Tuesday, August 25, 2015


It's easy for the tepid to be idolatrous. For the moderately talented and the under-ambitious deferring to another's achievements is as easy as breathing.

The pale appeal of third-party genius is a coward's escutcheon against failure. For all his gifts, my good friend David Schoffman lacks the most vital one.


Nowhere is his surrender more evident than in his groundless veneration of the Los Angeles artist Dahlia Danton.

Staunch in his sincerity he's been blind to her every flaw. But even the most ludicrous forms of lionization have their bitter limits and as everyone knows, the flip-side of reverence is revulsion.

But the disgust has a unique tinge to it for its object is rarely its cause. Lashing out at one's hero is merely a reflection of what psychologists call "fawning fatigue" - the abject exhaustion that comes from relentless and baseless unconditional love.

In an embarrassing display of mousy indecision David recently recanted a glowing encomium published in the online arts journal The Harps of Heaven. Without referring to her explicitly by name Schoffman described a "certain type of artist who under the pretense of stanching the aesthetic lesions of modernism, creates a fantasy of prettified pretentiousness full of frolicking figures concealed in an idyll of reactionary formalism."

Dahlia Danton 2014

 The reference was clear. 

Going so far as to refer to "artists of this sort" as "hypocrites", Schoffman was throwing the gauntlet of open revolt.

The entire spectacle has been unseemly and for those of us who are intimate with both David and Danton the social and intellectual barricades have been aggressively drawn. You are either with the one or you're against the other which makes attending a Los Angeles art opening particularly awkward.

Lucky for me I'm in France where the only object of unqualified veneration is the sacred month of August.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Ever since my good friend David Schoffman marooned upon the golden shores of the Pacific his intellectual compass has skewed to the south. This one time tireless cultural warrior, this beacon of probity and enlightened rectitude has slowly descended into the fiery ring of the fatuous and the feather-headed.

As if any more evidence was wanting, he recently appeared on what seems to be some sort of political/literary televised panel on the subject of American aggression.

I know that when one lives in Los Angeles the thrill of appearing on the small screen is always a thrilling prospect but I'm afraid my poor, camera-ready friend was well beyond his depth.

I think he must be spending too much time at the beach.