And then, of course, there’s also our 21st-century, celebrity-ravenous, hair-trigger media. In late May that hunger had its True Blood incisors out at Christie’s sale of a beloved if bizarre 20th-century American gem: Bea Arthur Nude, a topless 1991 portrait of the late Golden Girls actress fashioned by 51-year-old American painter John Currin. Sold for $1.9 million on the same bullish evening that saw the auction house rake in a record $495 million, it garnered far more Gawker and gossip traffic than the auction’s $56.1 million Lichtenstein or $58.4 million Pollock canvases. The reason? In a phrase: the crack epidemic–like qualities of the global fame game. To paraphrase the tagline from the Twilight saga—when groupies live online forever, what do you really live for?
Witness the endless round robin of openings, lunches, dinners, cocktails, parties and late-night socializing that characterized the recent preview for the Venice Biennale—the Oscars of the art world. A biannual event that gathers plane and boatloads of artists, curators, and gallerists, as well as yacht-borne flotillas of celebrities, politicians and Fortune magazine boldface names, the 118-year-old art festival is a revolving door of powerhouse events that genuinely rivals the Academy Awards for unabashed glitz, glamour, and power tripping.... Celebrity sightings—as chronicled by dotcom oracles like LaineyGossip and Italia-online—continued unabated on a set of islands nearly sinking under the combined weight of art and money….
The takeaway from this Bikini Atoll–like explosion of peacock feathers? It’s rather simple, really: despite the ongoing global recession, a tanking Italian economy, and significant cutbacks affecting myriad cultural institutions worldwide, relations between art’s super-rich and the planet’s super-famous have apparently never been cozier….