Marc Jones: Ideal Forms
Last year was the first time my work was installed at the Miami Basel art fair. I had gone down there one time before—a few years ago. I just went on my own—well, I didn’t mean for it to be on my own, but that’s the way it happened. I don’t know why I went, honestly; I didn’t know much about art or the art world at the time, but I guess the idea of being in Miami sounded fun. I went to a couple of the fairs, but I didn’t see anything that I liked. I mostly spent a lot of time by myself. I stayed in this little hotel room that wasn’t near anything in Miami, much less South Beach. Originally, I was supposed to stay in the room with my artist friend Michael, but Michael flaked because he didn’t have any money. So I paid for the whole room myself and I didn’t have as much money as I do now, so I was upset. The one obvious highlight of the trip was that I had sex with a blonde. I never get to fuck blondes. Real blondes, I mean. So yeah I got to do that. I picked her up at a bar and we went to her hotel room and she pulled down her jeans and was ready to go. She was drunk. The only thing that was weird was that after we finished she told me that she was really a man. "Oh," I said. "That's weird." But then ten minutes later she said that she was just kidding.
So, yeah, this past year I was pumped to come back to Basel. My presence would be real this time—I was a gallery-represented artist; I would knew more people; I would probably make real money. If all went according to plan, I would fuck more real blondes haha. My gallery told me that I was the featured artist in their booth and I laughed, they're such idiots. The stuff that I was supposed to show, before everything got fucked up in the booth, was really stupid. They were tables. I printed images over them—the top Google image search results for “table.” Then I called the whole series Ideal Forms. It was a reference to Plato’s theory of…Whatever. They’re lazy as artworks.
So, yeah, my gallery flew me down to Miami and paid for everything. I was put up in a hotel in South Beach. Not the nicest hotel, but nice. In return, I was supposed to be on my best behavior and meet collectors. But it never got that far. That first morning, I emailed Richard, the assistant who was overseeing everything, and told him that I wasn’t coming to the install because I was sick. I wasn’t sick; I just wanted to meet up with Michael, the guy I mentioned before. Michael was at Basel, too. Like me, he was no longer poor; like me, he arrived at the fair as a successful emerging artist. I don’t really like Michael’s work, though. He was showing these ‘90s skateboard videos that he’d slowed down to thirty frames a minute so that they last for like the whole day. People project them at fancy parties.
I told Michael there was a decent chance that even if we didn’t get any numbers, we'd at least see some naked girls because they allow nude sunbathing in South Beach. “It’s gonna be sick, dude,” I said. “Just trust me.”
But when we got there, it was too early. There weren’t many people on the beach—and the ones that were there weren’t hot naked chicks; they were just old people or families building sand castles.
“Whatever, man, this sucks,” I said. “Let’s go get some food.”
“Oh, no, dude, look,” said Michael. “There’re some topless bitches.”
I looked over to where he was pointing. They were kind of far away, but he was right. And they were hot—at least from a distance. And, oh shit, one of them was blonde. And, oh fucking shit, they both had fake boobs. Perfect globes, ideal forms. “Let’s go talk to them,” I said.
As we were walking over, we realized they weren’t girls, but women—cougars in their late 30s. One of them, a brunette, sat up, and I swear to God, she rubbed sun tan lotion all over her friend. My phone vibrated. Someone texting me. I’d deal with it later. But wait, what if it’s important? After all, who would text me so early in the morning? No, I thought. Fuck it. This is more important.
I re-focused on those ideal forms.
We walked toward them and I steadied myself. I imagined I was in a porn video and I was approaching these girls. I could see the brunette better when we got within twenty feet or so. Her face was average—she did a lot of shit to make herself look hot—she was tan, that helped. When I heard her voice, it annoyed me. She had a slow cadence. It sounded like she was simultaneously over-educated and vapid. The other one—the blonde—I couldn’t quite see. Her voice was less sexy than I wanted it to be, too. Not because it was so annoying. It was more that it reminded me of someone else. I couldn’t figure out who, though. I got another text, must have been about the millionth since I arrived at the beach. I decided to look. I opened up the message app on my phone. “WHERE R U?? EMERGENCY. COME NOW-Richard.” Emergency? What the fuck does that mean?
“Ah, excuse me, hello," said Michael as we came within a few feet of the cougars. I looked over and Michael’s dick, which is even bigger than mine, was showing.
The brunette saw it. She didn’t say anything. I looked at her face again. I wasn’t attracted to her. She looked like a sad person. No, the blonde was the one I wanted, even though I couldn't see her, I just knew.
She finally turned our way and before she saw me, she noticed Michael’s hard-on. “Oh, my God,” she said. I still couldn’t quite see her face, but as soon as she said that I knew who it was.
“Fuck,” I said. She looked over to me and I was right.
“Marc?” she said, hurrying to put on a white t-shirt. “What are you doing?”
I couldn’t say anything.
Catching the urgency of the situation, the brunette covered herself with her beach towel.
“I…I didn’t know it was you, Carol.”
“Tracy,” said the blonde to the brunette, “this is my cousin Marc.”
“Hey,” said Tracy. I tried to adjust my shorts, but it just called more attention to the fact that I was showing now too. The thing was, I wasn’t even thinking about sex. I was just freaked. I think the intensity of seeing Carol got my blood pumping. Carol was this older cousin I grew up around until my Aunt Rhonda and Uncle Wilson moved down here to Florida because Aunt Rhonda’s health was getting worse. I’d heard a rumor that Carol had dyed her hair blonde and gotten implants after she turned thirty, but I didn’t know how big she’d gotten them.
“Are you here for Basel?” she asked me.
“Yeah. Did you know I’m an artist?”
“What?” she laughed. “You?” My erection wouldn’t go away. I tried adjusting my shorts again.
“I mean I’m not a real artist. I just…act like one and I figured out how to make money doing it.”
“Oh…” she said. “That sounds more like you.”
“You guys are cousins?” said Michael slowly.
“Yeah…” I said.
“I heard about you before,” said Tracy. “Carol mentioned you. She said you were her only attractive cousin. Attractive for a guy, at least.”
“What the fuck, Tracy?” Carol stood up. “So this is kind of weird…”
“Yeah,” I agreed, adjusting my shorts.
“I think we’re just gonna go.”
“Ah, a-hm, yeah.”
Carol got her bag together and Tracy did, too.
“Don’t tell anyone you saw me with a girl,” she warned me. “No one else knows.”
Wait, what, I thought. Is Carol gay?
“Dude, that was so weird,” said Michael.
I shook my head and adjusted my shorts once more.
“Yeah,” I said. All of the sudden, I felt incredibly guilty about not being at the install.
When I got to the fair, I felt even more fucked up about the whole thing with Carol. I wanted to seriously avoid seeing her at future family things.
“Marc, I thought you were sick,” said Richard. “You hardly look sick.”
“Yeah, I am, actually,” I replied with zero effort to feign a cough or anything.
He brought me into the area with all of the booths. Someone had apparently broken in the night before and spray-painted over everything in purple. Crews were everywhere wiping it all down, but it was tough to clean and there was so much of it. It was all vague anti-capitalist messages—stuff about the 1%, pigs, etc. In my booth, my work had been unpacked. The frames were smashed and the prints torn-up. Someone had spelled out “POSER” on the wall where I was going to hang everything.