me in the piazza

I'm a writer, publishing both as SJ Rozan and, with Carlos Dews, as Sam Cabot. (I'm Sam, he's Cabot.) Here you can find links to my almost-daily blog posts, including the Saturday haiku I've been doing for years. BUT the blog itself has moved to my website. If you go on over there you can subscribe and you'll never miss a post. (Miss a post! A scary thought!) Also, I'll be teaching a writing workshop in Italy this summer -- come join us!
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Asia Week

This is for all you Asian Art geeks, or any geek at all who likes geekness in all its forms. It's Asia Week in New York. This means two big armory shows (one no longer at an armory, but close enough for jazz), Asian emphases at most museums and a lot of galleries, and big auctions at Christie's and Sotheby's. So, in my Getty-heir duds (delicate balance: you gotta look as though you can afford this stuff but you're so rich you don't care whether or not anyone thinks you can afford this stuff) I've been making the rounds. You learn a lot this way if you ask questions; most dealers are happy to talk, and the gallery assistants at the auction houses, though snobs to their bones, are afraid not to, in case you really are Somebody With Money.

Having confessed to a fondness for the prints of Hasui, I was invited to sit at a booth and look through a portfolio of two dozen of them that just came on the market. The ebullient gallery owner, with nothing else to do right then, gave me a lesson on paper and ink. I saw brand-new terra cotta warriors in army camouflage, an antique Japanese fireman's coat (heavy canvas which they doused in water before the wearer got near the fire), a set of bronze opium weights in graduated sizes. I got excited over the work of contemporary Chinese photographer Tie Ying; none of his work visible on the web has anything near the power of the real thing, but if you get a chance to see his stuff, run don't walk. (This is the man who, when asked in an interview whether the superhot international market in Asian artists was affecting the nature of his work, thought for a minute and then said, "Rich is rich. Art is art.") Sotheby's was auctioning contemporary Chinese painting, most of which I disliked but which is skyrocketing in value; Christie's had ceramics and a large collection of textiles. Those of you worrying about the economy, take note, because I think this isn't a good sign: every lot at Christie's that intrigued me sold for above, or way above, its estimate. That says to me people don't know where to put their money, and they think art's safer than stocks and bonds.

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