It’s often said that trends are like road signs – you follow them only if you’re lost. Today’s art world is like yesterday’s art world. The trends come and go and come again – only in a slightly different form. Making sense of the swings and shifts in taste, in the memorably obtuse words of New York critic Spark Boon, is “a knight’s errand impossible.”

Spark Boon

Boon had a lot to say in his long career and the dim light he shed on the community that both nurtured and derided him remains as an invaluable cultural document. He tried to link his high ideals with the hijinks that animated the downtown art scene of the early eighties and nineties. It’s long been a commonplace that when he tragically died of a toxic slipcover (eyedrops of ecstasy lightly dusted with crushed Xanax) he left no intellectual heirs.

Spark Boon Hegel’s Hip Surgery, acrylic on zinc. 1978

Boon always said that art history tends to repeat itself – first as a tapestry and then as a hearse – and like most improbable reinventions, this twisted encore is now coming from L.A.

Podcaster Timmy Black is Spark Boon’s irreverent id. His strangely popular production Timmy Black Presents: The Lives of Contemporary Artists has become an unlikely global sensation. It’s a sort of oracular tabloid that dabbles in seriousness while hiding behind a pathogenic mask of farce.

For better or for worse, it’s the perfect reflection of our times. I urge all serious and devoted art lovers to give this your full attention.