In the hip circles of downtown New York, we know the phenomenon well: a friend or club acquaintance suddenly gets a big break and then, well, just disappears. Gallery 98 got this cartoon by celebrity journalist Anthony Haden-Guest in the best possible way: an auction of art by celebrities from the estate of downtown party-promoter Baird Jones (1955–2008)—the son of Cranston Jones, a founder of the ultimate celebrity bible, People magazine. Baird used his massive collection of celebrity art as bait to lure people to his club events.
To be honest, the auction, held last year, was a bit of a bust: an indication of the short life of fame. Who really needs a work of art by Jack Kevorkian, Jeff Bridges, or murderer Richard Ramirez? Gallery 98 was happy, though, with its purchases: works by Miles Davis, Leni Riefenstahl, Dee Dee Ramone, Stephen Sprouse, William Burroughs, and this tiny masterpiece by Anthony Haden-Guest, who is still going strong.
Haden-Guest came to New York in the 1970s, lured here by New York magazine founding editor Clay Felker to cover the follies and scandals of the city’s upper crust. We remember him best for his cover story in the issue of June 24, 1985, about high-end art dealer Andrew Crispo and the discovery of a charred corpse in a black leather S&M mask. But Anthony has always had another side to his creativity: as a student at Cambridge, he published cartoons before his writing, and, in the ’60s, he had a weekly cartoon in the Sunday Telegraph. He even has published two books of his cartoons: The Chronicles of Now (2002) and In the Mean Time (2010).
While Anthony continues to write, his cartoons have become more and more of a focus. Earlier this year, they were transferred into neon and shown at Anderson Contemporary in New York. The cartoons and neons will be shown this fall at Manolis Projects as part of Art Basel Miami.