This year I had tickets to the Wednesday night Whitney Biennial opening (aka "B" night) and bought two $250 passes to the Museum of Modern Art benefit at the Armory Show (7 pm dispensation).
I didn't go to either. Part of the reason is, as a happy newlywed, the pleasures of shoveling snow and gathering wood in rural New England now far outweigh the idea of rubbing shoulders with rich morons in couture and young scenesters who remind me of my former self.
But the meta-reason, to use a cliché, is the sheer disconnectedness of the contemporary art world from reality. Jeffrey Deitch gave us a tour two days ago of his "Garden Party" installation in Soho. As young artists slaved away to concoct yet another disjointed hymn to Deitchland, Jeffrey pointed to a sucking wishing well by Olafur Eliasson in the floor, whose blue hue resembled what comes out of a Tidy Bowl dispenser.
"We're particularly privileged to have this in the show," Deitch intoned. But are we? Yesterday the United Nations predicted that Avian Flu may hit the U.S.A. in six months or less, simply as a function of seasonal changes of wind and water current. Not to get paranoid or anything, but shouldn't all the concerns of the wealthy elites, whether Bushies in Dubai or Bush-haters at the Armory, be taking a back seat in our consciousness at the moment, as they should have consistently since 9/11?
Journalists we've talked to claim that the Armory Show has finally "jumped the shark," and a glance at the copious "VIP calendar 2006" reveals something pathetic: galleries that would never have a shot at being included in Matthew Marks' fandango are hosting breakfasts and drinksfests in conjunction with the moneyfest. Have they no pride? Meanwhile sensible elitists such as Marks' close pal Barbara Gladstone, Luhring Augustine and hip satyr Daniel Reich pulled out of the Armory this year.
One thing I learned working two decades in Democratic Party politics is that John Kerry and George Bush have more in common with each other than you or me.
Getting sick of the Armory means that George Bush is just Matthew Marks in drag. And the left pretensions of the art elite are as stilted and sexless as Karl Rove. Take the semiotics of this year’s Whitney Biennial, named after Truffaut's Hollywood meditation, Day for Night: the meaning of the exhibition derives from the original French title, La Nuit Americain, the American darkness shadowing a world of suicide bombers and their idiot enablers in the West. What a recipe for masochism! Perhaps oceans of Lauder family goop will salve the wounds.
Meanwhile, Tiger Woods golfing in Dubai and so-called radical artists dancing with Adam Weinberg are the problem, not the solution.
To paraphrase the late, great social philosopher Christopher Lasch, it's time to revolt against the elites of all stripes, especially in the world of art.
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).