The Unknown Hipster

The Venice Biennale

Posted in Art, Celebrities by unknownhipster on June 18, 2009

The Venice Biennale is to the Art World what Milan is to the Fashion crowd. The romantic types should stay away, the company of heavy-weight collectors, ego-maniac artists and cynical critics is not for the faint-hearted. Not to mention the harsh competition between secondary market hipsters of all kind. I toughened myself weeks ago with special combat training and meditation. The programme includes mental visualisation of forcing entry to exclusive events, and surviving skills like grabbing cocktail food in hostile environment, and of course sleeping at the occasional crash-pad.

First, I wanted to drop by the French Pavilion to see what the great Claude Lévêque, author of the well known hilarious neon writing « je suis une merde » had planned for the national representation. But I decided to wait a few more days before visiting the more ascetic Bruce Nauman at the US Pavilion.

I was trying to concentrate on the Liam Gillick’s installation at the German space when I got disturbed by a woman talking loudly on the phone about what she was going to wear that night to François’s.

It irks me I had no invitation for the most sought after event : the opening of the Punta Della Dogana, the place François Pinault had founded to house parts of his immense collection and exhibit it to the public.

I didn’t get discouraged by the fact that more than a thousand influential people and Art lovers had received invitations but me, and once in my best attire, I tried to hail a water taxi.

Unfortunately, all the decent boats had been reserved for the invited guests.

Alternative sailing to the Punta delle Dogana

Alternative sailing to the Punta della Dogana

I finally ran into a protesting artist, who in the manner of the artist Swoon had assembled various trash pieces into a floating barge. After negotiating a 150 € “suggested donation”, he accepted to take me on board. Although the crossing to the Giudecca normally takes a few minutes, we got caught in traffic on the Grand Canal, my shoes flooded and my pants washed by waves from the celebrities’ speed boats rushing by.

Marc and Stella first thought I was some intruder sneaking in

Marc and Stella first thought I was some intruder sneaking in

We choose to dock behind the buffet, a place that seemed most discreet. Alarmed by the giant black flag floating above our embarkation, or perhaps in fear of a sea-food risotto shortage, a guest fiercely ejected me back to the sea. I recognized Marc, and begged for hospitality. Although I had been refused entrance by a young arrogant P.R. assistant at her last show in Paris, Stella personally helped me up the pier, and handed me a welcoming glass of prosecco.

–   So, how’s Tadao’s work ? I asked, Does it look good ?

But my new friends had disappeared, trapped in a crowd of admirers.

With François Pinault

With François Pinault

Spotting our host alone, I rushed to him, thinking it was good timing to greet him before the party takes off.

–   ” Thank you for collecting so much Art,” I told him. “And this Punta is a really cool…”

–    “Would you mind stepping back ?”  a staff member interrupted me, “there are photographers at work behind you.”

The charming Margherita Missoni

The charming Margherita Missoni

This man told me he owns a great football team

This man told me he owns a great football team

The Patriarch of Venice

The elegant Patriarch of Venice

There was a line to enter the Dogana. But once in, only the lonely were looking at the Art. I spent a long time studying « Fucking hell », the monumental Jack and Dinos Chapman masterpiece. An older man, dressed like a priest, was one of the rare visitors, like me, to show more interest in the works displayed than in watching tycoons and super-models.

–    “Are you wearing Alexander McQueen ?” I asked.

–    “No, it’s vintage Comme,” he replied dryly.

It turned out he was a real cardinal. His position, he admitted, made him a frequent invite to this kind of event.

–    I suppose the Art world considers me a potential client, he said.

–    Why do you think contemporary Art is usually based on jokes ? I asked.

–    Well, life’s a joke, buddy, the serious bit comes after.

And he slapped my back. I was quite shaken, and went wandering in the next rooms.

"untitled", by Maurizio Cattelan: my favorite piece in the collection

"Untitled", by Maurizio Cattelan: one of the most persuasive piece in the collection

Agnès Varda, a godmother for French Hipsters

Agnès Varda, a godmother for French Hipsters

There were rumors of a dinner hosted by Angela Missoni, in honor of (the less ascetic than I thought) Bruce Nauman, on a yacht. Following the crowd, I befriended a drunk oligarch who wanted to talk about his own collection.

–    “I got them all,” he bragged, “the guy who does the handbags ! the nurse painter ! all of them !”

He was on the list, and we got on board together. The yacht was packed with the most beautiful girls, all shoeless so as not to harm the precious wood deck, which gives them a particular unusual dreamy coolness, but I intended to have at least one serious Art conversation and headed first to the celebrated artist.

I unsuccessfully tries to give my email address to the charming Anouk Lepère

I unsuccessfully tries to give my email address to the beautiful Anouk Lepère

18 Responses

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  1. george gendron said, on June 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    This is a blast. In a short time you’ve made this my first destination in the morning to see if you’ve posted anything new.

  2. Antonio Barros said, on June 18, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Thanks to you I will not go to Venice Biennale! You saved my life! 🙂

  3. Marc said, on June 18, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    Marc here. I resent the implication that I kicked you into the canal when you know quite well that you fell in. Even when covered in canal slime one could infer from your odor that your lack of equilibrium was due to one too many grappas before your clumsy debarkation from the loony boat you sailed in on.
    Please note: I wouldn’t have even noticed this deviation from reality if you hadn’t harassed my assistant into visiting your website…

  4. WT said, on June 18, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    The weather looks so nice ! it’s dreamy^^

  5. Shani said, on June 19, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Canal slime is good for the soul, so I hear. Or maybe that was something else… 🙂

  6. editor said, on June 19, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    you make a strong argument for a white summer suit.

  7. Thomas said, on June 22, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Hilarious and worthy exploits – probably my fav blog at the moment.

  8. Bob Schulenberg said, on June 23, 2009 at 1:00 am

    Wonderful post; verifies my worst suspicions! It must’ve taken a lot of courage even to go!!

  9. Brandon said, on June 25, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Your style, talent, and wit leave me speechless. Hilarious, brilliant and such a worthwhile read. I look forward to every new post!!

  10. Shantel said, on June 30, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    I was in Venice last weekend, speechless. You got the colors exactly right, especially the water. You make it look so easy… Thanks for sharing your fun.

  11. josie said, on July 1, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Thank you for sharing your harrowing experiences at the Biennale. You looked very dashing!

  12. Tobie Giddio said, on July 14, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    OMG..just cracking up…everything about this

  13. YSI said, on July 15, 2009 at 12:43 am

    Your self-portrait paints an uncanny resemblance to Tommy Sunshine. Please say it ain’t so…!

  14. Christine said, on July 28, 2009 at 2:16 am

    Haha, great words and illustrations!

  15. Emma said, on July 29, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    Where have you gone unknown hipster? This post, despite being good is getting old. I want something new.

  16. smilla said, on August 3, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Your site is really WOOOW!
    and like the guy before this will be one of the first things in the morning from now on: look if you posted something.
    Love your humour, love your paintings.
    i say hello from cologne!

  17. Lee said, on August 4, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    It’s time to feed the monster. Post again. You are our oxygen.

  18. Maverick said, on August 7, 2009 at 8:32 am

    I love this! This was such a great read and the illustrations are so fabulous!!

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