ED YOUNG'S DIARY
Friday, November 3
Working hard. Christian Nerf and I have to attend an important meeting in New York. We have had about 10 days to raise R 30 000. On top of that I am worried about getting a visa to the States on such short notice. My passport arrives this morning. They gave me a 10 year visa. And the fundraising attempt is going ok.
Monday, November 6
Getting ready to leave. It's always such a fucking mess the day before. I meet with Gregg Smith at Lola's Café and get the distinct feeling that I have been fired from the VRT residency programme - for squandering my production money and not actively engaging with the residency. I tell Gregg that I still love him, as he seems hurt. I personally feel that getting fired has put a spin on my work and feel slightly happy. And I think that Gregg Smith should get his thoughts in order.
Tuesday, November 7
Get to the airport early. I am always worried that I booked the wrong dates. I seem to do it all the time. I don't know why I always do this. Fuel spill in Johannesburg, no one can take off. We only had two days to book the flight, so the cheapest was Emirates. A recommendation to all artists - lots of leg room, good food, lots of booze, service, WiFi on board, hot air stewardesses and a plug-point for your laptop. We buy some 3mg Melatonin and sleep tight.
Wednesday, November 8
We arrive in New York City early in the morning. I have a disgusting Budweiser at the airport. We catch a cab to Brooklyn. We are Staying with Gustavo Artigas, a prominent and very interesting artist from Mexico City who makes curators spontaneously combust (not kidding). A chancy taxi driver drops us off at Clinton Street instead of Clinton Ave. Leaving us broke and standing in heavy showers. We sort it out. We arrive at a small bachelor's apartment where Gustavo, Maria and baby Camillo is staying. We have a problem...
We go to Gustavo's ISCP studio to have a look. Berni Searle will be working there next year. We have a look at his new work but are asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. So I am not allowed to tell you. We try and see a bit of NYC in the rain and end up at a hot dog stand, followed by a palm tree-infested bar with large-breasted Puerto Rican ladies with utterly small (if one could call) mini-skirts. I feel suddenly happy.
End up having dinner with Sean Slemon and his newly acquired wife, Amy Kauffman (from con-hill). Sean's work is getting really strong and Amy is working hard - jetlag and whiskey...
Thursday, November 9
We have officially invaded Gustavo's studio as our new office. He does not seem too happy. We finish work and head off to Central Park and actually, by God, find a good coffee (these Americans don't like strong tastes). We have a fairly good meeting with Robert Storr, curator of the 2007 La Biennale di Venezia. We uncover all the secrets regarding the Okwui-Salah scandal. Once again, I cannot tell you, as this is confidential. We meet with Johan Kritzinger and have a Vodka pizza - highly recommended. Jetlag sets in again...
Friday, November 10
Relieved that our meeting is over. Walking around in circles in Manhattan. See Jamie Oliver. We head up to Union Square for the best burger in town. It is not so great, except that all the people that go there and work there are want-to-be models and actresses - an aesthetic thunderstorm. We hook up with Johan again and find the cheapest bar in New York - a relief. I have to meet with NYC artist Tom Johnson. He tells me that he fell in love with a Torino girl and is moving there. We go to an opening at a gallery called Canada. The pretensions of the NYC art crowd are finally revealed...
Saturday, November 11
Have a breakfast beer with Sean. We head off to Brooklyn Museum to see a Ron Mueck retrospective - fucking impressive. Sean and I run off to the Mac shop in SoHo. The people there are really mean and the gear is nice. We just needed to buy an illegal import Mac for artist Zen Marie. We go to a bar in the area and I immediately fall in love with the bar lady. She is small with black bushy hair, wearing a Jagermeister T-shirt and gives me free beer (a luxury in Manhattan Island). We have more Vodka Pizza. We land up in the SoHo loft of two young hot fashion designers. We brought beer and pistachios. We end up having an argument about art and they seem stupid and we never even got to shag. The whole thing left a bit of a bitter taste. Espresso...
Sunday, November 12
Wake up late. Work at Sean's place and Johan comes around. We go for dinner at an SA place called Madiba's, for culture shock value - Beans Bunny = R150. Back to Sean's for whiskey. Have an email fight with some Russian for not wanting to return some of Nerf's Polite Force gear. I get threatened with a real American lawsuit for calling the guy an asshole. Pass out...
Monday, November 13
Worry about my lawsuit. Sean and I go for a breakfast beer. Christian and I present our 'No Problem in Africa' project to graduate students at the Pratt Institute. They seemed at a bit of a loss for words. Had drinks with Sean. I thought about RoseLee Goldberg, the curator of 'Performa', and also the head honcho of performance in general. I had sent her an email about interesting African performers we had met with. She never got back to me. I am really tired of running after high-profile curators.
We went to MoMA - Fucking disappointing. It seems these museums are still stuck on so-called modern art and have very little affiliation with contemporary, or in simpler terms, what people are doing at present. I finally found the contemporary 'room', and was at least happy to see Pippiloti Rist's video where she smashed the windows of cars. I finally got to see Martin Creed's Lights going on and off. But strangely the piece was under repair. I think I was in a better position to see them on...
MoMA sucked. So we went to the Irish pub across the road. While having some nachos Carlos Basualdo walked in. Anyone remember him? He curated 'The Structure of Survival' at Venice a few years ago. Chris Ledechowski was on it. It was a pretty shitty show of images of squatter camps. Apparently Basualdo did not even speak to Chris at the show and Chris was forced to sell his house after Venice to cover the costs, as Basualdo did not even provide the basic funding. Basualdo was overheard as we left saying: 'I am so tired of artists'. So baby, don't bite the hand. I was a bit depressed about our participation in international expositions. He was also with the director of the Warhol Foundation, who happens to look exactly like Andy Warhol. Does anyone take this guy seriously? Really.
Tuesday, November 14
We catch an early flight back. Christian gets arrested for bringing in wooden carvings of guns into Dubai airport. They literally looked like those gun-shaped things you buy at church bazaars. The officials still lock him in a small room. The thought passed my head of just leaving him in Dubai. Kathryn Smith will kill me.
Wednesday, November 15
We arrive back, only to find this place is as boring as when we left. We sleep for a couple of days.
Saturday, November 18
Go to Jonathan Garnham's birthday at L/B's. Good to see this venue is picking up again. Need a few days to recover. Maybe a week exactly. And Jonathan Garnam's wife is hot!!!
Monday, November 20
Spend the rest of the week working on proposals. Pretty boring.
Friday, November 24
We manage to get our Venice proposal in on time. Sleep for two days.
Monday, November 27
Went all over this weekend and just feel more exhausted. Tonight I went to the launch of 'Artworks in Progress' only to find I had been excluded from this publication. I do not know why and I do not know why I invest so much time in Michaelis. I feel a bit underappreciated...