michael rees

I vomited at the whitney biennial.

Added on by michael rees.

I have been slacking hard on posting.

Mary Ann and I decided that since it was the week before my last chemo that we’d go out to the artist opening of the whitney biennial. What used to be kind of a smallish affair has blossomed into a ridiculous extravaganza. A real see or be seen event—the hollywoodification of the art world. The line was so long and foreboding we decided to slip into bubbies and get something to eat. Of course I can’t eat anything but my highly limited milk plus chocolate ensure plus powdered chcocolate, so we were watching Mary Ann’s diet. Luckily at the table next to us I recognized Dennis Adams, an artist whom I’ve admired since the 1980’s. We struck up a conversation and he suggested we mosey over after our nosh and see if the line had diminished. We did as much and then entered the museum. I never saw it so full of people, and I’m guessing so full of people I know. In Front Mary Ann started up an interaction with David Zwirner and family.

Once we hit the top floor and there was Mel Chin, Meredith Palmer, Mark Sheinkman, Yun-Fei Ji and all the attendant parties of people next to them, all lovey people caught up in the spectacle of this event.. I was caught by how much exhaling was going on. I’m so super sensitive to smells and tried to mitigate the effect upon me to less and less effect. Eventually the thought of all that exhaling caught up with me and I said Mary Ann, we’ve got to go. I felt terribly about it as I was talking with Mark Sheinkman who I have always enjoyed talking with. We headed to the elevator and were able to get on. More exhaling, Yuck! We made it down to the 5th floor and for fear or losing my cookies in the elevator and ruining it for everyone for the night, I dashed out of the elevator and into the back stair well looking for the bathroom all the while (which had been on the 8th floor). We headed further down and were stuck at the 4th floor with a do not proceed sign. And I was stuck with that overwhelming acidy feeling of i’m Losing it right here right now and of course let fly. I’ll never forget the look on the woman’s face who sneered at me for vomiting presuming that I’d lost control of my alcohol intake. But after only seeing maybe a dozen works I want to clearly say that the time I vomited at the whitney Biennial had nothing whatever to do with the whitney biennial.  

A guard showed up and wouldn’t let me leave. “Please stay sir!” An command in the form  of a public safety announcement. Then a lovely reasonable fellow showed up. I so appreciated his even handed response. He joked a bit about the spectacle of the biennial. When he heard I had been in a biennial he joked he that he wouldn’t hold it agains me. Then he realized that might be considered inappropriate and he was after all a representative of the museum. He showed concern for me and my condition. He asked what I would like to do and I responded to continue down the west stair case and out. He escorted me down all the while being a mensch especially in contrast to his nazi ish colleague who showed not a bit of concern for me. I thanked him for being so even handed and asked his name. Mark Diblasio. 

Letting it got at the whitney biennial. 

Letting it got at the whitney biennial.