A Farewell to Art

By Dangeris F.A.G.

(The art that looks like Jean-Michel Basquiat is, in fact, Jean-Michel Basquiat)

(Romàn & Clay are two friends driven by a common psycho-sexual philosophy, who try to view everything . . . differently. They try hard---like us---like artists who know they're brilliant but aren't famous yet. This is Part I of a thematically linked series of shorts)

Sometimes Clay didn’t know if he liked it around people or art.  That’s what it was like when he attended an “opening” at the art bldg.  Anyway it was some kind of art scene and there was Kenneth from Theater.  Clay knew his game: from Kenya by way of East End London, an Anatole Fugard sort of race nigga faggot.  Thinks absolutely everything’s racist.  Nevertheless a freak African club queen.  Bottom for sure.  Okay, Kenneth is acting precious too, so they say dick to each other.  Then Kenneth minces over to say he’s got the way to induce the suspension of gravity.  Clay says, “I’m working str8 tonight.”

Clay knew his game

    Clay spots no one else to talk to so he lets Kenneth stay around him for a while.  Maybe he wouldn’t mind getting up between Kenneth’s spider legs.  He says, “We really gotta fuck for real, man.  In my vision you got legs like a mile over your shoulders.”
    Like he didn’t get that all the time, Kenneth looks down his short flat African nose because Kenneth is looking down from an Amazonian altitude.  “You’re asking me to play the slave?”

    “No.  Ordering you.  Only maybe you should have racial superiority.  Yeah, then you’d get to play Watusi American with real cultural currency in the form of a priori victim status – you know, like as opposed to that Supreme Court nigga.  Waddaya think of the supposed art?”
    Kenneth says, “I was just now pissing with a fellow who had a large ring through ‘is pissah.”
    “Yeah?  Through the head?”
    “It made his urine separate.”
    “Interesting,” Clay says.
    “That’s what I thought.  I asked him all about it, ‘a course.”
    “Why?”
    “When ‘e first had it ‘e pissed blood.”
    “Sweet.”
    Finally Kenneth splits.  Okay, it was an art show, right?  So Clay spots the “artist” eventually, walking around in boots and leather.  In all probability the one with the pierced dickhead too.  As “the artist” he’s obviously ignoring everyone.  The work is shit college crap.  It’s okay in this one picture where it looks like the artist gave a flying fuck for intellection because it has some hair stuck to it, which is kind of a turn-on, and some Warhol color that almost feels nostalgic.  But the rest, utterly retarded.

...and some Warhol color that almost feels nostalgic.

    The quote artist unquote stomps by in his boots.  Clay halts him: “You like this shit?”
    “You think it’s shit?”
    “No.  I like it.  Very New York, man.”
    “Thanks.”
    “Very N-Y, man.  Good job.”
    “Thanks.”

    The artist goes away to ignore somebody that thinks he’s brilliant. Little does he know New York means boring, pretentious and not even as good as pay TV. NY’s so fucking high art. The problem is, NY guys won’t devalue their image. That’s chickenshit ego art. They only put their name on it because they actually think they have something to say.  Hey, it’s fucking boring shit and everyone knows it. They’re trying to say boredom’s new or something? Yeah, like the rock club’s out? Like youth anger’s over with? Like from now on kids are gonna sit around on vibrating beanbags and be slack-nihilist like those creepy fucking vanilla Germans? That’s old guy shit. We gotta rock, motherfucker! Why’s everyone in NY so gone on being fucking creative? It’s like they need a mall.  With some teens. And guns. High school is the shit, mister!

The artist goes away to ignore somebody
that thinks he’s brilliant.

Clay’s homosexual friends often say critical things about how he fails to show up as queer, but Clay argues: “That’s stupid. Wearing their own mask is lots better. It gets you in. Then you can do all kinds of disruptive shit. But first, basically, you gotta get in.” Sometimes Clay’s real clear about his own homophobia.

Clay’s homosexual friends often say critical things
about how he fails to show up as queer

Sometimes not. This one day Clay goes up the crowded campus sidewalk playing around in his pocket, thinking of that jock’s ass he just passed. Fun was . . . drugs, disruption, and an infinite number of hot boys’ asses. While passing this one he gave the jock the eye. Clay’s big on the theory that everyone’s as fearful of you as you are of them, so why not be the one to push it? Besides, he digs freaking on str8 boiz. When this one doesn’t look back Clay pulls out a package of Peppermint Ice and chomps one, wanting a wet mouth with a chemical frost. He tunes into Blood River on his unit. The tune is I Wanna Be Your Cum Rag – a bone crunching track from the recent punk industry, one of the only things left of punk as its vestigial rage folds into the welcoming arms of history.  Clay’s headed for the art bldg. but swings by the student dyke lounge and catches a half hour of big-screen American Idol to reinforce his art, which supposedly takes place at the art bldg., where his studio mates are Eric, Clark, Dooley, and some other dude.  Really Clay doesn’t feel like doing art now.  It’s been a total bummer lately.  So, for a long time after he arrives at the studio all he does is sit on a stool at the painted-over window by the radiator listening to very acid coated sludge music cranked so high that when he remembers it’s there he slaps the headset off and screams really loud.
    Clay sort of gets off on letting this art-hangup meditation really fuck with him.

This one day Clay goes up the crowded campus
sidewalk playing around in his pocket

    Clay’s like this: he digs to both punish and deliver himself up for ritualized violence. And he’s into confession. Clay’s desire is simply for the greatest pleasure. The body as world, the play of the contingent power politics of its separate parts in dialectic with another body and its privates, and all possible permutations, even including females. Sort of the endlessly paradoxical perverse. The deconstructive trope itself. Clay calls this dialectic art.

Clay’s desire is simply for the greatest pleasure

    But art was sometimes a fucking dead ass drag. Sometimes the only real art left was on the net in the form of football jocks in community college doing solos or gay-for-pay. That or amateur internet real-time pornog. Either medium nailed him with its totally flat surface and lack of irony, its text of endless body parts, zones of body banality.  Hot chicks into hot asses on guys. Guys on the floor in optimal positions while a Doberman unexpectedly sprints through the frame of his webcam.  Abercrombie World. Hairless, styleless, muscle-thin.  Maybe too clean smelling but authentic decent jackoff shit. Whatever, it worked. Chopped the body into fetishized metonymies and didn’t apologize.
    But just then Dooley started talking.
    “You fucked up?” Dooley was from Arkansas or someplace where they grow up on Tyson chicken and candy bars.
    “No.”
    “Wannabe?”
    “I was having a vision, Dooley! Anyway, your weed sucks. Fucking undergrad shit.”
    “Nah, this shit’s good, man.”
    “Well . . . okay.”
    They went out on the fire escape. Dooley’s pot was actually okay this time. It made Clay feel fuzzy and willing to listen to Dooley’s shit about art. Dooley had the potential to really fuck up in art, and that was all right with Clay.
    It was cold so they went back in, where, after a while Clay swallowed some of Dooley’s acid. Why not?  Then he said, in regard to his art block, “Fuck all this imagination crap.  That’s the shit that really . . . negativizes art.  Art’s stupid anyway, if you think about it.  Maybe I need to start another band, or finish my film.  What’s up, Dooley?  Are you fucking crying or what?
    “Your upper body . . .”
    “What about it?”
    “It’s . . . killing me, dude.  Put your shirt back on.”
    “Thought you wanted to sketch me.”
    “That was just a pretext and you know it.”
    “Look, Wayne, you’re too fat.”
    “I’m not so fat now.”
    “Well, maybe not.”
    Dooley did look better.  But it didn’t work that well.  As soon as Clay tried to get into Dooley’s sort of saggy weight-loss he had an idea: “Draw on me,” he said.  “Use something really sharp.”
    He dropped his pants and lay ass-out on the dirty mattress they kept in a corner of the studio – but only after checking it over good for any of Eric’s dope needles.

He dropped his pants

 When Eric came in they were getting it on video: framed on the mattress, overhead lighting and camera, Dooley on his knees carving a triangle grid in blood into Clay’s butt cheek with the tip of an X-Acto blade.  They had Clay’s digital cam plugged into his laptop; they were tuned into some nasty gay video chat room and Clay was able to zoom the lens from his finger mouse. They were hooked up. Live. Worldwide.
They were hooked up.  Live.  Worldwide.

    Among the spectator arts Clay liked photography. Video was okay but kind of boring for how tedious it is to get something not very good, frankly. So, like everyone he dreamed of film. Film is real power-art plus real capitalist power. He who is in charge enslaves all others. It’s an unfortunate economy in most cases, mainly because directors think they can but they can’t write dialogue for shit and their ideas stink, or get wanky or whatever. Look, anyone in control of so much is God, right?  You gotta fucking pay attention when it’s like that. So Clay had to practice his film ideas on video. It took much super lighting and he managed to improve the double transfer grade with staccato editing, like Derek Jarman in The Last of England, with blinding flashes of overexposure.  But at this rate he’d only so far completed a minute twenty of a master.  He’d use this ass-carving footage, though, somewhere in to the film, which was about a fascist state with bunkers.  The bunker is a good architectural metaphor: intended redundancy, sky-less, windowless, unsentimental.  No nature, no (anatomical) females, the perfect setup for some real Genet Nazi erotico.  He intended to shoot intimate prison footage, his operating principle being: the cock but especially the asshole is the market economy of the prison cell/military bunker.  Simple reduction never devalues the anus; neither does occupying the prick-as-master necessarily guarantee the rectum’s valence.

Simple reduction never devalues the anus

    Anyway the camera was rolling when Eric came in and uttered, “Jeezus you guys!”  Eric was sexually straight, he was all into needle drugs and getting to look cruddy from it. Said he really needed that mattress to crash on. Like now.

    “Lounge, man,” Clay told him.  “We’re doing art.”
    With his yellow eyes Eric checked out what Dooley was doing to Clay’s butt. “That’s drawing blood.  You realize you’re cutting him?”
    Dooley was happily engraving, he was really into it and wouldn’t look up.
    “I realize it’s derivative,” Clay said, “’Drawn Blood,’ but I couldn’t think of anything better without really thinking, and that shit’s getting to be like real fucking unproductive. Lemme explain.”
    Now Dooley was swabbing Clay’s blood away with a rag containing paint thinner, which stung like a motherfucker.  But Dooley’s pot, and whatever that acid was, was just the right intensity for feeling the sexiness to the body of being sliced into then purified in turpentine.
    Eric came down in a squat on one corner of the mattress, hugging his knees and rocking up and back like junkies do. He still had his coat on, and hood. He must’ve been cranking heavily.  “You guys got any money?”
    “Lemme explain. It’s not finished,” Clay said.  “I’m like all about the artist as blood-letter, right?  I mean, this is real fucking abjection, dude, alright? Right, so the blood’s gotta dry good and hard, okay?  It’ll take a day or two for the scabs to dry. And then . . . somebody has to spank me . . . let’s see, with a scented rod – I don’t know what flavor yet – until the wound reopens.”
    “Let me,” said Dooley.
    “Okay.  I’m making this up as we go. I could call it . . . something like ‘MEN-struation’ instead of ‘Drawn Blood.’ I think a smell that’s not too fresh. Know what I’m sayin?”
    Eric countered, “It’s self-mutilation.”
    “Yeah.  Mutual mutilation.  Don’t be a pussy, dig right in there, Dooley. Ow-w-w!”
    “I really like adore your ass, Clayton,” Dooley said.  “Can I make a cast of it?  Hey, Eric, are you staying?  ‘cause I’m getting my dick out, okay?”
    “Think of the statement you’re making, you guys,” Eric said.
    Dooley answered, “Step the fuck off, bitch!”
    “You should be identifying yourselves as proud and . . . loving and shit.  Isn’t that what you sodomite assholes are into? Come on, gimme some money!”
    “Speak directly into the mic, Eric.” Clay looked over at the video monitor and zoomed out to a bird’s eye of Dooley, who had started touching himself. “Yeah,” he said, “maybe I’ll work you guys into the piece.  Great.  Some pussy-ass hot guy reciting that kinda weird identity politics crap for a text.  Hey, get in the frame, Eric. Yeah, and Dooley, the obsolete artist mapping out a new territory with his fucking gun and sperming all over the place.  Shoot it, Wayne!”
    It took about a minute, but Dooley wailed. Some of it hit Clay on the shoulder. Some landed on his sore (because bloody) ass, for which it was intended.
    It seems the video chat room had long since blocked them.
    Eric remarked how they were just obscene wankers and got up and wandered over to a large thing he’d been working on.  It was covered with a tarp and when he uncovered it was a really ugly piece of sculpture.
    “I like it,” Clay said.
    But Eric must’ve been really freaked by it. He puked on the floor.
    Clay told Dooley, “Okay, so tomorrow you gotta whack me with a smelly stick. And that’s gonna be my last fucking word about art. For real.”
    He had forgotten why.  He was totally fried.


(For the next story, Three Cold Kisses, go here.)


Dangeris F.A.G. (his nom de plume) lives deeply and obscurely in the American fly-over, between north and south, where he teaches creative writing at a college and is happily about to retire -- he is older than he oughta be.

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