I Am A Serious Artist

Contemporary Artists in Contemporary Hollywood

published in Memo Magazine No.1, Melbourne, 2023
Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)


If Art Basel at Miami Beach (AB@MB) wanted to make a movie, they were relieved of the drudgery of doing so when Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) hit Netflix. Jack Gyllenhaal plays a pathetically cynical art critic, swanning around contemporary galleries in LA. He encounters the “undiscovered” paintings of a deceased artist named Vetril Dease. (They are all rote gothic narratives: think Immendorf meets Iron Maiden’s Eddie the Head done à la Freud.) Dease has used human blood mixed with paint, so anyone who buys or trades in these paintings dies a gory death. The film’s marketing tags it a “camp horror”—and if you believe that, you must be Ken Russell. Velvet Buzzsaw is simultaneously a perfect snapshot of AB@MB’s Floridian hustle that suckers le dumb riche into buying “crapceptual art” (think Joseph Kosuth at a Costco stall at Coachella), and a film that performs the same hustle to a streaming audience who can be suckered into believing that this is how the “art world” operates.


Jay-Z's - Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film (2013)

Swordfish (2001)

The Family Fang (2013)

I Love Dick (2022)

7 Easy Pieces (2005)

Boogie Woogie (2009)

This Is The End (2013)