Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Portrait of Oisan T. DeBurca, mixed media on napkin, David Schoffman. 2012

"It's hard to keep the assassins away."

That's how my dear colleague David Schoffman greeted me when we met poolside at the Standard Hotel in Hollywood. I was in Los Angeles for a few days last week conferring with a cabal of untrustworthy curators and decided to dedicate a few leisurely hours to catching up with my friend.

"Ça va pas, non?" was all I could say, dumbstruck by yet another of David's fantasies of professional persecution. For years, despite his enormous and unwarranted success, my poor comrade nurses one grievance after the next.

"Even paranoids have enemies," quoting, once again, the inexorably quotable Delmore Schwartz.

I know I shouldn't have asked but my better judgement was impaired by the sparingly clad pair of ingenues sitting to our left.  "Who is it this time," I absentmindedly asked as I stole a subtle gander at what I took to be evidence of the existence of God.

David, whose skills of draftsmanship have been the envy of us all dating back to our student days, grabbed a cocktail napkin and within seconds drew the unmistakable profile of the Irish art critic, Oisan T. DeBurca.

I kept the drawing.

I needed something to quickly jot down a phone number.

I truly love L. A.

Friday, November 09, 2012


David Schoffman and Dahlia Danton, Cancun, 2012

The meteoric success of David Schoffman's artistic enterprise is due in no small measure to his wife of twenty-seven years,  Genviève Belleseins-Chatte. Acting as his publicist, business manager, ghost writer, amanuensis and mother confessor, Belleseins-Chatte  tirelessly devoted herself to her husband's career. It was Belleseins-Chatte who planted phantom bidders at countless auction houses, who surreptitiously hired "critics" to write glowing magazine and newspaper reviews and who single-handedly negotiated the now legendary mid-career retrospective at the Hebonshirre in London.

Genviève Belleseins-Chatte is also a remarkable and capable woman in her own right. For years, an associate professor of semiotics at Rutgers, she is the author of some two dozen books including the classic, genre-bending literary whodunit "Dismantled Cars and Buttoned Cloth." I always thought she was too good for my friend David.

Now we learn that Schoffman  is just another spineless Lothario. It is now clear that this philandering  skirt chaser has been exceeding even the French in his penchant for extra-curricular romance. His follies have left his intimates aghast. Now he stands an exquisite ruin, a royal remnant of his unearned renown.

And for whom does his avid heart beat? What feathery frolic authored his demise? Which ravishing strumpet indiscreetly bared her bonnet to the public causing the scandal that threatens to end Schoffman's supremacy?

It is none other than the silken-haired, white-throated third-rate painter Dahlia Danton!

Portrait of Philip, Oil on canvas, Dahlia Danton 2012 (courtesy of MacNeice/Fuller Gallery, NY)