Let’s just take a walk down memory lane now, shall we? Thank you.
High school in Fairfield County, Conn., was slightly different than the all-American cliché. The football players leveraged their recruiting potential to go to liberal arts colleges like Amherst and Wesleyan, cool kids were mostly in honors classes, and cheating was so rampant it made it to the New York Times. I bore the occasional awkward Jewish girl insult with a few incurable neuroses and a carefully cultivated mystique I still hone to this day: wearing just a little too much black and being known outside my close-knit friend circle as “artsy.”
All in all, it was great training for the Wall Street culture that runs our great city of Manhattan. Morals acquiesce to the beat of a solid profit, mean white men rule the classroom, authority figures have little to no faith in my [undoubtedly staggering] intellectual prowess … and I have yet to nail down a boyfriend who isn’t too embarrassed to walk down the hall with me if our teachers are around — I mean, what?
What I’m trying to say is: the New York art world runs like an affluent high school. Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat are like Cady and Regina George, elusive (and in this case, of course, now deceased) icons of that unique pairing of bohemia and excess that came to define Daryl Hannah movies and auction houses to this day. Next time you’re at a contemporary art auction, or languishing with champagne in Peter Brant’s Greenwich veranda … think about it.
Peter Brant and Julian Schnabel are the jokester cronies in the back of the classroom diverting from homework, flirting with the prettiest blondes, and somehow managing to have absurdly high GPAs. Peter’s dad, the original paper magnate, probably called the principal and had the whole grading system rigged.
Damien Hirst is the not-really-that-sexy foreign exchange student from England that would be considered really annoying if he didn’t have an accent, but the cronies like his formaldehyde shark and find the butterflies totally cool and ironic. Steve Cohen, the strong and silent type, ignores all tomfoolery. Where he finds the time to do his econ homework remains a mystery, and rumor has it he pays his tutors extra to do it for him. Larry Gagosian, the Californian, yells at everyone and has a perfect tan, but somehow manages to maintain friendships. Just don’t make him mad. Never make any of them mad, actually.
Time for a free period.