Yesterday’s Man Today

In Court Painter World, every day is the day before yesterday


When it comes to Court Painter — and his trickle-down moods that drive his studio and Calgary art politics — February 2018 is no different than February 2017: he’s still stuck on the exact same internal fights about his reputation, the same complaints about his studio staff, the same obsessive gripes about media coverage and the simmering feud with his nemesis ; artist CC (name available upon request).

The big picture: The episodic drama is almost impossible to cover accurately, because the views reflected in the art press and gossip mill often depend partly on which characters in the drama are most aggrieved at the moment, and which faction they belong to. Remember that Court Painter thinks of each day as a new episode in a sprawling masterpiece, with him as the star painter, master visionary, chic magnet and critic all rolled into one.
 chic magnet
Here's a perfect example: Studio aides privately admit they have no earthly idea what Court Painter will paint next — whether it be dead vegetation, flashy fashion models, pontificating politicians or washed up celebrity personages .

However the most importantly question is the fate of his Press Attache A Hardon MacKay.

Some of his staff are convinced the Press Attache is on thin ice. A source close to Court Painter let it be known: “Court Painter is displeased — with a capital D — with how his studio is functioning right now."
  • But here's a scoop: Missy Mayhem (rumoured to be AHM's main squeeze) genuinely supports AHM and for now,likes him a lot and mistakenly thinks he's a pro. AHM has been wise to cultivate her and to make sure he includes her in locker room talk with his buddies and factors her schedule into media events where eye candy is desperately needed.
So will AHM go? Sure — sometime. But the apparent imminence of his departure depends completely on which part of the studio cast you're consulting, and what Court Painter's whim was in his most recent conversations at the Ship & Anchor pub.
  • Court Painter is reportedly asking people's opinions about AHM, and about possible successors
  • Court Painter is privately asking bar buddies and studio staff about AHM: “What’s up with this guy? He can’t get along with anybody?”
  • Court Painter was stomping around the studio last weekend, informally polling his overworked studio crew on AHM. He’d got it in his head that nobody in the studio liked him. But he’s heard some more positive opinions about AHM in the past few days, including from Missy Mayhem.
  • One thing is certain: The mystique that initially surrounded AHM has worn off.
  • Court Painter would love nothing more than if a prospect for Press Attache like A Girl Named Robin would beg for the job. That would make it easier to transition — he could say “make it happen,” hire her on his terms and outsource the removal of AHM. But she won’t beg because she's too big for her britches. So it’s a standoff with no obvious end in sight.
  • We have no idea who’d replace AHM. And from what we can tell, AHM hasn’t done a ton of succession planning. Some studio aides feel the place is unraveling, that they can't trust truth & beauty anymore, that they don't know what's going on, that there's no path upward to inclusion in one of the dozens of Biennials or a short review in Canadian Art.But you know what? That was as true in February 2017 as in 2018 and in the frenzied weeks after the day before yesterday or in the day after tomorrow.However in Court Painter's world, every day is the day before yesterday.