Monday, February 13, 2012

Sleeping With the Enemy

"Last night I went to a party for Robert Wilson’s new play The Life and Death of Marina Abramović, which stars Marina as herself and Willem Defoe and Anthony of Anthony and the Johnsons as some sort of conceptual entities—money I think, for what other concept could summon into being this  high-watt array of disparate hipstars with nothing in common, nothing save that they had all, separately, become improbably wealthy by making once-edgy art, an achievement that, upon further examination, may be the greatest. If money made a play about itself, it would be this.

Anyways, the party was held in a five story Manhattan townhouse with bedrooms that looked like Finnish saunas and a stairwell that had glass floors, white plastic stairs, a central elevator shaft of granite lined with white LED lights. This might have looked very cool in 1992, so I was disappointed to learn that it had only just been renovated. In other words, the lack of furniture was authentic. Throughout the different rooms were large photos of Willem, Marina, and Bob at rehearsal, lit by film lights set throughout the house. The effect was sometimes interesting, such as in one triptych where the shadow of a window frame cut an excellent diagonal across this Holy Trinity, or as in a photo of Bob directing from the audience, leaning thoughtfully forward in his seat, his face lit so sweetly by the film light, it was as though you were looking at the aura of your own admiration for him on the canvas.

I don’t think I’ve ever been surrounded by such a density of wealthy people, although I have attended a session of the United States Senate. Since there were not many people there my age or tax bracket, I spent most of the party getting hung over in real time on free St. Germain cocktails with the n to my +1, an old college buddy with an in to the Art World. We hung out with one of Marina’s many young acolytes and the acolyte's boyfriend, who, as fate should have it, worked for an NGO promoting open source culture. We all shared the same alma mater and joked about how alumni from my department who come back to campus to talk to students about their careers always begin with a mea culpa about how they used their degree in post-Marxist media theory not to overthrow capitalism but to become corporate media executives. 'It’s funny. Former communists make the best capitalists. Just look at Marina.' 'Or the Chinese Communist Party.' On the way home, my date spoke of Thomas Bernhard’s Woodcutters, and I was glad not to have read it. The faint reflection of my asshole in those five glass floors had been enough introspection for one night."
- James Franco, Gawker

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