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Noix de pécan
Bruce McLean (1971) Pose Work for Plinths 3
I am a press release.
I’ve been ping-ponged between different people for days now. The artist hated me from the beginning. Then the gallerist wanted more background on the artist’s achievements. Finally versions got crossed so the deadline was extended. Now there is no end in sight. I’m kind of tired.
I was in my final draft this morning when the artist suddenly suggested we use his fingerprint in place of a text describing the exhibition. This came after a gallery assistant compiled me, with endless enthusiasm and patience, out of multiple keywords and half-ideas spewing from the gallerist and the artist. Now she is starting to look frustrated, as it doesn’t seem to be coming together. The gallerist reminds her in a hushed voice that the artist is in a difficult place in his career as well as in his private life.
The gallerist greets the artist on the display of her tablet. He is still in Berlin to sort out his relationship and looks a bit dazed, but that might be the video quality. She tells him this is really not a good time for him to be disappearing like this. He asks when a better time to schedule a nervous breakdown might be. “Just not now, dear.” She turns to look blankly at the gallery assistant, trying to decide whether to be tough on him or make him feel understood. She sighs and assures him they will figure out a solution. ”You can show your studio assistants how to finish the work. We’ll work through this press text and send it out. Just tell us how you want the work photographed and then you can bail out after the opening and take a vacation and relax.” “So you don’t like the fingerprint idea?” “No, it’s really lame.”
The assistant uses the moment of confusion to google the effects of a Paleolithic diet. Her boyfriend started the diet some weeks ago and he became a lot more alert and focused. But he might have become less affectionate and almost cold. She wonders whether hunter-gatherers were less capable of sustaining relationships. She finds more stuff on idiosyncrasy and scavenging and looks up definitions of detritivores and decomposers such as fungi. She looks at the image of Mycena Interrupta and is stunned by its shiny cyan color. Incoming mail interrupts her browsing and she switches back to work mode.
What am I supposed to do? The gallerist turns to the assistant after the Skype call ends. We’re already showing an older piece in the exhibition. It’s a beautiful piece, vivid and bold, but he’s too young to burn out and he’s selling well. He needs to learn to delegate more of the actual production. The assistant bites her lip. I think he’s having a crisis. He told me he’s having serious doubts as to whether it even makes sense to go on.
People say Edward Bernays invented me but that’s just because they’ve all been watching The Century of the Self. From what I know Ivy Lee used me before, when he invented crisis communication for his clients who were involved in all sorts of disasters and crimes. Remember the Ludlow Massacre? I’ve been involved in the battle around versions of a story from day one so just try to tell me something new. Speaking of crisis communication, why not openly announce that this artist is going through a phase of depression and insecurity and sell it as an expression of the collapse of a rotten system? I wouldn’t mind. We could sell him as a decomposer, a fungus, or a piece of majestic mold waiting to be consumed. I think that would be very contemporary and I’d enjoy being part of it.
I’m sorry if I’ve been out of touch as of late. Things have been a little topsy-turvy.
I wanted to invite you to my SOLO SHOW opening on November 17 at e-flux in New York. I hope you can make it.
With warm regards,