Saturday, June 21, 2014


When my good friend David Schoffman told me he was retiring his paintbrushes and moving to Silicon Valley I thought he was kidding. When he explained why, I knew he had lost his mind.

"The alleged ugliness of office parks is a 20th century bias rooted in the discredited aspirations of Romanticism."

That's how he explained it to me. He describes the architecture and the landscaping as "man's ultimate repudiation of the anarchy of nature." He insists that Silicon Valley is the perfect environment to put the final kabash on the European tradition.

"Painting and all other forms of static representation are now the derelict remains of a failed utopian vision. Beauty and the sublime are frivolous self-indulgent luxuries of a bygone era and an artist must respond with vigor and alacrity."

The Body Is His Book #67, David Schoffman, oil on panel

This from the man who has spent the past fifteen years working on The Body Is His Book, the 0ne-hundred paneled polyptych.

It was only through a third-party that I found out that the real reason David moved was that he sold some sort of food/mapping/chat app to Zorintech for an undisclosed and presumably obscene pile of cold cash.

I hear he's going to China soon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


When he's not beating his head against the tarmac or coiling himself into an embryonic crouch my good friend David Schoffman enjoys a minor side-career as a freelance investigative journalist.

He skulks around Los Angeles like a gumshoe, burrowing about for something that might be juicy enough for publication. Too cowardly to write about crime and too dim to diagnosticate corruption he keeps his radius within the provincial ambit of the art scene.

Few remember that it was David who uncovered the ignominious double dealing of Bamber Turkic, the former chief critic of Orange County's Studio Gazette and host of the popular reality program What Next, America? In a business where conflict of interest is seen as a necessity, the fact that Turkic was privately selling the work of artists whom he had favorably reviewed barely raised a pimple. The scandal was that it turned out Turkic was actually producing the work himself under a score of carefully organized aliases! 

Wine's Moisture, Lacquer on copper,  Reggie Reynolds ( aka Bamber Turkic ), 2009

Another notorious story uncovered by Schoffman was that of the underground black market for diplomas and degrees. Though not completely eradicated, at one time it was both easy and quite common to be able to purchase a bachelors or a masters degree without doing any course work. The going rate for an undergraduate degree was just shy of $75,000, which made it considerably cheaper than attending a four-year program. Masters were a bit more pricey so they never really caught on.

The problem was especially acute in art schools. It was so widespread that to this day when scrutizing a résumé at an art gallery one can never be completely certain if the artist is legitimately credentialed! 

This kind of journalism is extremely important and I hope David continues to act as the conscience of the creative class. Politics, such as it is, has poisoned Schoffman's reputation as a painter. For now he occupies his time sitting for hours in neighborhood bistros with his ear to the ground and eyes agape and attentive.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014


The stiff brackets of professional ruin barricade my friend David Schoffman behind an impermeable wall of waste. What began in gladness may not have ended in madness the way Wordsworth might have predicted but potential was left to decay and talent, once so bright, was ravaged by vanity and missed opportunity.
Urim and Thummim, oil on wood, 1987

The early work was mired by good intentions. Though far from tasteful, David's paintings from the 1980's were rife with compliant hesitation. With their rough handling and cheap materials they pretended toward mutiny but with little commitment. They were paintings that "worked" and nothing more.

By mid-career he had slid into a cesspool of intellectual quiescence.

 Like a broken promise, rows of paintings and reams of drawings bore savage witness to forgetfulness and compromise. With each passing year his tepid exhibitions dazzled the innocent while disappointing the astute.

And now we are told to wait.

David insists on our patience. He vows to return and to surprise. He pleads for our indulgence as he prepares what he claims will be his ultimate tour-de-force - the 100-paneled polyptych putatively titled The Body Is His Book.

The Body Is His Book #67, oil on panel (in progress)

What has already been seen of this grand project does not bode well for the future. Trickles and fragments have surfaced over the years and nothing to my eye merits either optimism nor even curiosity.

The Body Is His Book #33, oil on panel (in progress)

If we give David the benefit of the doubt and he gives us nothing in return he'll deserve more than our contempt. He'll deserve our mockery.

With competence comes the worst kind of decadence. The mildewed decadence of regression and blight. David Schoffman has one last chance at redemption.

I'm not holding my breath,