I can’t shake off this nagging feeling. Things should be good. It’s Christmas. The new job I’ve got with leading dealer of 1970s conceptual ephemera, Oliver Watkins, seems to be going splendidly. The Tom Ford fringed tuxedo I wore to the ArtReview Christmas party went down a treat. And yet I have this odd feeling that something’s wrong. To try and get some good karma I’m determined to bag the first item on this Christmas wishlist, Ang Tsherin Sherpa’s Peace Out (2013), which is estimated at $1,000 by Paddle 8 in their Art for Tibet benefit auction and is an Artist's Proof from an edition of 25. Sherpa is also on view at Rossi & Rossi in London, which is a nice eye-opener after a visit to the rather jejune early Mondrian show at David Zwirner next door.
Next on my list to raise my karma is Jesse Wine’s Jesse that’s a REALLY good idea, which is a charming Sports Direct mug gone wrong and is available from Limoncello in an edition of 299 for the price of £299 (geddit?) Sports Direct has been in the news here in Blighty for all the wrong reasons with unions describing the conditions as 'akin to a workhouse'. Also perhaps my purchase will lift the spirits at Limoncello who despite once being the future are not part of the collaborative project Condo Complex which seems to be designed so that the participating London galleries can flag just how cool they are. I also was once the future but am feeling increasingly hunted. My Christmas cards to all the god curators, art fair folk and management team at the Sotheby’s Institute who have regularly featured in my magazine column over the years are going unreturned.
Am I being unnecessarily paranoid?
To calm my nerves the third item on my Christmas wishlist is Dave Hickey’s soon to be published, 25 Women: Essays on Their Art, from the University of Chicago Press, because what women really need is an old bloke like Dave to take charge and tell us all about what we’ve been doing. And even though this ‘new’ book is a collection of essays, I firmly believe that in no way is this simply a re-hash of some random essays put together so Dave’s got a bit of a cashflow through next year.
But even as I write these words I realise that it is this type of passive-aggressive, or let’s be honest, simply aggressive, sniping that has got me into the situation I’m in. Okwui shuns me. HUO, the subject of one of my earliest columns, won’t look me in the eye anymore. Even Sir Nicholas Serota simply sighed when I suggested that the way the Turner Prize was going they would end up awarding it to a novelty potter who has no discernible artistic talent. So fourth on my list is the Covert Level IIIA Vest that is available from Spymaster who are handily located near Home House on Portman Square. Am I being unnecessarily paranoid? Have I been looking at too much work by Trevor Paglen? The scuba-diving artist is everyone’s favourite activist now as Hito is just so last year and Theaster is showing with Jay. So I’m plumping for Paglen’s book I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed By Me, as my final choice on this Christmas list. The book features 70 military shoulder patches worn by the US Military during classified operations. I’m memorising them all so that if I see Gioni, Spiegler, Okwui, HUO or any of their ilk coming towards me wearing one, at least I’ll know what to do.
Online exclusive, published 16 Decemeber 2015