Ed Young's Diary
Saturday, June 2
Late at night in my studio. It seems all my inmates have become nine-to-fivers. I am really struggling to come up with good work for a show in Miami, December. Need to think of something quick. They have to get press stuff in. I mail L/B. They are showing in the main space. I need to get an idea of how their work will affect the space. I am not sure if I can disclose the work prematurely, but it is hectic. I have no budget. I feel like the silly South African artist again. But this should all be fun.
This morning I have a dream I am at some weird art fair. It is sort of like a farm. A bit Mad Maxy. Maurizio Cattelan is there. He keeps on giving me dirty looks. I think it is because I can't stop staring at him. He also has a funny haircut. When he is called up to do a talk he violently kicks his chair which deliberately hits me, and gives me a final glare. Somehow we make up later and start talking. Then he turns into a girl and we start making out.
Wednesday, June 6
I am meant to leave for Venice today. I was invited to partake in a panel discussion involving setting up sustainable networks between young international curators and artists. I was invited only a few weeks ago and therefore fundraising did not work out too well, and the bank keeps on 'phoning me about the money I owe them from my last trip. And it seems like everyone else is going (sob sob). I urge all arty-orphans left in Cape of Stormers to join me for a felching party.
Then I get an email stating that Paul Edmunds is riding his bicycle from the City Bowl to Three Anchor Bay... in his birthday suit. Apparently the seat also gets removed. This makes me happy. And it has something to do with global warming. Ja right. (The city refused us permission, but apparently it is going to happen in the near future. Watch out! - Sub-Ed)
Friday, June 8
Ronan Coyle arrives at the 2666 studios from Jo'burg. Always bad news. He thinks that I am depressed and tries to force me into a car in the morning. I refuse. He succeeds. We leave ug imberg in the studio with his belittled Face Book addiction. He refuses to come along.
Saturday, June 9
At 7pm, I awake near Heidelberg, a small town on the South coast, not fully sure how I was removed from my apartment. I take a slash. I am told we are very close to Plettenberg Bay.
We are going to see Barend de Wet.
ug imberg, unaware of our whereabouts, works in his studio today. Happy as hell that he is on his own, he decides to blast cheap death metal all night [day] long, unsuspecting of the fact that we had removed the 'Please keep it down today, we are having a workshop' note from the Scalabrini Centre assholes. Unimpressed, they post a note on our studio door reading 'Thank you... you are too kind'. We laugh. Bad artists seem to have a repetitive tendency to do bad workshops... all the fucking time.
We arrive at de Wet's lovely farmhouse, a little bit blue but cute nonetheless. He has an amazing studio and a tiny guest residence and a fuckoff view of the valley. Happy to see me, de Wet insists on using the 'really nice' firewood to make a braai. I believe this to be the truly first conceptual braai, made by two conceptual artists. We kept it going but forgot to put any meat on it, turning the grid every five minutes or so. Damn those Tassies-Cathembas! The fire burns beautifully into the dying night, accompanied only by the wailing whispers of sleeping coyotes.
I finally realise that 'I am so fucking mainstream'.
Sunday, June 10
The fire is still going. We attempt the longest braai. More Cathembas and forgotten memories of spooning with Christian Nerf and Ronan Coyle. Today we harvest some plants, experience an interesting yo-yo competition and take honey from starving bees. Nice day.
Monday, June 11
Spooned again with Christian and Ronan, and possibly Barend. I realise that there is something fundamentally wrong with me.
Fuck Mondays. Make braai.
Tuesday, June 12
Drive back to Cape Town. I get a call from UCT reminding me of my marking deadline for Friday. The week goes to waste. At least, the time spent at Barend de Wet's place sounds promising for future residencies and research Nerf and I am doing on our 'Africa' project.
Tuesday, June 19
We're at the Kimberly Hotel for the evening with Doug Gimberg, Doreen Southwood, Christian Nerf and Roxy. I feel sad about Ruthie, bad break up. Doreen tries to make me feel a lot better. I go to the bathroom. Christian tries to get Doreen into conversation, pulling and tugging. Doreen says that she had been speaking with me about Ruth.
Christian explains to Doreen: 'Ruth is a bit like putting your finger up your own bum: it's nice but it's a bit weird.'
We tell Foxy to remove everyone from the bar so we can make a braai. Doug Gimberg and I run to the shop to buy meats and salads. Upon leaving the Engen-Garage-24hour-Woolworths-stop Doug attempts to bump me into some people at the cash machine. I stumble on. I spot Suzette Bell-Roberts in a fancy SUV getting a fuel recharge. I go to say hello. She is in tears and as I kiss her she points behind me (at Doug through the window) crying: 'It was him... He did it!'
We make a braai... with Foxy.
Wednesday, June 20
My show opens tonight at Blank Projects in the Bokaap. It is an exhibition curated by Carrie Timlin and Lily Luz, two young curators from Cape Town. The exhibition is called 'The Inchoate, Idiosyncratic Descent into Nihilism'. It showcases six one-night exhibitions over the next few months. On Monday afternoon I phoned Carrie Timlin:
Informal Phone conversation:
Ed Young: Hi Carrie. I notice there is no email press out yet. The show opens in two days...
Carrie Timlin: What email invitation?
EY: Well... you know... that press release and e-invite that usually gets sent out on Blank's mailing list, and the Michaelis mailing list.
CT: Oh... I don't know about that... do we need it?
CT: Well I sent Jonathan [Garnham] an email a few days ago... He hasn't replied and he is away for a month...
EY: No he's not... I got drunk with him on Friday and Saturday...
EY: Just call him...
CT: I don't have call time...
EY: Go to his office...
CT: Where is that...
EY: Above Blank Projects...
CT: Oh... Ok... are emails necessary?
I put down the phone left only with the slight ambience of irritation. I am so sick of unprofessional behaviour. I decide not to pitch for my own show and not install and switch off my phone. It's a few minutes before the show and I am having a beer at the Kimberley Hotel, watching the clock. I phone Khwezi Gule, to ask for a lift from Jo'burg airport. I suddenly feel some sort of strap-on behind me but manage to wiggle my skinny ass out of the situation, while speaking on the phone (we call this multitasking). I turn to find Jonathan Garnham with a scary-looking-multicoloured-roofrack-strap. I tell him that this is not necessary and rather convince him to have a beer. We have a few. I explain my dilemma and Jonathan agrees to let me just do what I want. He tries to convince me to just come and show face. I have a friend going through a bad crisis and tell him it's best to just hang out with her. After an hour, curiosity gets the best of me and I tell my friend that if she needs cheering up we should go see what's happening at 'my show'.
She giggles and we go.
We arrive at the opening in my immaculate cream '72 model Mercedes-Benz (with red leather seats). I get a lot of slack from a lot of people for not pitching. The Carrie Timlin mother gets hold of me and starts with (what seemed like) a three hour tirade, about how I am supposed to set an example and Carrie worked so hard on the hats (will explain later) and and... I explain to Carrie's mother that I don't really care who curates a show but always expect them to behave extremely professional. I have other things to do than show curators how to write press releases and try to get them in on time.
I don't know which is more embarrassing: The curator's mom shouting at me, or the curator's mom.
Sunday, June 24
Doug and I hop on an early flight to Johannesburg. We want to see what this fuss and this 'Africa Remix' thingy is all about. The artwork formerly known as Bruce Gordon is in the front of the plane. Apparently he gets 'air-sick'. Robert Sloon is sitting behind us. Sue Williamson is on a plane 15 mins later. Thank God! I am very late with my ArtThrob submissions.(Not to worry Ed, so was she. Now if I was on the plane... - Sub-Ed)
Hope to spend some time with her in Jo'burg. I'm so getting fired.
'Ja, you can tell we're on a cheap flight. Cheap flights always have ugly hostesses' Doug explains. 'Ja, but all of these ones have great blowjob lips' I say. 'And especially the boy hostess' Doug says [smiles] satanically.
After getting stuck at the Zoo Lake Bowling club for the afternoon, we make our way to JAG and get lost in Joubert Park area. We make it to the show and it is absolutely packed. Everyone is there, people I have not seen in years. I won't start with the list. I decide to look at the show some other time, as it is pointless under these circumstances. I feel completely overwhelmed by all the people and ex-girlfriends. Then the speeches start, one completely useless blah blah after the next. I stick to the bar. Simon Njami looks a bit trashed and rock star-like in his night-time shades. I feel a bit of tension between me and Njami and Fernando Alvim. They are under the distinct impression that I am behind the Blogspot know as ArtHeat. At this stage I don't really care and am willing to take the bullet for Robert Sloon, the editor. I let it go. The party is undercatered and the booze runs out prior to the performance.
Doug and I crash where we fall as we don't really have accommodation, and only a couple of hundred bucks between us.
Monday, June 25
Lazy hangover day. We can't really go anywhere, as people in Jo'burg have jobs, meaning we don't have lifts. Hook up with Zen Marie.
Tuesday, June 26
I rise late. We cruise back to JAG. There is an artist talk around 'Africa Remix'. The talk bores me. I was not expecting three hours of biographies and artist statements. I go for a beer with painter Jake Aikman instead. At least we get to spend a bit of time in the exhibition halls. Apparently the talk picked up in the last 15 minutes. I was expecting the discussion to be rigorous, digging into current discursive dialogues surrounding African representation and curatorial strategies and the like. The whole thing seems a bit arrogant, disguised as condescending back-patting.
I catch a lift with theorist Bettina Malcomess in her flashy sports car. We head for the after party at IFAS; rosé sparkling on tap, beautiful canapés and full tumblers of neat Johnny Walker Black. The rooftop party picks up nicely. Pity about the World Music. Yet another stereotype. I get introduced to Njami again. He says: 'You run some blog of sorts' meaning, I assume, ArtHeat. 'No I don't', I say. A bit irritated I turn and walk away.
We move to Bie Venter's studio for the after afterparty. Fantasic space. I get introduced to Bie as Ed. She asks if I am related to Ed Young. I say: 'No, that guy is an asshole.' Bie reckons that she heard similar rumours. Later I am introduced as Ed Young, and she feels slightly vulnerable. Doug and I play a game of pool against Fernando Alvim. We lose. It's a bit like the artworld.
We drive Moshekwa Langa home. It starts to snow. I think it has something to do with 'Africa Remix'.
Wednesday, June 27
Delays at O.R. Thambo airport. Snow on the Airplanes. It takes us 10 hours to get back to Cape Town. We are very happy to be back. I develop a violent 'flu lasting a few days.
Thursday, June 28
Mario Todeschini comes around to the 2666 Studios to take pictures of us. He has a brief to photograph his impression of the Cape Town art world in two days. It is for the first issue of a new international art magazine called Art World. The shoot takes long, but at least it involves a golden shower from Robert Sloon. I am suddenly happy.
Friday, June 29
Finish up my ArtThrob Diary for the month. Paul Edmunds (my Sub-Ed) is very, very angry... (You have no idea how angry I was