Everyone on exhibit at the exhibition
Once upon a time, there were the art globetrotters. Their agenda was full of must-go destinations, the most coveted places where the rituals of contemporary creativity were celebrated. They were always in search for the most exclusive vernissages, always on the hunt for invitations, ready to give their soul – some of them even their body – in order to be part of that highly selected group of chosen people that had the honor of being the great guests of the coolest parties of the moment. A bizarre and talkative humanity, with a vocabulary rich in “wow” and “wonderful” no matter what their mother language was, quite diligent in glorifying artists which, by the way, were already been glorified by the international art system. It was all a chatter made of parroted clichés, not even understood by the same people who used them
After all, the effort of comprehending was not required. In fact, it was quite the opposite. It’s forbidden to explore or ask questions under the penalty of being branded as buzzkill and being banished from all the upcoming events. For these people, the only thing that mattered was being able to say (to whom, by the way?): I was there. The rise of social medias will solve the problem. And here they are, filling Facebook and Instagram profiles with the most debatable selfies. Here they are, with a usually moronic expression in their faces, immortalized next to Jeff Koons, Maurizio Cattelan or Marina Abramovic, for their part posing like Hollywood stars: a picture is not denied to anyone, what on earth.
Here are the little tops that are pleased with living under another one’s spotlight, so frivolous and shallow that they don’t even realize to be just cramped bit players in the big caravan of the art circus. In Venice at the Biennale, in Kassel for Documenta, in Basel, Miami or Honk Kong for the fair, in New York for the vernissage at the MoMa or at the Guggenheim, you would always see the same enraptured faces, often sleepy because of the jet lag, trying to clumsily express, like improvised low-rank actors, a mandatory enthusiasm and happiness, which was never felt by the most honest of them. It was easy to realize you were facing a member of the vernissage tribe even if you were at the station, at the airport or in the streets, since they all wear a specific dress-code they consider original, but that is only an exasperating lack of good taste. For him, dark suit with trousers above the ankle, sandals and sunglasses with a psychedelic frame; for her, wooden shoes in the style of Van Gogh’s clogs, gloomy, wide and long skirts and shirts masochistically buttoned up to the collar.
If someone dared to show up to a party and hint to an old-time elegance, maybe dressed in a tuxedo or a sober suit, he/she would be taunted and criticized, marginalized and treated as a party crasher. Now, after a year of forced lockdown caused by Coronavirus, I hope at least we don’t feel nostalgic about all this. They say: nothing will be like before. We really hope so.