difficult. Staggering.

  10. So glad to see a new post. I check about every 3 weeks. I miss all the Art pics with critique.
    Another great journal story from the past. Seriously, you are such a good read. You just let it all flow out. I couldn’t do that.
    I love the UK accents. Imogen Lloyd Webber is my favorite. They are the antithesis of the American Kardashian/Housewives wannabees.

  11. Also glad to see you posting again!

    Love the old diary pieces….they couldn’t be from any other time than the era they chronicle…but remind us of some eternal truths…such as the enduring self-pity of the overprivileged. I wonder what became of that Co-op (don’t tell me it floated on the stock exchange and it’s reluctant co-founder became s billionaire, please!)

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