Celebrity Bull***t Artist

Wall-ESoylent Green

top photo: Charlie NZbottom photo: bandita

Bullshit has its uses. I can sling BS as well as the next guy or gal; sometimes it’s necessary to protect yourself, your loved ones or your job. But there are some forms of BS that really get under my skin, especially that purveyed by celebrities. Do I hold them to a higher standard because they are mega-wealthy, mega-privileged and can go “gypsetting” around the world? Perhaps. “Gypset,” by the way, is a term coined by journalist, travel writer and adventurer Julia Chaplin, describing a “nomadic yet sophisticated cadre of travelers” she encountered while on assignment as a travel writer, covering, as she puts it, “really jet-set-y things,” like the Cannes Film Festival or St. Barths.

One of the hottest celebrity artists is Daniel Arsham, featured in Ms. Chaplin’s article in The New York Times.

Singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams, who met Arsham at a dinner at a Miami gallery seven years ago, says, “Daniel is a master of illusion and science. The metaphors of his work read true to humans.”

Who else would they read true to, rhinos, baboons, aardvarks?

He went further to say, It’s not based upon languages. It’s based upon human reaction and response to his work.”

Okay, so language isn’t necessary, and humans respond to his work. Not aardvarks? If language isn’t needed, why can’t non-humans appreciate it?


Heather Paul

Al Moran, founder of Ohwow Gallery, which represents Arsham in Los Angeles, says, “The notion that highbrow and lowbrow culture are two separate things is a dated concept. Those two things have merged into one, and Daniel’s practice reflects that.”

Color me unhip, but “practice” is a term generally applied to lawyers, doctors, Buddhists, but not to visual artists. Help me out here.

Chaplin refers to his instagram account as “artwork in itself” with a perspective that is “at once playful and apocalyptic.”

Let me invoke SNL’s Linda Richman for a moment: Talk amongst yourselves. I’ll give you a topic. Playful apocalypse is neither playful nor an apocalypse—discuss. There, I feel better.

And if you are still unsure about the nature of his oeuvre, worry not, he is currently working on a 9-part feature film he wrote and directed called Future Relic, “exploring quotidian life in a post-ecological future.”

This evokes a Soylent Green / Wall-E world, with no plant or animal life, a dead earth. How cheerful.

The film stars James Franco, Juliette Lewis and Lukas Haas. A non-speaking Mr. Franco is dressed in silver safety pants while examining “calcified” objects against a soundtrack of “retro” Hawaiian music.

I wonder what the scenes with Lewis and Haas will entail.

In Arsham’s own words, “The future I’m interested in is pedestrian and everyday. It’s broken, but there’s also a lightness to it.”

Profound? I don’t think so.

Bullshit? Certainly.


7 thoughts on “Celebrity Bull***t Artist

  1. Was never an effective “bull-shitter”, believe it or not. With me you pretty much GOT what you SAW. As a teacher, not everyone “liked me”, but I can honestly say most everyone I knew RESPECTED me – cuz when you asked me for an “honest opinion”, I gave it to you (friend and enemy, alike). Never could see the value in “bullshitting” – wasted too much of my limited energy and I’m not big into “game playing”. That’s why I had such a hard time in “corporate America”….If people’d spend less time “covering their ass” and more time “doing their jobs”, we’d have a more productive society…But what to hell do I know? I’m a retired Special Ed teacher!! (And was a pretty effective one BECAUSE I didn’t “bullshit” with the kids and they KNEW it!) 🙂


      • No, don’t honestly believe I’m “better” just don’t feel comfortable living any other way. I think there’s actually times when the “art of bullshitting” would definitely be an asset in my life…just never had a “knack for it” (wheteher that’s “good” or “bad”, I don’t know, it “just is”…..) There are sometimes “bullshitting” can be viewed as a “kindness”, too, so remember that. Different circumstances dictate different responses. It’s always good to have a “variety of responses” available for a “variety of circumstances”…… Another good piece, Erica!!! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Spot on Erica….and PLU-LEEZE expose the bull shitters for they take up way too much air time in our world-virtual and analog. I am so over celebrity artists…pardon me while I puke a little here. But really? The art world and the celebrity factories in Hollywood who create “celebrity”…these are NOT role models, and I take a leap and even go as far and say many I would never consider real artists. It’s insulting to those of us who do our art because it’s who we are…poor slobs that we are who could never afford a $5000+ retainer for agents and PR machines. You write because it’s who you are-you act, you create because you have no other way of being…except to create, and improve your art and craft. Not flying around the world to parties, and camera ops…..yes, Bull Shit Artists for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

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