Jonathan Grossmalerman gets a taste of fame

The ups and downs of an artist's life, from the October 2015 issue

By Jonathan Grossmalerman

Courtesy the artist

How exciting! It seems my new gallery relationship is already beginning to pay dividends. I just received a call from Nozzlebaum & Gack saying that not only had they sold all the smaller works from my show (tiny vagina paintings I had earlier dismissed as mere trifles!) but the so-so review I received in the NY Times has unleashed a cavalcade of real, honest-to-goodness, actionable interest! For instance, I’ve been offered a winter artist’s residency in Terence, Utah, an honorary degree at Kumperagensdorf Polyteknik, a seat on the board of the Nyack Museum of Art, shows at Kunst Halle Amersfoort, the Center for Contemporary Art Kalamazoo, the Lewis Collection (Scranton, PA) and unbelievably the Daniel Grubstein Museum of Contemporary Art, South Beach. Which is in France! I’ve been asked to design a humorously irreverent wine label for an Australian vineyard, received several requests for interviews from something called ThisArtRocks.com and AintItCoolNews.com and also a teaching position at Arizona State University’s reasonably esteemed Ladies Painting Department.

Also, as though in one seemingly magic stroke, Matthew Higgs, Lisa Yuskavage, Chuck Close, Marlene Dumas, John Currin, Nicole Eisenman, David Salle, Sandro Chia, Enzo Cucchi, Nick Cave, both Bob and Roberta Smith, Terence Koh and Oscar Murillo finally accepted my friend requests on Facebook! It’s as though, after this cold long winter spent wandering alone in the wilderness, spring has finally arrived, bringing with it in its damp and gentle bosoms all the hopes and possibilities of Mother Earth’s kindest season. What shall I do with all this newfound power, I wonder? Exact my revenge? Write snide comments on their posts? No! I must keep my head… After all, it’s only just beginning. Soon I will be back in my perch! I know because I’ve also been receiving exciting support from all across the globe thanks to the miracle of social media. For instance, a girl named Darla<3, who may live in San Diego, says she thinks my work is ‘SUPER rad’. And there’s a girl in Brazil named DeeKa75k who seems sad about life in general but really digs my work, and a boy in Smolensk who loves my paintings as much as he hates his parents. A high school girl from Ontario named angel_cum6 says she wants to get a tattoo of one of my skull paintings! I know because I was online all night chatting with her. She also writes very emotional lyrics for the band she hopes to be in one day. It feels wonderful to be able touch so many young people! Not a night goes by where I don’t have a long, drawn-out, meaningful conversation with a young person. What can I say? The Internet is amazing!

SCULLmaster33 has started following my Instagram account and ‘liked’ almost all the paintings I’ve posted there! So has artits671, young_SQRTR, mentholLIGHTS, sugarbomb20, sahin.muradov, goulorama, skrtskrrtskeetskeeet, booth_bitch, lukeyluwop, catsittinginmyroom, velvetpuss, sadgrrrlll, yung_sqrtr, spookyteenager and so many others. I can’t express my sense of elation and power. Why, just as I was writing this, jasman420 started following me. Out of the ether! If this continues I’m going to be right back on top where I belong! Sure, maybe Kumperagensdorf Polyteknik is no Yale University and the Lewis Collection may not be the Gaddafi Collection, but Gaddafi’s dead. Really dead! I’ve checked! And he didn’t leave anyone to manage his collection. The Nyack Museum of Art et al shall be my steppingstones, mere rungs on the proverbial ladder, corpses piled high upon which I shall climb from this trench of midcareer mud! The Lewis Collection is simply going to have to do! And look, I’m getting the most ‘likes!’ and sometimes, here and there, a comment! Zagreb_teener, H00kerproblemz_7, GrijzNL52, Me2, DEZZIE69, h377, dariastnova, home_advantage, new_ROSE, Con_ARTbae, HELP_IliveinSyria, soldierofGod and G0ldfinch_8 are in love with my paintings! I’m on top of the world! You try and beat that!

This article was first published in the October 2015 issue.