Sell Out Man, A Blog Novel, Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Fifteen



The essay about Zev Bauhaus came out in the most recent issue of BOMB Magazine. The essay was written by the well-established contemporary art critic and essayist Hanna Hartman. She had written several long essays on feminism, Jungian analysis and contemporary thought in art and popular culture which had attracted much critical attention. In the essay on Zev Bauhaus Hanna focused on the ideas behind Zev’s paintings. Hanna lived in Buenos Aires and interviewed Zev several times over the phone. Zev was stoned when he talked to her and he talked about his art in a way that he would not have if he was not stoned. When not stoned he had little to say about his art because he wasn’t sure what it all meant. He was just making pretty paintings for rich people to buy, is what he thought.

Zev told Hanna that the ideas for his paintings came from a place that light does not reach. When she asked him about this he told her that it was from the realm of the unconscious that his ideas came. In her essay, Hanna tied together Jungian ideas about the unconscious with the ideas behind Zev’s images. She wrote about how a major transformation is continually happening in the abstract paintings of Zev Bauhaus. It was a continual and perpetual transformation occurring before the viewer’s eyes. The abstracted images offered transformative ideas about oneself in relation to the blank space of our inner universe. A new way of envisioning our personal experience as human beings was expressed through the paintings. Once Zev’s ideas reach the surface, they set off a series of reactions that eventually take form where we can experience it with our own minds. Hanna eloquently and in a postmodern vernacular wrote about how she was no artist but as a non-artist she could still grasp the ideas behind the process. The best ideas that appear are the ones that come out from the dark and this why Zev Bauhaus’s paintings were of important inherent value as a modern object. We need these ideas to keep us human in inhuman capitalistic times, Hanna concluded.

Zev liked the essay. Amy had read it first. She always read essays and articles about Zev’s work first to make sure that there was nothing in it that would upset Zev. When Zev first came to be known as a painter he read many negative reviews and essays about his work. They upset him because Zev was sensitive towards what others thought of his work. He would become depressed and angry for extended periods of time, so Amy had gotten into the habit of checking the articles and essays first. Zev didn’t even bother with watching the numerous YouTube videos about his work. Amy thought the essay was flattering and she respected Hanna Hartman as a writer and contemporary thinker. She would write Hanna an email complementing her on her essay about Zev. Hanna and Amy would begin a correspondence with Amy eventually editing some of her essays. When Zev had finished reading the essay, he felt relieved. He always anticipated that people were going to write negative things about his work. Hanna didn’t do this.

A day or so after the BOMB essay came out, Zev started receiving a tidal wave of emails and phone calls. People wrote to tell him how much they appreciated his work. Others wanted to interview him. Galleries wanted him to have a one man show. A few modern art museums contacted him, interested in buying and archiving his work. Zev didn’t have a manager or agent to do his busy work. Marissa helped him with some of it but he was the one who had to return phone calls and send emails. He hated this part of his job and neglected a large chunk of it. Zev was an opportunist so he took advantage of the increase in opportunities coming his way. He agreed to sell one of his paintings to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He was going to have a one man show at a very prestigious modern art gallery in Buenos Aires. He was also going to have another one at a New York City modern art gallery. The essay had certainly put a kick in Zev’s career. He was unwillingly moving to the next level. But Zev went along with the momentum. He was getting older now and felt he should do what he needed to do to keep the money coming in.

When I make my paintings, I must have faith in time. I must believe that time is on my side, Zev told one interviewer as he toured him around his studio space. These images take time to appear. I have to give them this space to grow in. I always want to paint what I want to paint, the way I want to paint it. I think about the next steps later on. As Zev told the interviewer this, he didn’t believe himself. He felt like an imposter. He wondered if he was really painting what he wanted to paint or if that was just a lie he was telling himself and others. Was he painting what he wanted to paint or just doing what was safe?

Zev started working a lot more at his studio. He would be there from early in the morning till late at night, six days a week. Sometimes he would sleep in the bedroom at the studio. Zev wasn’t particularly happy about this increase in work but he was getting into it. When he was home he would always be angry at Amy. He felt like she was neglecting things. Dinners didn’t taste as good and the house wasn’t as clean as it was in the past. Since Amy was the one home most of the time it was Zev’s expectation that she keep their home looking nice. He wanted to come home and find everything in its right place. He wanted scented candles to be lit and nice music playing. Fresh flowers would help. But none of this was happening anymore. Amy straightened up around the house as much as she could but she didn’t care as much anymore. Her mind was on Arthur and work. Most of her energy was going into these places and this caused her to be more neglectful in her life with Zev. Zev’s anger pushed her further away.

Amy was happy that Zev was working more. She felt better when he was not around. She could be herself more and do the things she needed to do. When Zev was around he took up so much space. He was such a drag most of the time, especially recently. Amy was sick of Zev’s behavior and resented him. She resented him for not coming on to her more. She resented him for not taking control of her and giving her the pleasure she deserved. She resented him for not making her feel beautiful. She resented him for his desire to possess her like a wet sponge or something. She resented him for always being angry and unhappy despite all the wealth around him. She could hardly stand to be around the guy anymore and was happy that he was gone more now.

Amy decided to take more risks in Zev’s absence. She would have Arthur over for lunch or early dinners. When Zev told Amy that he was staying the night at the studio she would have Arthur come over and spend the night. This started to happen more and more. Arthur and Amy talked about their plans to be together. They talked about living in an apartment closer to the beach or maybe someday Arthur would live in the Silverlake house. Amy didn’t mean these things when she said them. She knew Arthur would never live in the Silverlake house. She couldn’t imagine that but she got caught up in the fantasy of her love affair and let all hesitation go. She was living in the dream that lovers live in.

Arthur knew that he would have to wait patiently. He told himself that he would just keep waiting things out. Eventually Amy would be with him. But she couldn’t be with him now. She was married to Zev Bauhaus and Arthur didn’t make the kind of money he would need to contribute to the lifestyle she was accustomed to. She couldn’t completely leave Zev for Arthur. Not now at least. But she told Arthur that one day they would be together. She talked to Arthur about her problems with Zev and used him as a sounding board. She would tell Arthur about how critical Zev was of her and how he didn’t want to have sex with her much of the time. She would tell him about how miserable it can be to be around Zev and Arthur did his best to listen and support her. But he was also trying get as much information from Amy about Zev because someday he thought he might write about him. She never told Arthur about the sex shows she had used him as a prop in. She felt this would give her away as the deceitful woman she was.

Arthur took shits in the same toilet that Zev shit in. He was sleeping in the bed right were Zev slept. He shaved in the sink that Zev shaved in. He showered in the shower that Zev showered in. He ate at the table that Zev ate at. He washed dishes in the sink that Zev washed dishes in. He sat on the couch were Zev sat. He was even allowed to wonder around in Zev’s studio and he sat in the lounge chair that Zev would sit in. Zev was being gradually replaced by the opposite version of himself. And he could feel this gradual erasure of himself whenever he was home. Amy almost seemed to not see him sometimes and he couldn’t resist the feeling that something was up. It was this feeling that caused him to think about checking the trash as he was shaving one morning. Evidence always appeared in the trash. That’s where people would forget. Zev finished shaving, dried his face and bent over to go through the small trash can that sat by the toilet. Zev found a wrapper for men’s Gillette razors. Zev never used Gillette razors before and he knew this MAGAPACK wasn’t for Amy because just under the razors was a discarded Old Spice deodorant container. Old Spice? He and Amy never used that crap. Who would think a discarded package of razors and a deodorant container could forever change a man’s life.

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