Prelude: Cheeto Returns (Rainbow Rose Still Lifes at Kaldi Coffee and Tea) (2014)
Part 1: Parker Cheeto's Infinite Haunted Hobo Playlist (A Dream to Some, a Nightmare to Others) by L'atelier de PPPPPP (2014)
Part 2: Nora Berman, Blackwidow LA, Parker Cheeto, Carey Garris, Justin John Greene, Celia Hollander, Daniel Lane, Lee Marshall and Orion Martin:
Maid in Heaven / En Plein Air in Hell (My Beautiful Dark and Twisted Cheeto Problem) (2014)
Part 3: A Lil' Taste of Cheeto in the Night (2015)
Epilogue: PBBVx4.5213418505240406714305462110190527PPPPPPPPPPPPPP (2015)
this(these) exhibtion(s) was(were) possible with the support of Chateau Shatto (Liv Barrett & Nelson Harmon (Nihura Montiel)). thanks to my studio assistants: Orion Martin, Daniel Lane, Celia Hollander, Nora Berman, Lauren Satlowski, Justin John Greene, Carey Garris, and Shaun Johnson. with fabrication by J6 creative, Standard Sculpture, Kristian Marvel Studios, Barnacle Bros, Fine Art Solutions and Black Widow. all scents custom designed by Air Variables. Install support from Scott Eastwood, Gabriel Slavitt, Elon Katz, Neil Reinalda, Nik Massey, and Geoff Thais. construction/demolition provided by Sanchez Construction. All photos by Elon Schoenholz. Performances by Tuft, $3.33, Gabriel Slavitt and Elon Katz. And thank you to the West Los Angeles Children's Choir.
<splash^>this fukcing parker thing. everyday people tell me im really creative. im not sure if you know this but im an artist. im (me) (japanese-german-french-irish-english-american artist) having a show. (my big show) (100+ works)(2 years of my life)(all my money)(everything I did in 2014-15 is 1 show)
this isnt a press release. i am not having a press release.
a show about everything
∂ɛcιƨισи ғαтιɢʋɛ. Ƭʋяи ʋρ. Ƭʋяит ʋρ. βʋяит σʋт. Ғʋв ҒƲβ ҒƲв.
βαcκ тσ мʏ яσσтƨ. вαcκ тσ мʏ яσσтƨ σғ иσ σиɛ ɛʌɛи κиσωιиɢ ι ɛϰιƨт. Ɯɛαя α ƨʋιт тσ тнɛ σρɛиιиɢ. Ƨтʋ∂ισ αятιƨт (ρяσвℓɛмƨ). Ɯнσ ωσяɛ ιт вɛттɛя? Ɔɛℓɛвяιтʏ cσℓℓɛcтσяƨ. Ɯαℓℓ ωσяκƨ. Иσ мσяɛ ℓικɛƨ αиʏмσяɛ. Ƨʋρρσят ʏσʋя ғяιɛи∂ƨ. Ғιяƨт ƨнσω αт тнɛ ɢαℓℓɛяʏ. ˩αƨт ɛϰнιвιтισи ɛʌɛя. Ǥσт тσ ɢσ. Ƭнαиκƨ ғσя тнɛ мɛмσяιɛƨ. Ħαиɢ ιи тнɛяɛ вв. Ғɛɛℓƨ вα∂. ˩σσκƨ ɢσσ∂. Ѧʏ мιи∂ ιƨ мαcнιиɛ ɢʋи, мʏ тσσтƨ тнɛ вʋℓℓɛтƨ, тнɛ αʋ∂ιɛиcɛ мʏ тαяɢɛт. Ƭɛℓℓ ʏσʋя ƨтʋ∂ισ αƨƨιƨтαитƨ Ɩ ƨαι∂ ƨʋρ. тнιƨ αιи'т иσ αвƨтяαcт ραιитιиɢ ι ʝʋƨт ωαит тσ ғʋcκ ʏσʋ. make art just to put it on your website. Make an exhibition like your website. I am goop.
art is subjective.
violence (but in movies is cool)
racism and/or invisibility
the rich get richer / the poor get poorer
free country / most incarcerated country in the history of the world
lets spend millions of dollars going into space or on a sculpture
the melting of the polar ice caps. a future with no art?
a collaborative project by the human race. its called global warming (earth art) but we don't have the language to talk about it
(the beautiful ones always smash the screen) everytime.....
cancer patients writing you emails asking for art
is it a hoax? thats problematic.
numbers on paper
our pr team is not happy with your bmi. you should have been spending less time in the studio and more in the gym
collectors who start galleries
smile for me
under the skin
under the toots
love is overtaking me
never tear us a part
outsider alert in the john mccain sense.
"that was fun while it lasted." - ny times
everything is exspensive. everything takes a long time to make. your studio assistants insist you make a 3d mock up first. the 3d mock up won't tell you shit.
you steal all of your ideas from your friends who are better artists than you. hugs for gaylords. does this real doll come with hemohroids? nobody said it was easy. nobody said it would ever be this hard. whoops i did it again. i heart my amputee slave. the vex has moved. i touch every work but i'm self conscious of painting in from of my assistants. dont get/ mad dont get mean. please stop acting like you used to skate.
a man looking at a rothko painting thinks he's having a heart attack. he sits down on the ground in front of the painting. the museum goers think it's a performance part of the exhibition.
swallow the white cube / swallow the world
2014: i saw arod in the bathroom but didnt know what to say to him.
"That's where artist go to die." - Cady Noland on Gagosian
I love Cady Noland
no group shows
what the hell are you waiting for?
i get in my honda civic and yell
tourettes outbreak all the way to my studio
he thought he hit the big time
3 button or two button?
is the gallery flying you business or coach?
that doesnt matter now........
i donut have no justice, no peace.
Parker Cheeto is Los Angeles-based Parker Ito. This show is attributed to a ton of names on White Cube’s website (which I assume are real; Cheeto / Ito is known to play with these things, though), including his assistants, various friends and an art logistics company in LA. I’m guessing however that this is mainly a Cheeto / Ito affair, because it is his face that is plastered floor-to-ceiling in the lower gallery. Back to those portraits shortly. Cheeto / Ito who is in his late twenties, has various other hip guises, including a Twitter account under the name of Joe Vex (@CreamyDreamy), from which he posts such bon mots as ‘i will never admit ive met someone before unless they admit it first :(’ and ‘i cant fuck you tonight cause im fucking you tonight’. I thought about trying to decipher all this. I looked at the press release, but it was just some story about going to a party in Miami and not recognising New York Yankees baseball star Alex Rodriguez. I looked online, but all I found were interviews in which our man said things like, ‘Harmony Korine is my good friend. He’s a real artist.’ In the end I came to the conclusion that I really couldn’t give a shit.
I CAME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT I REALLY COULDN’T GIVE A SHIT
Which is where I thought initially I’d leave this review. Then I became annoyed that I wasn’t giving a shit, because that’s the kind of Valley Girl attitude, signposted in interviews, those tweets and the party-boy persona displayed in the self-portraits, that Cheeto / Ito’s practice is a knowing expression of, and what is so infuriating about Maid in Heaven/En Plein Air in Hell (My Beautiful Dark and Twisted Cheeto Problem). On the ground floor of the gallery there are six paintings (which mix UV paint, oil, acrylic and screenprinting on each canvas), together with some garish wilting flowers in ceramic vases on the floor; chains hanging down from the ceiling; and a widescreen monitor, also floor-based. I have no idea what the flower and chain motifs (reiterated in a couple of the paintings) are there for. They evoke, respectively, works by Jeff Koons and Kanye West, figures to whom Cheeto / Ito nods in the show’s title. It is hard to determine the reasons for these references, other than their cool cultural cachet (incidentally, Cheeto / Ito can perhaps be seen to perform a similar role for brand White Cube). The paintings are kitsch when studied through the lens of any painterly critique, stylistically closer to tattoo or skate iconography than anything else. It appears, however, that the intention for them is to be looked at less in the terms of painting and more as advertisements for or signifiers of the Cheeto / Ito brand: scrawled across a couple are even the title and dates of this exhibition.
Can you guess what the video that was being shown on the monitor is like? A thoughtful meditation on neoliberal politics and the dispossessed. No, just kidding. You were correct first time: giflike animated characters, phone pics of Cheeto / Ito and his mates having a good time, the music videos of Kanye’s Bound 2 (2013), Robyn’s piss-poor Dancing On My Own (2010), all interrupted occasionally by an industrial noise track neither I nor Shazam recognised. Downstairs: red carpet; more chains; more flowers; more paintings, this time hanging from the ceiling at angles; and those floor-to-ceiling photographic portraits of the man himself looking cool / kind of hot and definitely being aware of both these things. Over the latter images are various lengthy handwritten notes, including a list of ‘Things not likely to be seen in a P.I. Painting’ (Candy Crush, outdoor gear and ‘Jewish Shit’ among them apparently).
ASIDE FROM BEING IMMENSELY BORING, THE PROBLEM WITH ALL THIS IS THAT IT’S TEFLON-COATED
Aside from being immensely boring, the problem with all this is that it’s Teflon-coated. There’s so much layered irony, self-awareness and knowing hints to ideas of vacuity (the artist as brand, from the show title’s evocation of Kanye and Koons onwards); so much celebrated meaninglessness, so much self-publicised lack of a shit given; that to critically hit it with those things just elicits a shrug. To play devil’s advocate, the artist may just be honestly reflecting the generational and cultural environment that surrounds him (poor chap); but if he’s just holding a mirror, with no commentary, with nothing at stake, just a mire of Gen-Y nihilism (and when the artist literally won’t put his name behind the work), it leaves the critic stuck, art criticism stuck and this critic wanting to hit the eject button.
-some dick head
A year ago you decided to have an exhibition in a coffee shop, though you hold no interest in drinking coffee.Exhibitions in cafes amount to a tender history and they customarily land in one of two scenarios: the amateur painter whose work seeks incidental viewers, or the artist who invites the social congress of the cafe into the meaning of the work. Where did yours sit? Maybe you combined and confused the two. Your eight oil paintings, still life depictions of rainbow roses styled and painted in your studio, are thickly folded into the layers of your work and yet are easily separated out to play the role of light material adornments in a neighbourhood cafe. You seemed to be pursuing the sapid activity of the cafe and a moment with an unconditioned audience, and called this moment the ‘prelude.’
A small bird flew into the Grand Avenue space when you’d stepped away for a moment. It was a sweet, bland bird but its flight over the chains and the in-progress installation circled back to the flamboyant parrots that spent time in ‘Maid in Heaven / En Plein Air in Hell,’ in London last summer. Neither of us were present with the parrots, but apparently one of them totally resisted the lens and doesn’t appear anywhere in documentation, a slight by the obstinate bird that probably impresses you. In fact much of the show eschewed the lens and, in a pinchy review that referred more to your Twitter than your work, you were called a ‘valleygirl.’ I still believe this term is sexist and Ann agrees so I’m in good company, though I suspect you remain unconvinced and humored by the accusation. Helen just pointed to the Frank Zappa song that shares the name, but like everything that moves through time and space and cultural placement, its origins are amputated and untraceable and I can’t correlate the meaning of this song with this characterization of you in an exhibition review.
Before the birds attended ‘Maid in Heaven / En Plein Air in Hell’, you had to give a small performance to the gallery staff and it was probably the first time they had been told that this already-abundant presentation was part of a much larger vision for an exhibition that was too verbose to fit into a single space at a single time, that it was stretched across a year, during which time galleries became sites (like a café or an elevator shaft) to be conducted by whatever you charged them with; that began in the quietude of a cafe and continued to a gallery in Echo Park and the apartments that run contiguously to the gallery space and onto the rooftop, where you reproduced a mural from the Denver International Airport, a mural that willingly invites allegations of conspiracy by graphically prophesying future catastrophes or post-apocalyptic scenarios, thick with Judeo-Christian and Mayan symbolism, references to biological warfare, mass human suffering and extinct species… ‘I don’t want to be consumed by your gallery,’ you told them. ‘I want to consume it.’
What has the Internet imparted to painting? This question is hard to resist… both are such protean, generous and treacherous sites for information to swell. Your tiny portraits of Joan of Arc, (or rather, of a printed jpeg of a photograph capturing a sculpture of Joan of Arc) aid this reckoning. When you asked Justin to paint Joan’s portrait in the style that Stingel would make it, the image had already been transmitted across several platforms, had lost and accumulated information and inflection. That there were five paintings produced from the one subject, each readjusted with a new priority or approach, kept the work in its perfectly unstable state. Once the UV-printed chains had been laid over four iterations, it was inevitable that the process had to continue to move on the fifth portrait, hence the chains were rendered in oil paint. This tiny portrait hung on the top floor of the London gallery, above the dealer’s desk,
like a full-stop to the third presentation in this year-long exhibition. While people remarked on the fullness of the show, in a broader context it offered a thin preview to the installation that you’re currently distributing across 12,000 feet of chain on Grand Avenue, Los Angeles.
People really love Parked Domain Girl, maybe because it’s a meme and it connects with people so efficiently. Daniel really loved how the Shipton & Heneage Parked Domain Girl slippers, worn by the receptionists in London, were packed into neat boxes inside elaborate crates. The crates were filled with everything that was leftover from the show, the painted vases and politely scuffed slippers. They’ll remain in these well-built wooden casings and will be transferred to ‘A Lil Taste of Cheeto in the Night,’ heavy traces of the links within this chain of presentations. The elaborate sequence will eventually end with an epilogue in our gallery, another site colonized by this exhibition, where water will be passed through pipes between the works and between the buildings that host this final chapter and it’s subsequent.
In both the cafe prelude and the presentation in London, you abjured putting your name in the spaces where the artist’s name habitually goes. In the cafe, the paintings floated without an author; in London, you filled those spaces on the invitation, the press release, websites, with your assistants’ names and Black Widow. The fallout of confusion has generated its own kind of charming content. Nothing is ever 1:1 with you...
When 600 rainbow roses were delivered to your studio they were kept moist in large orange buckets and a smoke machine accompanied them. The machine’s output softened the eccentric flowers with a smoky filter. When they died, you heaped the rotting plants into the dumpster outside your studio. Above the cafe hosting the rainbow rose still lifes, a billboard was also offered to you. You pasted an image of the languishing roses being swallowed by the dumpster, and then later thought to have a friend come and write graffiti over the billboard. The friend lives in San Francisco and it didn’t ever happen, but one morning you received a photograph from another friend passing by the billboard: unsolicited, somebody had laid graffiti over the billboard with a perfect fade-out towards the top of the image, where the roses rest.
While Marcel Proust has never really been your business, his novel may be meaningfully imposed on theseexhibitions as an analogous way to contemplate them. Their arc covers so much activity that, invariably, some false memories are produced while other memories are abandoned. Details and tangents keep forming generously. So, since Proust has been forced on you, we’ll visit him here: ‘...Botticelli … that name evokes, not the painter’s true work, but the vulgarized idea of it, banal and false.’ Proust maligns the dull delivery of Botticelli as a false referent. Botticelli has been invoked too many times as a pale idea, and in this procedure the ‘true work’ is lost. This immediately led me to your treatment of content, how you are divesting the material of its ‘reference’ to allow content to become a medium in itself. When you lay a recognized form or figure into a work, you manage to circumvent both the ‘true work’ and the ‘banal and false.’ I think it’s chemistry that accounts for this new state of content.
The installation at Grande Ave is populated with versions and hallucinations of other artists’ work (Sturtevant, Murakami, Hockney, Bernini, Koons, anonymous, etc), yet you also apply this treatment to yourself. Documentation of a cast bronze Western Exterminator, suspended by chains in a disused elevator shaft and draped in rainbow roses, is painted 10 feet high. Laid over this is the 3D title screen for ‘WipoutXL,’ a speculative film that you’ll make sometime in the next two years. The activity of the painting occurs in every moment other than the present, but the space conjured by the work holds this history and this future together.
The epistolary form is always a romantic conceit and it ends here. On January 24, we visit the exhibition, which itself will not be complete or resolved or stable on this date, and which feels a lot like making a visit to the lush environs of your subjectivity. Or at least, as mist resembles rain.
Love, as ever
California is a lifestyle. California is sunshine, skateboarding, bright colors muted by smog and disinterest, lazy beach days, warmth. California is a slow passage of time, freeways and exits, avocados and cold pressed juices, trendy dispensaries and designer drugs. Laidback and glossy, California is who you know, where you go, what you drive and most importantly what drives you.
California’s incessant sun drives you to maintain the lifestyle. Its perfect weather enhances your tan, whitens your teeth and allows you to just “chill” even if you don’t want to chill, even if you’re screaming inside and you rather it would rain because it would better suit your mood. California drives you mad though no one would know because you’re the most successful ganja farmer in the state. Though Californians may not love you, they love your product. You’re in the business of fortifying the lifestyle and what’s California without the finest herb?
To maintain homeostasis in California, you have no choice but to start a grow room in your gallery’s basement. You are not addicted to marijuana but to the process of growing, and as long as you keep your customers interested in buying your weed, you can fund your growing addiction. Their lifestyle perpetuates yours.
Your customers demand the best weed so you must be careful to give them exactly what they want as they can easily buy from another grower. There are millions of young growers in California who still struggle to sell their product, after having spent several years in hydroponics schools, learning the proper growing technique, earning impressive hydroponics degrees, yet have never sold an ounce. You are gifted in growing but one strain of weed and customers are willing to spend a lot of money on it, for the time being anyway. The Hydroponics World is always in flux. If customers decide that your weed is no longer doing it for them, they will abandon you at the drop of a hat.
Struggling to create the perfect strain of marijuana, you spend every waking hour in the grow room. If you do not produce the finest pot then why bother growing at all? Your long hours in the grow room are anxiety-ridden and laborious but it is far more excruciating to not grow. As you lie awake in bed, you long to be amongst your plants. Hydroponics is all you know and love – it is your religion, your lifestyle, your California. Sometimes you miss when your marijuana was less popular and the days of growing just for the sake of growing. You once took pleasure in merely giving your product to your friends. Now that you’ve found huge success in the Hydroponics World, simple pleasures you once enjoyed – skateboarding, friendship, chilling and actually smoking - have faded along with financial burden. You begin to wonder if you would even grow at all if your plants did not sell. You would for you truly love growing. You were born to grow Mary Jane.
Hydroponic farming is taxing for just one grower. Though you find contentment in caring for your cannabis, the anxiety of manufacturing so many pounds in such little time bombards you. Eight eager young farmers are hired to help in the grow room. You pay your farmers well because you can afford it. You would still pay your farmers well if you couldn’t afford it because you know what it’s like to be overworked and underpaid.
You remember grueling hours working in oil fields for a mere $12 an hour. You never complained because it kept your family afloat and aiding your family never bothered you. Though you wouldn’t change your upbringing for anything, you never want to struggle for money again. You still help your family with finances as much as you can because you shall never forget where you came from. While adorned in designer garments, eating caviar in Bora Bora with your girlfriend, paying others to make your work, you will always be the son of an oil worker.
Dressed to the nines, the Western Exterminator looks down on the vermin beneath him, warning them that they are to be decimated, berating them for existing at all. People trust the Western Exterminator because he appears to be one of them and thus pay him to execute a dirty job that they don’t want to do themselves. The Western Exterminator may not want to do it but it needs to be done - the rats must be killed. In his expensive suit and tall top hat, the Western Exterminator is paid to eliminate the pests knowing that he is a rat himself.
Serene in your subterranean farm, you can control the temperature of the artificial sunlight and tend to your precious herbs while cutting yourself off from the sterile gallery above. Your farmers work hard to ensure the efficient growth of dank Cali bud yet you feel plagued by onerous decisions pertaining to the fragile politics of the Hydroponics World. Because the weed market is speculative, you must be strategic in sales, more importantly to whom you sell your strain. If you sell to the wrong customer it could destroy your entire business. Sometimes you have no choice but to decline a customer and other times you reluctantly sell to a wealthy customer because he is notorious in the Hydroponics World. As long as the right customers are buying your weed, your business will flourish. Remember that your customers do not care about the months spent farming; your customers are interested in sticky ganja and sustaining their California lifestyle. Subservient to your customers, you – a rat underground – provide for their lifestyle and in turn your growing process is funded.
Once your plants are packaged and sold, you’re now a successful grower yet you have no desire to smoke your product. You prefer travailing in your indoor garden of rapture to schmoozing with customers you would rather be exterminated. You sell to them hoping that they don’t exterminate you. You lose yourself in the process. It’s a lifestyle.
Crammed into 7,500 square feet of leased space behind Château Shatto Gallery in downtown LA, Parker Ito’s current exhibition is a stunning, vertiginous private museum multiplied hundreds of times. The show is over a year in the making, and it’s not finished yet: Ito will continue amending the paintings and installations on view until the exhibition is reprised as an “epilogue.” “A Lil Taste of Cheeto in the Night” is on view until May 2, 2015.
I WANT TO MAKE EXHIBITIONS where there is always a potential for the work to be shifting. There is a sensation that I’m chasing: an exhibition beyond the pacified white cube, something indigestible, something profuse. The question became how to make something that feels like my website, where I’m always making new work and adding things on. In a sense, my website is my masterwork: It’s like a grand edit of everything I’ve ever done, and it takes on a life of its own where things are infused in a bigger structure.
I came up with this two-year project of trying to make something so total and intricate it couldn’t be comprehended—where you could zoom in on the details endlessly, but never zoom out completely. “A Lil Taste of Cheeto in the Night” played out in several stages. It began with a prelude in the beginning of 2014: I hung eight paintings in an Atwater coffee shop. They were completely anonymous and ambient. After the exhibition, the paintings came back to my studio to be painted on some more, and they now hang in this show on the back of larger double-sided paintings.
Part one was at Smart Objects, a project space in Los Angeles, in May 2014. It was the first time I considered the whole building as a medium. I left the main space of the gallery empty. A nonsensical neon sign was hung facing out toward the street. There was a disused, three-story elevator shaft in the building and I broke through the wall to hang a bronze sculpture inside the shaft. Wallpaper was installed in the bathroom, and I hung a series of paintings throughout the second-floor apartment where the dealer lived. I painted a mural on the roof, too.
Part two was at White Cube in London last July. I considered this a trailer for “A Lil Taste of Cheeto in the Night.” This was an effort to make an exhibition that spilled beyond the confines of the designated exhibition space. Children of the gallery’s staff contributed to some of the paintings that were hung throughout the offices, and flower vases made by other employees were scattered around the show. There was also a video piece, which is an episode of another ongoing work, and the receptionists wore pairs of bespoke slippers for the duration of the show. We added live parrots for the documentation. The show was credited as the work of Parker Cheeto and my eight studio assistants. People thought it was a group show.
The content in the current LA exhibition goes through a process of absorption. There are numerous sculptures riffing off the iconography of the local company Western Exterminator; my works feature an iconic top-hatted man with a mallet that sits atop company buildings and vans. They’re something you see often in LA because you’re constantly on the freeway, and Western Exterminator has depots at several freeway locations—off the 101, the 405. I think about how part of being alive is having to constantly process so much information that you’re pushed to a space where you don’t really know what the thing is—it’s just floating. I wanted to be able to incorporate as many media, processes, and strategies, as many kinds of content, as I could grasp. With such a density of information, the chemistry between things becomes unpredictable. The exhibition reaches a point where there is no one-to-one correlation between a reference and its meaning. It’s like when people who don’t read Chinese get Chinese characters tattooed on their bodies. Often those phrases are mistranslated, but it doesn’t really matter to the person what the characters say. They’re mostly interested in the qualities being conveyed by this kind of typography. That’s how I think about content: It’s not equivalent; it’s a filter. I’m invested in the sensation of things.
- as told to Chris Kraus
A dream for some a nightmare to others.
It was a dark time for me. I was sleeping all day and staying up all night playing online chess in Internet cafes.
Why were you going to Internet cafes? You don’t have a computer?
No I smashed it.
You smashed it? Haha. Why?
I couldn’t find a high res jpeg of a smashed computer online anywhere, so I smashed my computer so I could take a photo of it.
!!!!! What did you end up using the photo for?
A flyer I made for my friends show.
A printed flyer?
No it was a jpeg.
Imagine to yourself that you’re an artist, in Miami, at some weird party hosted by a rich Russian. There are celebrities and there is live body painting, the party is cheesy as shit, but you’re fucked up so it’s fascinating. The friend who brought you there introduces you to a tall, tanned man. You take a seat and start conversing. The conversation is geared towards art blah, blah, blah. He scrolls through photos on his iPhone- he owns this and that, this is who he’s interested in, and what he hopes to buy this weekend at the fairs- do you like it? It’s all the shit you hate so you just say “it’s not my thing”. Out of things to talk about you inquire:
“What do you do for a living?”
As the words float from your drunken lips and reach the group of girls behind him, their giggling confirms that he’s probably very well known. The man pauses and smiles. “I’m in sports management.”
Oh ok whatever it doesn’t matter – “I think I’m gonna get another drink, nice talking to you.” You excuse yourself and walk to the bar.
“That’s ARod you fucking retard.”
A black goop violently fills your lungs and overtakes your body, a Lilo & Stitch humidifier sends clouds of steam onto your face; the words ‘Wipeout XL’ and ‘L’Hotel Th.’ - a stationary logotype from an exhibition your girlfriend curated years ago - flash in sync to the sounds of hands clapping. Little Man, the Western Exterminator mascot, smashes aliens in the head, the alien goop splatters into smears of paint or hard edge dots, it’s too hard to tell which as it all moves in and out of focus so fast. This prompts you to reminisce about how you looked when you were in the best shape of your life, the high definition of your body, and you recall a picture of yourself, shirtless. You lose consciousness. As it returns, a mouth slowly comes into focus. The mouth belongs to a European gallerist - he knows nothing of your work. As the rest of his face joins his nose in focus, you realize you’ve spent the whole night drinking heavily with this man. You’re sitting in the bar of your hotel in New York. It’s now late and your eyes are closing and he’s spent the last 20 minutes speaking and you’re no longer following. As you recede deeper into your own thoughts, a phrase springs crisply from his mouth –“ And in the end you have to be hardcore.”
“Yes, you have to be hardcore” – and you make a note in your iPhone. You excuse yourself to bed, but tell the gallerist he is free to stay and drink and put anything on your room tab that he wishes.
The next morning you wake up late for a meeting. You pass quickly through the hotel towards a taxi, past the bar. The gallerist is still sitting, drinking, in the same clothes, in the same seat.
You have to be hardcore.