The Art Assassin

a nonfiction novel by Albert Wang

Chapter 0: why qi peng? as suggested by the author Albert Wang

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Why qi peng? Or rather, who is qi peng?

As an investigative reporter in the New New New Journalism, a literary movement that combines the postmodern new media techniques of Twitter and MySpace and Facebook with the old school subjective reporting of New Journalism that was popular in the 1960’s and 1970’s and the New New Journalism which was prevalent during the 1990’s, I decided to figure out why New York City and Los Angeles was the loci for the most prestigious contemporary art, particularly in the gallery scene that was reviewed by major art magazines such as Artforum and Art in America. In other words, why was the city that I was living in, Salt Lake City, being overlooked by these well-respected magazines? After all, popularly acclaimed writer Stephanie Meyer was living in Arizona, NOT in New York City.

Premise: invent a fictional character qi peng (who may have appeared in other Albert Wang novels) who would be a solely Utah conceptual artist that would borrow many autobiographical elements from Albert Wang’s life and have leading contemporary art professionals believe that they are being interviewed by a real-life conceptual art or art writer or art critic. Whatever confusion that may ensue from this tireless mess.

Goal: attempt to get qi peng further support and respect within the New York or Los Angeles contemporary art world without having to move to either venue. Land a solo exhibition in either city for this well-invented character resulting from Albert Wang’s double entendre as a performance artist gone undercover for a writer. Can one pretend that he has an art school degree? Possibly procure gallery representation for qi peng despite the odds by testing whether any galleries will accept his portfolio after a mass mailing of artist submissions.

Another desire was to open up the channels for having conceptual art reflect on its own methodology, particularly in the growth of an artist from a pure nobody to someone that was partly recognizable in the art world while attaining friendships with other artists who would be willing to become characters in the larger fabric of this driven narrative. The dialogue about how famous, particularly blue-chip, artists become where they are now remains rather elusive and perhaps non-existent even after a few years of this artistic experiment.

Expectations: mostly failure due the contemporary art world’s essentially conservative approach. Most museum curators and art dealers tend to believe that the critical dialogue and highest number of sales occur within the New York City and Los Angeles premises. Too bad for those other conceptual artists being crowded (or screwed over) out of the multilingual chatter of what the essential issues in the art world. It must be assumed that conceptual artists in Denver or even Dallas must not have a clue about what the hot topics are in any given issue of the high gloss art magazines must entail.

In other words, peng will suffer a rise and fall within the contemporary art world not due to his lack of critical engagement but an inability to secure gallery representation and thus art reviews. He remains a continued unknown factor of the whole art equation.

Results: in July 2010, peng has managed a single solo show that lasted only a single day at a raw New York City space but not much else. Lots of safely respectable shows in Salt Lake City, Utah which I have assumed to be good enough. Perhaps more to disclose before the artist’s untimely death within a few years that gets reported within the New York Times. Apparently his obsession with the overtones of 9/11 would have carried him too far. I, Albert Wang, as his executor must remain mum about his forthcoming adventures due to the twisted surprise within the conceptual artist’s failed life like a postmodern Henry Darger awaiting rediscovery by the blue-chip galleries in New York City or Los Angeles.

I would report here on the misadventures of my fictional alter-ego within this hybrid photographic text similar to that of a Sebald novel. A true journalist must fail to distinguish between fact and fiction because they are mutually dependent on each other’s value systems. To lie in thirty words per second must be impressive.

The underground artists really relished the self-referential solo show at envoy enterprises as a way of reflecting on their stymied attempts to straddle the commercial world of the gallery system and non-profit while entertaining self-created raw spaces, typically in apartments or abandoned warehouses, while refusing to compromise their philosophical or psychological breadth and edgy presentation.

And who would be looking out of the window from the white box galleries? Surprisingly, for all of the contemporary art world’s faith in an endlessly open dialogue, the saturation of experimental (and traditional) artists within the marketplace seems to have killed further interest with artists from obscure cities outside the safe confines of these two metropolises.

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Written by qi peng

July 11, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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