The judgement of Solomon, and how I deferred it

The ups and downs of an artist's life, by Jonathan Grossmalerman

By Jonathan Grossmalerman

Ah! It’s good to be back in the game!

My wilderness years were long and, frankly, boring. Oh, how good it feels to be in from the cold. It’s terrible out there. Grim, even. But that’s all over now, and the good times are here forever.

Of course, it must be said that with all the good that is happening, there is also the bad. For instance, I must now make hard decisions again. The difficult choices that used to be a daily exercise. Like, for instance: do I go to the parent/teacher meeting at my daughter’s school or attend a curators’ dinner at MOMA? After all, Tracie seems to be doing fine. I mean, last time I checked she was as moody, food-measuring and death-obsessed as any other eleven-year-old. And a free dinner doesn’t happen every night. Right? Perhaps it is time I take care of my own needs for a change. And since I’ve never fared well with all these highminded curators, now is my chance to give them a little bit of the old Grossmalerman magic!

The exciting stuff is coming so hard and fast, I’m having trouble keeping up! In fact, I recently scheduled two solo shows to open on the same night... on opposite sides of the country! TWO! One in LA at the venerable Abrishamian & Dardashti and one in New York at the not-quite-Hauser-&-Wirth-but-will-do-for-the-moment Husthauzer & Wack. Which, at the very least, has the same initials. I’m sure I wrote them down as being on different dates on the paper scraps I keep on my desk, but someone I won’t name (my idiot assistant Neal) moved them, and now I have no proof and only found out about the scheduling conflict when I got the invitations!

I’ve developed a new painting technique that really speeds up production. I call it Thin & Sloppy, and boy does it get the job done! So I’ll definitely get all the paintings out in time. That’s not the problem! I just have no idea how I’m going to get myself to both openings. I’d postpone one, but I feel like it’s a little late in the game to do that, so now I really have to come up with a contingency plan. Probably a very complicated one that takes advantage of the three-hour New York–LA time difference. Unfortunately the flight is six hours, so I still end up with a three-hour deficit. I just can’t seem to make it add up! I could just show up really late and say I got the hours mixed up, but sooner or later they’re going to see some press and figure it out. If they haven’t already! Good God! What if they already know and haven’t said anything? Maybe they’re just waiting to see which gallery I choose! Am I walking into some terrible trap? No! I simply must make this work. Since LA is three hours behind, maybe I can suggest that the New York gallery make their opening earlier and then sneak out, jump on a plane and voilà! That probably buys me a couple of hours! Provided there’s no traffic! Oh, who am I kidding? This is LA we’re talking about! It’ll probably take three hours just to get into town. Good God, this is frustrating. Does it make any difference if I fly against the turning of the globe? If not, why not?

How the hell does Ai Weiwei do it? He seems to be able to make an ass of himself on several different continents concurrently. Is he magic? Or has he simply reached a level of shamelessness I have yet to scale? The Kapoor Summit, as it’s called. Peak McCarthy! Perhaps these arms are too short to box with God, but I shall continue to study at the hem of the masters.

Did I mention both exhibitions open on my daughter’s birthday? I think she’s turning twelve.

This article first appeared in the April 2016 issue of ArtReview.