A red dot stipulated the hype long before the steel trays with gourmet lobster rolls had reached the back of the area. Circular stickers claimed ownership over the rectangular bursts of climactic creativity. The cater-waiters could hardly crawl through the dense crowd with their fashionable hors d’oeuvres and in their stationary positions were forced to listen to the ubiquitous pretense.
“It reminds me of Nevinson’s Marching Men. There’s a striking sense of movement in the liquefied angularity.” “And what about the composition? Nadia is a master at composition.” “I just can’t get over that ochre. Just look at that óchre.” Three arbitrary millennials who had been following Nadia on Instagram for months now – and knew they needed to be present at her show – each stood with one crossed arm as they circled their drinks with the other. They stretched their necks to get a glimpse of the genius that was making her rounds. Her left hand swung with a perpetual refill of Veuve Clicquot. Only an artist of Nadia’s caliber and with her number of followers could get away with the opulence of grand gestures in a congested downtown art-gallery.
Her go-to phrases “so great to see you” and “how good of you to come” were subliminally instructing the guests to “buy more. Buy it all!” She worked the room well, but it really wasn’t necessary. The red dots decorated the room and it hadn’t even been more than an hour. It went down exactly like Nadia had expected. The only reason for her to be in this game was to be successful.
Halfway in her turn from one buyer to the next she stopped. One of the paintings locked eyes with her. An oblong portrait of a young woman fiercely stared her down, and for a moment Nadia forgot where she was. A shudder went through the athletic body that her personal trainer and dietitian had sculpted for her. The moment passed quickly, and she switched back into hostess mode in an instant. “Thank you so much for coming!”
The dull evening ended in another sold-out show, which Nadia celebrated with a cold juice press and an Uber home that cost as much as most monthly utilities bills. The chip on her keychain opened the door and she walked into the pre-programmed afterparty lighting scheme that was soft on her overexerted retinas. After kicking off her Louboutins, she immediately went upstairs. The brownstone was much too big for her single-person household but she felt she had made use of the space well. On the second floor, third door on the right, just after the second guestroom, she entered her spare atelier. The red hue that filled the dark room indicated that it had turned itself off. “Muse, activate.” Upon registering Nadia’s voice-command, the light turned blue and a wired, metal device extended a paintbrush to a blank canvas and started filling it with Vorticist strokes.
Nadia picked up some pages that were drying in the corner and scanned the surfaces. “This won’t work,” she thought, before saying “Muse, alternate.” Muse turned away from the canvas it was working on and refreshed its code. Colored strokes followed from left to right, and the complication of expression was simulated on the flat support.
Five minutes later, Muse indicated with a short jingle that the painting was finished, and Nadia looked up from her feed. She raised her Samsung and snapped a picture.