8/26/02 I try to be

8/26/02

I try to be the sensitive artist type, I really do but I kinda want to beat up the guy who is in control of the billboard at the corner of 26th and 10th Avenue:

I have to walk past that damn thing every day on the way to the production office, and it’s always some goofy, artsy, banal aphorism that makes me shudder with Stupid Feeling. This week it is “Cry for beauty, not for sense,” but among the other faux-mouthfuls include “Children are the best artists” and “You Must Sweat for Art.” It’s not so much that the phrases themselves are stupid and goofy (which they fucking are) it’s the self-impressed way they’re presented, on this giant billboard, obviously paid for by a rich dilettante who has long since lost his ability to connect with real artists doing real work in vastly less-expensive hovels outside the viewing distance of his hip Chelsea gallery district. This guy thinks he’s really making Important Statements. Not to be all Holden Caulfield and all, but I feel like taking a paintball gun to it every day, spelling in big gloppy fuchsia letters: “EAT ME”

Whine #348b: Chelsea west of 9th Avenue

In a town that has a lot of ugly places, something about the art district in Chelsea reminds me of the worst parts of the Midwest during winter. Huge, boxy warehouses slumping in brown grids toward the putrescent laps of the Hudson; not old enough to be interesting, but not new enough to have cable modems, there is nothing to do (which is fine, because there’s no parking anyway). Decent food is non-existent, the elevators are slow and seem dangerous, and the buildings trap heat better than a closed car. The nearest subway stop is a half-mile jaunt across avenues clogged with Lincoln Tunnel traffic. Tessa has made the best of things in her office (and she hates it when I talk shit about her building) but there’s still not enough room, no hint of wood or any humanizing factor, and the hallways always reek of paint thinner and industrial solvents.

As she reminds me, it is very inexpensive (her lease started in 1994) but I will do my level best to liberate her, and the rest of our posse, to the promised land: somewhere a tree grows.

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