Thursday, August 06, 2009

She had no face. It was the wrong way round. Every morning when she put on her face, because she used the mirror, she got it backwards. Always a bit behind—she saw what was out ahead. Her face was on loan from the Whitney. Although labeled abstract expressionist, it was to her more an effacement of Danztheater, like at BAM. It moved itself, never others. Despite its obvious wrongness—she’d had some good results with her face. A Coney Island gull had once walked across it to a half-eaten sandwich near the boardwalk. And even though it had been a black-headed Jersey gull and the sandwich a turkey-and-provolone still partly wrapped in wax-paper, the incident spoke to her ability to go unnoticed. Privacy was, in her view, to exist in a less prominent fashion. No one had the old eccentric privacy, the Gray Gardens privacy, only the more recent stand-in: a vague attractiveness. Thus, anonymity was the most crucial attribute of the contemporary face. A petty prettiness: art sans matter. Once her face began to show wear, the lines denoting a life lived, she would be returning it, maybe to be replaced in granite or stainless steel with nickel plating. She'd liked the ones she'd seen in those materials. True, she’d saved up for a place in Queens, but where do you really live? There was a rebate. And, if she sliced it off by the end of the week and walked into the showroom without one, she was betting could get a new face for even less.

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