Max, I’m sure, is pretty happy about the Vanity Fair issue. His gallery is represented, after all, by three new artists (if you count Lola) and two old fogies, Lewis, defunct —lost to the plushie storm that is Lola, and myself. Four artists on one damned magazine cover. It looks sleazy. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know how he managed it. Certainly it is not based on the merits of the artwork. Max has signed on Boo, who I like well enough as a person, but whose work is merely a mild irritant at best. Then there’s Monday. Just a clown, really. A humorist. I game player. Because “they” as Max calls the public “don’t want to think about stuff. They want to play on it, for fuck’s sake.” But then there’s Lola. Those plushies are a jab at what Max says “they” want; I have to hand it to her. Wish I’d thought of it, honestly. Anyway, I always sort of hated Lewis: sucking up to Max, clanking into shows with his huge, gaudy, overwrought constructions…
Let me tell you something. The best thing that ever happed to Max Poe is Lola Boeys. He tries to come off as the hero, backing his artist against all odds. Supporting the transition. Ha. I know about their fights. Heard them. Watched Lewis emerge ghostlike and bewildered from whispered arguments at openings and events. But ol’ Max figured out how to play the press and now the press is eating out of Lola’s well-manicured hand —AND —the IT kids are on waiting lists for new work.
Here’s something: I see Lola around a lot these days. Outside. At parties. Walking around the neighborhood doing chores. I never used to see Lewis. He kept in. Shunned crowds. Also, Lola likes to talk. Lewis did not. Lewis would press his lips together in public and wait for his chance to go back to the studio. Max would wait on him him; send cars, meet with him at his apartment; coax and cajole him into taking meetings with collectors or showing up at his own openings for godz sake.
Not Lola. She’s easy. So easy it makes me wonder if Max misses waiting on Lewis!
So, anyway, I’m checking in with Max at the Chelsea gallery one day when Lola comes in. We’re both there to nag Max about display issues. She’s hating the light and I’m reluctant to go uptown and make sure Review is holding up after some kids climbed on it.
Serena, Max’s summer gallery assistant tells us he’s on the phone.
Lola looks at me: “Let’s just ditch this. Get some lunch.”
Max, she tells me, is going to give Boo a show.
I roll my eyes. Lola says she thought Boo and I were pals. I tell her we are, but I wouldn’t give her a goddam show. Hell, Lola, I wouldn’t have given Lewis a show either but Max loves theatrical stuff.
She looks hurt. Or pensive. I can’t tell.
Not that I necessarily disagree, she begins. But then she’s all Lewis-in-love with daddy: Max is dealing with a collector’s market. Max is choosing artists who speak to the zeitgeist. Max, she’ll have me know, is dealing with something that’s a lot broader than aesthetics. Kids are the trend: IT money is big and he’s tapping it.
And we, I snark, are soooo lucky to have him on our side?
You and I, Lola winks at me: have been on his roster the longest. We don’t have that kind of staying power on our own. Of course he is protecting us.
I’ve seen it first hand. Anyone unloads a Lewis or flips a Lola and Max puts them on a list of dirty laundry and shops it around for good measure. The man’s black list is short, but eclipsing: no collector wants to be on it.
What about those who dump PUNCHs? I don’t see him working for me. All he does for me is pressure me to betray myself.
She laughs at me: Don’t be so agro, PUNCH: seriously. Have you ever even asked him about it? Do you guys even talk anymore? I know you used to count him a friend. Whatever happened?