It all starts with being traumatized by art people. I was 15 going to noise shows and I had a 17 year old girlfriend. Maybe it's too hard to explain because I'm afraid of actually being myself. When I got introduced to the NYC night life, I was too afraid of the rich kid trust fund drug addicts. I was too afraid of the pretty women. I was too afraid of fashion. But I moved to NYC to go to college because I was obsessed with high vocabularies within experimental music and addicted to the lifestyle. Am I worried about being cavalier and blunt? Someone already tried to call me a right-wing incel. But actually it goes much deeper on a psychic level of desire. This is some shit when you are in love with the work and everything else is just a perk. This is metaphysical shit. The metaphysics of being authentic in a Lil Uzi Vert universe. Maybe I was precocious and Jesse was precocious too. I was going to a math program for gifted students, while I went to ambient and noise shows with 20-year olds on the weekend. I went to the art BBQ here in Chicago for Golden Age when I was 17 or 18. But I still haven't come to my point. Maybe I was thrown into the NYC art world and I was crying at the Watermill Auction Benefit (for Robert Wilson) because the director was cold and mean-spirited. Or maybe I interned at Real Fine Arts when I was 20 and I was too afraid to even go to the opening of the show I was sitting in on. I went to the closing party and my mind was just focused on the vision. I had just made an artwork for Yngve Holen and Marlie Mul's online platform. I was more happy and content with how many people liked the Facebook post than actually meeting new people at a show. I had passion.
But it goes much deeper. It actually is about being larger than yourself like when you have become a legend and people gossip about you. Maybe I am too nice a guy to actually talk to someone that I have a crush on because I become self-indulgent and self-flagellate. Maybe I'm too anti-social. Like I am a fantasy football coach for Bernadette Corporation. But when it comes to the actual big leagues, I'm a shy fly on the wall. It may be because we spent so much time in isolation and didn't have friends before. Or we went through periods of being exposed to this world and we couldn't come back from it. It traumatized us. And we were thrown into the high stakes fashion-based art world. Maybe I couldn't compete with myself in the LES art world that was a plane ride away from Frankfurt or Berlin. Maybe I had to self-sabotage my career because I was afraid of all the fake friends and I knew my only way out was to ostracize myself by idealizing a bunch of ice queens from afar. But there is such beauty in Beatrice according to Dante. He only met her twice. But maybe we picked women that it was unrealistic to work out and we prefered the dejected, rejected isolation. That was our safe space. We were comfortable there.
Maybe I was trying to make a name for myself and play the game. And I had to drink the pain away. I couldn't be vulnerable and be my higher self around these catty socialites. So now I'm getting back to the basics. As Drake says, I want to take it deeper than money, pussy, vacation. Maybe the only way out of it is to focus on the work and work tirelessly like Dieter Roth or Martin Kippenberger. Does that make us reactionary? What if I told you that the Ivy League Manhattanites would exclude me from their soirees and wouldn't even talk to me at the rooftop party. What if the local hipster wouldn't think you're cool unless you have a sleeve of tattoos and beard and they find you too nerdy because you talk about Deleuze and Heidegger, which they haven't even heard about. What if the only people that accept you for being based are the people that are post-woke and post-clubkid.
Maybe I'm obsessed with a girl right now named Beatrice. And she reminds me of the best qualities in my ex-girlfriend. My ex-girlfriend revolutionized my sexuality and my relationship to women. She destabilized a lot of fixed constructs. Honestly, I think I am a third-wave feminist in Judith Butler's sense of jouissance/play. What if I realized that I really value people with integrity. Someone who is self-deprecating. But also genuinely innocent. Someone who has a bashful allure. And can have the driest sense of humor. Someone who respects and empathizes people naturally. My ex-girlfriend was most attracted to my brazen search for true love, but also my belief in true artwork. I spent a whole semester in Berlin hanging out with the Post-Internet crowd and didn't have sex once. But I digress.
This show is about metaphysical painting. I could tie in Malevich or Di Chirico. But the paintings were all made in the past 2 or 3 years, based, while listening to Lil Uzi Vert. Maybe Jesse was exposed at an early age and didn't know how to process it all. Maybe he could have made it big. He was the right-hand man at Freddy's. Maybe we prefer to play the video-game version of this nightlife because people are social elitists. Maybe we prefer to be noise elitists. Or painting elitists. Or movie elitists. Or philosophy elitists. Maybe we have more control of our output when we command from afar. Rather than being a socialite, present. We command through our absence. Maybe we needed to shed ourselves of all the wrong friends, the friends who would judge us for being crazy. Maybe we realized that we didn't know how to tell the clout-chasers from the real ones. But now that we are uncool, you can pick them a mile away. All my friends are dead."
— Eric Schmid