Dear ArtReview reader

Jonathan Grossmalerman needs your help to put out a fire in his studio, from the September 2014 issue

By Jonathan Grossmalerman

Courtesy the artist

I was wondering if you could help me out with a small problem.

You see… well, before I really begin, I should explain that I’ve chosen print media to reach out for assistance, as opposed to… say… the Internet or emergency phone assistance, under the impression (please tell me I’m not mistaken!) that the nature of the print media suggests a gravitas that cannot be translated into the language of the super information highway. And gravitas is of the essence! Although speed would be good, too (which is why I’m banking on ArtReview putting this up super quick on their website as well, like they told me they ‘always’ do). But one thing in life I’ve learned is you can’t have both. So I choose gravitas. Sue me.

Firstly, though, before I reveal my godawful situation, I’d like to stress again how quickly I’m going to need your help and hope that once my problem is made clear, you will waste no time in responding.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

You see, I’ve been working sans assistants of late (it seems my poorly fastened bathrobe was more than a few of my employees’ prudishness could, um, bare). In any case, left on my own, I was simply constructing a really awfully large canvas (oh, my knees!) and, in so doing, seem to have made some sort of rookie mistake. I know this because the canvas is now… and don’t ask me how this happened… on fire.

Yes, on fire!

Has anyone out there had this happen to them? If so, how did you remedy it? Maybe some of you less serious people can look it up on a blog. I would really appreciate any suggestions you might have, because contrary to my earlier expectation, the fire has actually grown quite a bit larger since I first became concerned. And incredibly it appears still to be growing. I mean, even since I started writing this!!!

I’m sure you can imagine my dismay.

Now, again, if anyone, I mean, really… anyone out there has any pointers as to how I can best handle this situation, or at the very least a suggestion regarding how to avoid this happening in the future, I could really use it now. Like, right now! I’ve already exhausted most of the options that would seem obvious, eg, pouring my drink on it and covering it in turpentine-soaked rags to deprive it of oxygen, but that just seems to have made it angry. I’ve even opened all the doors so as to give the fire the freedom to leave but it seems entirely content to stay put and has even spread to the other rooms as well.

I’ve absolutely racked my brain trying to figure out what might have happened. At first I thought it was from mixing Liquitex acrylic extender with Golden acrylic extender, but that, frankly, seems unlikely. Though the two companies are competing, it probably wouldn’t suit their interests to go setting studios on fire. And after all, my lunch drink is a Stoli & Georgi on the rocks, and that doesn’t simply explode when you mix it, provided you keep it away from cranberry juice. I learned that the hard way.

So here I will wait, crouched in the corner, wrapped in plastic sheeting to protect myself from the heat and checking the comment section on for your advice. I’ve even made a couple of drawings of the situation to give you a physical sense of what I’m up against. Also, I drew a picture of what I must look like wrapped in plastic sheeting simply because it occurred to me that it’s probably pretty cool… you know… visually speaking. I’m always creating. That’s just me. Love me, love my constant creativity.

So, to recap:

1. My entire studio is a blazing inferno.

2. I could really use your help… really anything… a suggestion or a concrete way out of this situation. Although I suppose the latter, at this point, would be preferred.

Please help…

This article was first published in the September 2014 issue.