Mat Gleason interviews the Constant Collector (1996)

Mat the maverick at Coagula—and one of the Art Design Publicity spiritual leaders— interviewed a crazy collector in loonied-out Los Angeles.

Mat Gleason , Kim Min Su (Editor of Art Design Publicity)
Art Design Publicity at ADC | 4 September 2010
This interview was previously published in the classic book Most art sucks: Five years of Coagula (1998) and issue 20 of Coagula, 1996.

It is one of the world’s natural wonders how Mat Gleason has kept his sanity writing about art in loonied-out Los Angeles. Just watching the WTF jail publicity featuring Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton on TV in Europe is enough for some of us to steer completely off the rails thousands of miles away.

Back in the 1990s, Mat Gleason learned the benefit of cracking beneath the publicity surface and utilizing the anonymous interview as a way to present more real discussions about the art world. Then like now, more anonymous interviews by a trusted journo can get more real art world stories out— hopefully leading to a healthy reform of it all.

From an Art Design Publicity viewpoint, Mat, thank you. Artists can look back at whichever artists and teams created successful and long-lasting marketing campaigns. MoMA money Mary Boone, MFA debt. Van Gogh corrupted capitalistic. State-sponsored insider deals propaganda global hierarchy. Elitist academic publicist aspirations bullshit.

But to ADP, YOU Mat Gleason are definitely one of the REAL masters of the 20th century.

Now onto Mat’s interview of the "Constant collector".

Constant Collector

Believe it or not, there are art collectors in Los Angeles!! Really! I am not making this up. Although this is proof that I do not have a life, I decided to phone one of L.A.’s idle rich, just to ask for a report on the L.A. scene from a collector’s point of view.

1 February 1996 12:50 P.M.

(Preliminary phone conversation omitted so you won’t die of boredom)

Mat Gleason: So who is hot?

Constant Collector: Well, there isn’t one artist who is dominating the scene, but certain ones seem to be as healthy as ever.

Mat Gleason: You sound jaded, did I catch you between Valiums?

CC: Funny. I really liked Linda Stark’s work at Marc Foxx. Didn’t you give her a positive review?

Mat Gleason: Yeah. We like her. I actually met her a few months ago. She’s very cute, as good-looking as her art.

CC: Well, boys will be boys. She doesn’t fit my aesthetic a hundred percent, but Marc Foxx knows just how to price things. He makes them quite tempting.

Mat Gleason: Slur your words a little more, I cant tell if that martini you’re drinking is a double.

CC: What?

Mat Gleason: Nothing. Did you see Ross Rudel at Angles?

CC: Yes, actually. I saw you at the opening. Thank you for not approaching me.

Mat Gleason: I protect my sources.

CC: Yes, Angles certainly seems to be surviving without Mr. Foxx at the helm. I thought Ross put together a beautiful show. I didn’t care for that couch thing on the wall in the back room, but otherwise it was outstanding work, very sensual.

Mat Gleason: Down the street from Angles was the infamous curation of the Norton Collection by Kim Dingle. What’d ya’ think?

CC: She exhibited the art as it exists in storage— marvelous, I say! There have been some serious tizzy-fits over that one. Kim Dingle could teach YOU a thing or two about controversy, let me tell you.

Mat Gleason: I thought the show was brilliant.

CC: Well, that’s not what I hear Lari Pittman thinks about it.

Mat Gleason: Because his painting was shown covered in storage wrapping?

CC: Yeah.

Mat Gleason: Ha. Like what the fuck is he gonna do, buy the painting back from the Nortons?

CC: Hello! Maybe he’ll tell Jay Gorney to have buyers sign disclaimers that they can never wrap or crate the artworks.

Mat Gleason: Yeah. “Jay, this is Lari, you took money for my art, you capitalist pig, I’m going back to Rosamund Felsen, xx xxxxx xxx xxxxx xxxxxx x xxxxxx xxx xx!”

CC: Yeah, that’s about all the leverage Lari has and Jay knows it.

Mat Gleason: (laughing at the thought of Lari Pittman walking in the door of Felsen’s with a box of chocolates)

CC: Well, I heard a juicy one—I think Roy Dowell and Tom Knechtel may be leaving Xxxxxxxx

Mat Gleason: Ooh… I bet Xxxxx Xxxxxxxxxxx would take the first offer that came around.

CC: It’s hard being Rosamund in a Bergamot world.

Mat Gleason: Yeah, and who would Xxxxxxxx Xxxxx have to copy if Xxxxx retired?

CC: Maybe Berman. She could probably grow a mustache if she tried.

Mat Gleason: I saw Xxx Xxxxxx in the audience at a Peter Schjeldahl lecture recently. It was the first time I had ever seen him without Xxxx Xxxxxxx. Like, I bet they even go to the men’s room together at MOCA openings. I thought only girls did that…

CC: In New York?

Mat Gleason: Naw, girls go to the can together everywhere, you idiot.

CC: I was asking if you saw Peter Schjeldahl lecture in New York, you idiot.

Mat Gleason: No, here, L.A.

CC: Where did Schjeldahl lecture in L.A.?

Mat Gleason: At Otis one night.

CC: When?

Mat Gleason: January.

CC: January what?

Mat Gleason: I don’t fucking know, I haven’t even bought a goddamn 1996 calendar yet.

CC: Why was he speaking at Otis?

Mat Gleason: They paid his ass, I guess.

CC: I mean what event was he there for?

Mat Gleason: He spoke about Kim Dingle.

CC: Everyone’s talking about Kim Dingle.

Mat Gleason: Talk about something else, she’ll kill me if I mention her on every page of the magazine like I did last issue.

CC: If she killed you, Lari Pittman might like her better.

Mat Gleason: Lari Pittman doesn’t even know I exist, and that’s the way I like it.

CC: I finally made it over to Gagosian’s Beverly Hills space.

Mat Gleason: Pretty beautiful space, eh?

CC: Richard Meier is so much better than Frank Gehry.

Mat Gleason: Yeah, and I bet his buildings don’t xxxx like Gehry’s do xx xxx xxxx. Did you go to Gogo’s opening? Who was there?

CC: I saw Cheryl Tiegs at the opening there. She was real friendly with Larry.

Mat Gleason: I always resented her for replacing Farrah Fawcett… They should have made Charlie’s Angels a duo after Farrah left.

CC: I didn’t watch a lot of TV in those years.

Mat Gleason: Hey, it was television’s golden age.

CC: The late seventies?

Mat Gleason: History will prove me right.

CC: The problem with seeing big celebrities at Gagosian’s and Pace is that if all the star power goes to big galleries, the only market for the smaller spaces will be industry wannabes. And if they’re just buying art to fit in, it creates a volatile market and rewards galleries that mimic fashionable trendy art…

Mat Gleason: And every dealer in town has their finger in the air, looking for that next big thing, whether it’s art or not…

CC: Well, if the market crashes big again, you can blame film industry executives who only shop retail.

Mat Gleason: Spoken with conviction.

CC: If you quote me on that, I will show it to my mother.

Mat Gleason: I gotta go vomit. (hang up)


Like writers and journalists everywhere, we can’t publish everything someone says or thinks. However, instead of rewriting bits to "hide" the censored information, ADP shows you the redactions. The redacted bits can be seen in the classic book "Most Art Sucks". To learn more about the legal dynamic shaping what you read about art/design—and don’t, see "LAW, LAW, LAW—and PUNK, dissertation..."