A certain party was inspired to pay tribute to the great poet and paragon of male beauty, Anthony Kiedis:
As part of the Pacific Standard Time offensive, an ad campaign has been launched – to reel the kids in, presumably – in which celebrities are enlisted to endorse the work of their supposedly favorite artists. Posters around town depict a shirtless (as ever) Anthony Kiedis – yes, the semi-talented egomaniac best known for boasting about all the drugs he took 20 years ago – flaunting his impeccable pecs (and/or abs) with Ruscha Hollywood Sign-in-reverse typeface superimposed behind him. According to the press release, Kiedis “personifies the mood and attitude of Southern California… like no other artist today,” which suggests we’re in more serious trouble than we may have previously thought. We are best represented by a junkie who walks around naked with nothing but a sock over his knob. Yeah, I know, he’s moved on: I’ve seen his mature work.
So, as Kerouac suffers at the hands of Ruscha, so must Ruscha suffer the indignity of Kiedis’s seal of mediocrity. This addiction-flaunting braggart (bragging about art) is exactly the kind of ambassador the art world doesn’t need. In an accompanying three-minute video Kiedis and Ruscha drive around LA together (you get the idea), rhapsodizing about the city that has been so appreciative of their qualities. While Ruscha mumbles graciously, Kiedis, the celebrated wordsmith, discusses his special relationship with language: “I definitely relate deeply to the idea of words being art. When I see somebody else who’s got such a connection with words, I instantly feel connected to that person.” (Especially, one suspects, if that other person is famous.) It would be easy to point out the numerous solecisms contained in those two sentences, but why be petty? I have nothing against the guy, I just don’t like the look (or sound) of him. And surely by now enough people can recognize a Ruscha or a Baldessari (who receives similar treatment from the almost-as- irritating Jason Schwartzman) without the aid of some smug celebrity striking poses in front of their work, which seems to imply that LA art can’t quite make it on its own without the imprimatur of its Hollywood adjunct.