January 16, 2016

NO SUCH THING AS QUALITY:

William Boyd: how David Bowie and I hoaxed the art world : David Bowie didn't just publish my fake biography of an invented artist, he also wrote the jacket blurb and launched it - on April Fool's day - at Jeff Koons' studio (William Boyd, 12 January 2016, The Guardian)

He was a genial and unassuming presence at the regular Modern Painters editorial meetings and when, in one of them, I suggested the idea of creating a fictional artist it was Bowie who said that the concept would work far more efficiently if it were published as a book.

And so it came to be. I invented a dead American "artist" I called Nat Tate and wrote his biography. Then the team at Modern Painters and 21 transformed the text into a small, beautifully made and copiously illustrated artist's monograph. However, there's absolutely no denying the fact that it was Bowie's participation in the eventual hoax that gave it media heft. He published the book, he organised the launch party (on April Fool's Day, 1998) in Jeff Koons's studio in Manhattan - Koons was a friend of Bowie - and it was Bowie who read out extracts of the book, absolutely deadpan, to the assembled New York glitterati. The clincher was his statement in the blurb that he was convinced that, "The small oil I picked up on Prince Street, New York, must indeed be one of the lost Third Panel Triptychs. The great sadness of this quiet and moving monograph is that the artist's most profound dread - that God will make you an artist but only a mediocre artist - did not in retrospect apply to Nat Tate." Who wouldn't be swayed by that eloquent testimonial?

Posted by at January 16, 2016 11:57 AM

  

« eNDING hISTORY IS NEVER PAINLESS: | Main | TOO COMPLICATED FOR LUCAS TOO: »