Another thing that marriage has changed is that I have gone from NEVER watching TV to, occasionally, when I am too exhausted to read, plunking down beside my sweetie in front of the box. Last night, I saw an episode of “Saved”, a drama about ambulance workers, and one of the subplots was about an artist who was brought in because he was spontaneously gushing blood from his nose. It wasn’t the coke that he had snorted with the girl he met in the bar the previous night (after he brought her home in his Porsche and drew her naked). No, he was dying from the benzene in his painting materials. He had a crazed look in his eye whenever they gave him a close-up, and as he was being wheeled into the emergency room against his will, he makes a pass at the nurse, trying to impress her with “I’ve been in the Whitney Biennial…”. His parents are dead, he has no friends, and he pays the ambulance attendant $200 to call his ex-wife to tell her that he is dying, and she responds that she “hopes that it is painful” and hangs up. Apparently, this guy is a real asshole. He could prolong his life for a while if he stopped painting, but this is unacceptable to him, and he eventually jumps off a very high bridge after musing about what pigments he would use to mix the color of the sky and rattling off the names of some of the really great artists who have killed themselves, hoping to be counted amongst them. (Alphabetical list of artists who have committed suicide)
Does anyone know any artists who drive Porsches? This was obviously a tragic morality tale about an artist who lived only for his art, was successful in his career, and was a miserable human being. (Depictions of artists in films). We know that ALL successful artists can’t possibly be assholes, but does it improve your chances of "making it" if you are? (We used to debate this question in grad school until the wee hours, because, apparently, the few famous artists that we knew collectively at that time were). Now that I have met a few famous and almost-famous artists, I know that it is simply not true: I'm sure that Ann Hamilton would be a delightful person to have over for a dinner party. But not Jeff Koons (unless you like that kind of thing).
On a lighter note, today I received the Amazon book I bought my niece for her birthday, Lady in The Water by M. Night Shyamalan, (click on the link to see him reading excerpts) and I will need my own copy the minute that I send it off, as I have looked at it ten times and want to keep looking at it. Crash McCreery did an amazing job with the illustrations, somewhat Chris Van Allsburg-esque, but less stiff and chunky, more nuanced. I am jealous of this book.