Guy Richards Smit Reminds Us of the Coming Death of Art

THE DAILY PIC: Smit's new pillows are sure to ruin many an artist's sleep.

THE DAILY PIC (#1711): No one has understood what it means to be an artist better than New Yorker Guy Richards Smit, and no one has mocked it more potently. Jonathan Grossmalerman, Smit’s longtime alter-ego in videos and stand-up work, is a creepy misogynist egomaniac who stands for all the other such creatures in the art world—or outside it, with or without brass hair.

With his latest project, on the Web site, Smit has gone rather more low-key. He’s just launched a series of low-cost pillows that bear quite lovely watercolors of skulls, a classic memento mori that here stands as a reminder of the ever-looming death of careers and aspirations in art. Compared to that, the death of mere human bodies can seem trivial, at least to the Grossmalermans of this world.

One side of today’s pillow bears the hopeful phrase “a new-found self-confidence,” the kind of boilerplate praise uttered by a critic who wants to hint at the lack of such confidence in earlier work. The pillow’s verso delivers the chilling adjective that every young artist dreads living to hear: “mid-career.”

Might as well carve your career’s tombstone now.

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