Ed Young's Diary
Monday, November 5
After a working week from hell, I am on a jet plane to the land of Mark Coetzee and other happy tolerable thoughts such as rollerblades and tight hot pants - I'm going to Miami. I make it through US customs although I look like shit, and am accidentally wearing a T-shirt reading 'Mafia Fun Lovin' Criminals'. I have a shiner from a fight at the Kimberley two nights ago and still have the words 'Hard Bastard' scribbled all over my arms in permanent marker - a leftover from Johan van der Schijff's unveiling of his new public sculpture a few nights ago.
Van der Schijff made an arm wrestling podium and I really like it. The all girl collective Daddy Buy Me A Pony got their asses whipped by the strong lads of Galerie Puta.
I digress. The people at customs are very nice and they let me through without hassle once I inform them that I am an artist. But they've lost my baggage. I am reminded of the reason why I always only travel with hand luggage. It's almost 30 hours in the air and I smell like a small furry animal and have no clean clothes, nor my expensive range of perfumes. I smile politely and hop on the next available plane.
I arrive in Miami and someone neglects to pick me up. I catch a cab to the gallery - Locust Projects. Daniel and Sabina (L/B) are there. I have not seen them since January in Switzerland. We catch up and go out for a huge portion of Sushi. We're all a bit exhausted and head home. Daniel and I finish the extremely large bottle of Rum and Coke. Pass out.
Tuesday, November 6
I am still wearing the same underwear from Sunday. We go shopping in Miami Beach. I neglect to buy clean underwear, but do acquire an 'awesome' pair of shoes and clean socks as my feet are rotting. After a healthy Burger King Whopper, we head for the Albion Hotel, one of many hotels owned by the Rubell Family. We have drinks with Mark Coetzee who is currently heading the Rubell Family Collection. It's good to see him after a few years and he gives me a big bag of books and tells me that he understands that publications are expensive in Africa.
Wednesday, November 7
Start installing my work. Still wearing the same underwear. The sun is blazing. I have to make my own work for a change. At least I have a lovely assistant called B. She is calm and pretty. I start sweating and ask if she needs some of my 'Native Tan' (not kidding) sun block. She smiles and mentions that she needs a tan. After a few hours I almost die of sunstroke and leave her to do finishing touches. I work on my PowerPoint for tonight.
We deliver a presentation to Gen Art; a hedge fund collective of young collectors with brand new boobies. The event is sponsored by Johnny Walker Black. I show my Niggers Can't Be Choosers work and the entire audience gasps for air. Some people complain and leave. Others say: 'Oh my God... Wow... that's Awesome!' But not to me.
Thursday, November 8
Still wearing the same underwear. Start working. My luggage arrives. I change my underwear. L/B's sculpture is still stuck in customs. Getting a bit tense. The show opens on Saturday. I work again in the blazing sun. We make a trip to see the Rubell Family Collection. We head out to Tap Tap, a Haitian restaurant. I have conch for the first time. I think I prefer Burger King. Daniel is tired and heads home. Sabina, Claire Breukel, Mark and myself hit the streets.
I finally get to see Ocean Drive. Lots of good restaurants and expensive boobies. We pass the Versace mansion on our way to a gay club. The gay club is closed. We crash a party at the Victor Hotel. Should I say 'big expensive boobies' again? Suppose this is getting boring. I think it was Justin Timberlake's birthday bash but not sure - one of those people - bad video art on the projection.
On demand of Locust director Claire Breukel, we end up at a club called Mango's and I refuse to say the 'boobie' word again. Claire looks very happy.
Friday, November 9
I wear clean underwear. The L/B sculpture gets cleared by customs but stuck in traffic in the harbour. And the harbour closes at 4pm. It makes it out. L/B and I install for the evening and drink gin. I am warned about the dangers of working outside at night. I carry a hammer.
Saturday, November 10
The Wynwood Art District is packed with a plethora of small galleries. Five are relatively OK. Most galleries open tonight and the whole area becomes a bit of an art walk, with the only disadvantage being that 100s of people move through the spaces without spending much time with the work, or the artists for that matter. Attendees run in, take a pic with L/B's Pocket Stadium, drink a Peroni beer and run off. Show over. We pack up as all beverages had run out.
We head for a party at Diet Gallery, a brand new space which opened that night with their first show. We notice that someone had vomited on my painting. It is possibly the best piece of physical criticism I've had. Feel happy. The Diet party is cooling off but Daniel and I are going hard. We get ditched and end up at a Karaoke bar.
Sunday, November 11
It's our first day off and L/B and I chill in the windowless apartment and gallery, curing opening hangovers with mild gins and diet coke. It works. The lack of natural light in the space is deceiving and we only make it to the beach by sunset. Baumann and I have our first swim in Miami waters. I purchase an iPhone. This is cool, as it has not yet been released in SA or most cities in the world for that matter. We have dinner with Claire Breukel at an Argentinean place and are all pretty exhausted from the week's proceedings and head home. Daniel and I hack and sync iPhones and get pretty trashed in the early hours of the morning playing with new toys.
Monday, November 12
A school group arrives this morning. They ask if I could say two sentences about my work. I can't. Jump on another lengthy flight back to the mother city.
Tuesday, November 13
David Scadden collects me from CT International. He is late. It is also late. Stop in at Kimberley Hotel then head for the studio to do paperwork. Boring.
Wednesday, November 14
Spend most of the day at the French Consulate for Visa application. The French are really friendly and helpful and offer to expedite my visa for the same day. I waste the rest of the day with sensitive theorists and lovely Goth girls. I am in the bank getting a new card as mine was rudely swallowed by a Bank of America ATM machine. I am speaking to the consultant. My mommy phones: 'What size underwear do you take... medium?'. 'No,' I say, 'I am a small'. 'Really?' says mommy. The bank clerk laughs at me and looks at me funny.
Thursday, November 15
Get a phone call from Crazee. She seems a bit upset by last month's diary. Having a beer and a smoke at O. R. Thambo International, anticipating the long flight ahead. Boring. I phone artist Zen Marie to come and keep me company. He says no but offers to take me on a fishing trip upon my return.
Friday, November 16
I don't even know if this is the correct date as the time zones confuse me even more than usual. Stuck in Dubai. No money for shopping and I have to stay here for seven hours - the advantages of cheap flights. I am killing time in the same Irish pub that Christian Nerf and I frequented on our travels to far off lands (before Nerf was detained by the Dubai officials). I get invited onto a nice show and have to come up with four good ideas on the spot. Can't come up with any so I send through crap ones. Just want to get to Paris and cry for a short while. At least Linda Stupart and I made the front page of SA Art Times with a very unflattering photograph. I count the hours in Dubai. I still have another eight-hour flight to Paris. I meet a crazy Australian engineer. We start drinking tequilas on his boss' credit card. I tell him what I do, and show him the Diary. He gets jealous of my job and we have more tequila. I want to stay in Dubai. I get a bit trashed before my 8am flight and leave two cartons of cigarettes behind. Lucky bastards.
Arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport and Frenchie is there to pick me up. She is pissed off that my flight is two hours late. She is even more upset when I tell her that I left the Free State biltong in Cape Town and she absolutely fumes when the bank machine won't give me money. But she is glad to see me and I'm glad to see her. The trains are on strike so we pay Euro 40 to get to town. Frenchie and I zip through the cold Parisian streets on a scooter. I fear for my life but it is very exciting. See Frenchie's studio at the Ecole des Beaux Arts under supervision of Annette Messager. Looks great. We go for a few beers and head home for Vodka Tonic and some sleep. We have a huge fight about art and stuff and Sophie Calle.
Saturday, November 17
Snooze the day away. Wake up at sunset. We head for a party downtown in an ex-squat. It is interesting to see how off-spaces eventually become commercial ventures. I meet interesting artists, singers and lesbians. But I don't really speak French. Frenchie almost kills us on the back of her scooter and we head home for beer and the sweet songs of tweetie birds. The sun comes up and I go down.
Sunday, November 18
Sleep ...fight ...sunrise.
Monday, November 19
Sleep ...fight ... bars ...sunrise.
Tuesday November 20
Sleep ...fight ...bars ...KFC ...sunrise.
Wednesday, November 21
I have a meeting with Storm Shadow, a local paparazzi company run by Maxim Raffard and Vincent Aussel, to discuss a project I want to do, have a good time. Chat, laugh, cook dinner and develop a project. Frenchie suddenly feels tired and says she is leaving. I ask her if she has forgotten something and she realises that I am referring to myself. We head back on the scooter. Back at her abode we chat and I finally realise that she has been going through my private mails. We have a fight and Frenchie throws me out on the cold Parisian streets, something she has been doing every night, but tonight is more serious.
And I have had enough. I tell her that I will pack and leave after I have finished my beer. After five minutes she asks how my beer is doing. I get up and start to pack my things. She freaks out and begs me to stay. I say no, I have had enough of mad artists. Frenchie turns into Crazee and refuses to let me out of the flat, she is bigger and stronger than me and I can't get to the door. She has also disconnected all telephonic devices. I am held captive. The story is long but I manage to escape after about two hours of struggle. I find my way back to the paparazzi headcourters in Le Sentier - thank god for iPhone mapping systems. It's 4am and the streets are crawling with middle-aged prostitutes...
Thursday, November 22
I wake late. My jaw is swollen from taking a blow to the specific area were I recently had surgery. I am half-hamster. I am still a bit shaky from the night before. I go to the opening of 'Rencontres Internationales' at the Centre Pompidou. It's a video show that I have been on a few times but not this year, as my work is terrible at the moment. I am supposed to meet Gavin Younge. He phones to say that the invitation was wrong and that the opening is only an hour later. Max and I go to a bar. We come back only to find that the screenings are full - slight relief. Max and I go to a bar. We head back around 9.30pm and join the cocktail party. Everyone is dressed well and looks like video artists.
Gavin joins us for a drink and we catch up on recent happenings at Michaelis. It's nice to see him outside his natural habitat.
Friday, November 23
Wake up early. Take up residency with the Storm Shadow paparazzi company. We zip through the streets on scooters and chase up leads. We are looking for Kylie Minogue. It's raining outside the Four Seasons hotel. No luck. We retreat to the offices and waste the day with craploads of beer and buckets of KFC.
Saturday, November 24
Wake early. We have more leads today. Chasing Kylie on the back of a speeding scooter. More paparazzi arrive. We are trying a performance. I am inserted in the shot with poster boards behind Kylie saying silly things. I am not sure if this will work, but is definitely a good test for paparazzi projects. I am trying to come up with a strong idea to work with them in future. We go home, as I have to write my shitty diary. Kylie is tiny, cute and friendly.
Sunday, November 25
Monday, November 25
Arrive in Barcelona, I feel happy and don't want to go back to South Africa after reading all the bad things they wrote about me on ArtHeat.
Tuesday, November 26
Work on stupid laptop. Go for tapas. I suddenly realise how boring my Diary is when not in Cape Town. I go to a pub with Crazy Tania. The barlady says: 'We have to throw you out... it's not because you are African... but the cops are coming...'. I have no idea. On the way home, landscape artist Tania says she is working on a project. I say what project. She says that she has to re-invent the entrance to the main cemetery in town. I say cool. She decides to put a beautiful picnic area and a kick-ass bar at the entrance, a sort of amusement park scenario. She says: 'Don't worry Edward, the people living there are all nice and fairly quiet'.
I think I must come home.