Thursday, May 16, 2013


On a recent trip to St. Petersburg, my good friend David Schoffman had the great good fortune to witness a milestone in modern art history. He was having tea at the Lagoda Rossi Café with the miniaturist Grod Bloch when Daphne Vhrozhinska of the State Russian Museum waltzed through the door. She was arm and arm with Los Angeles painter Dahlia Danton and both, in Schoffman's colorful retelling, looked stunning.

Dahlia Danton, St Petersburg, 2013
It should be remembered that Russian collectors seem to have an insatiable appetite for Danton's kitchy California confections and  her presence in St. Petersburg can hardly seem like an unlikely coincidence. As for her intimacy with the State Russian Museum's senior conservator - that is a different story. It seems that her expert eye and her fluency in Spanish made her a critical collaborator in Vhrozhinska's latest project.

The recently discovered Nido de la Víbora, Micah Carpentier's putative final work was undergoing a thorough cleaning by the nimble Russian restorer and Danton was called upon to verify the great Cuban's signature. My dear friend David asked to see the work - Carpentier and Schoffman had a warm and productive relationship in the late 1970's - though he was skeptical of the works authenticity.

Before you could say русский супрематизм, David was inspecting the 9 foot wide drawing, looking for hints of duplicity and fraud.

David Schoffman inspecting Nido de la Víbora, 2013

He didn't have to look very hard. 

As any art student will tell you Sakura Sensei Manga Markers come in an assortment of vivid, lightfast luminous colors. When they came on the market in 1989, they were an instant favorite among doodlers, Pokémon geeks and professional illustrators. Nido de la Víbora contains whole passages using these versatile markers.

My readers don't need to be reminded that Micah Carpentier was murdered in Havana in 1978.


Tuesday, May 07, 2013


You don't have to be John Maynard Keynes to see that the People's Republic Inc. has traded the quaint quotations of Mao's Little Red Book for Gordan Gekkos Reaganite call to arms. And as my readers know all too well, there is no greater gauge of freshly coined arrivisme than an avidly superficial obsession with contemporary art.

Combine these two facts with my good friend's occult sense of opportunity and you get (pace John Adams)

Schoffman In China!

David Schoffman in a recent edition of the New Xinjiang Review
  He recently returned from a three week trip which took him from the far reaches of Shihezi in the northwest to the capital Beijing and finally to the pearl of the Pearl River, Guangzhou.

Officially he was there as an ambassador of sorts. appointed by Veronique Airys, the President's special liaison for international museum and library studies, to represent America at the annual Conference of Sense-Based Intelligence and Rhetoric in Hong Kong. (I kid you not, such a conference exists). In reality he was there pimping his declining career. 

He delivered a paper harmlessly entitled "The Self-Cartographies of Performative and Spatial Praxis," and though in substance it was a boilerplate of starched, salvaged and reconditioned aperçus, it was met with heated, sectarian controversy. Apparently, David's Chinese hosts were none too thrilled by his tiring use of the phrase "post-Marxist" as a lazy euphemism for anything that occurred anywhere in the world after 1989.

Though they basically left him alone during the rest of his trip they did attach to him a small, discreet surveillance team. 

[Note the arrows. The arrow on the upper left of the photograph points to a tiny camera fixed to the sign above a small souvenir shop. The other two arrows point to, what the Chinese lovingly call "undercover spotters."]

Tentative plans for an exhibition of David's work at Beijing's Bee Museum were summarily scraped. 


He had already begun work on some pretty decent paintings.

Sleeping Buddha Sleeping, David Schoffman. Oil on Canvas, 2013