Tuesday, October 16, 2007

again, the spectator

During the summer I researched novels on the art world, especially the genre of chick lit, which I then recounted here. But one book must be fairly popular, as it was not available (at the library) until just a couple of days ago. It fact it is so popular that the film rights have been sold.

I haven't finished Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him, but from the start I was impatient, bored and disappointed. The reviews have said that this is a great story for those who want to know about the art world, but it is mostly made of snippets barely held together by hollow characters - explanations of auctions, primary and secondary art markets....zzzzzzz.

What was missing? The passion.

The narrator is a gallerina, whose main virture is that she actually smiles (and most gallerinas don't, you see).

Oh, and she's a struggling, very private artist - even her boss doesn't know she's one and she's worked there five years. She suspects she has no talent.

Well, I know what it's like to not tell everyone, especially those in your day job. So many questions, suggestions, judgments, dreams explored and then dashed. But those dreams are still inside.

I am sadly not curious as to what happens to this girl, who is in awe over some male artist (again) - she turns him into the interesting part of the story. He enters the gallery and the story, makes the sweeping statements, which she narrates from the sidelines with her sweet, persistent smile.

It's painted as a virtue, to hide yourself and be all humble, but I can say with absolute confidence that it is not all that interesting letting someone else always walk the walk.

Yet the quotes on the book jacket confirm its authenticity. Richard Prince says he wishes he wrote it. Larry Gagosian says the story is very accurate, the art world is just like that. Whose art world?

But even if it was, even if I was the cog in the art world machine, the interior world is still reeling.

The story of a tremendously successful woman artist I may or may not be able to tell. I am not Cindy - I don't know that life. But to express a love of art and a life lived for it - is far more accurate that a perspective of the constant spectator. Move over! That's what she should be saying. Move all the way over.

The tenor of the novel only changes when the narrator tells us about a painting. She walks us through it and through this story, she finally gains some humanity. The novelist is indeed a collector – so she must love art (although sometimes, you gotta wonder). That’s what needs to come through.


namastenancy said...

Great funny review; I've linked my review of the book - which is nowhere as good as your's - to my LJ at:


I picked up the book at the library and was sputtering with irritation after the first chapter.

Carolyn said...

Oh boy, that just sounds bad!

m. said...

for me this post includes some classic eva:

"Move over! That's what she should be saying. Move all the way over."


Eva said...

Well, I've read a bit more since I posted it. The narrator is beginning to explore what it is like to make work - and to make it in doubt - but unfortunately these events are side notes to the real drama, intensity and talent, which of course belongs to the guys.