Qvis cvstodiet ipses cvstodes? We do.

The New Yorker tells us why the East Village is dying by degrees: Artistic branding-by-suffering.

Fishbowl gives a nod to Roman satirist and man-about-town Juvenal, who knew the value of critiquing the critics before they carted him off into exile and a quick death, and proceeds, without further ado, by applauding Peter Schjeldahl for not inhaling the pixie dust sprinkled by the “East Village USA” exhib at the New Museum. Lead on, Pete:


In the newly Los Angelized city of New York, where waiters from nearby French brasseries throw a damask napkin on your lap if you’re just sitting down near Tompkins Square before charging you $10 for the privilege, you might not remember that there was a thing called the 1980s.

During this time, NYPD blues swept the area where only pimps, the Hell’s Angels, and patrons of the Pyramid Club ever went East of 2nd Ave. Schjeldahl visits the exhibit dedicated to this time with a jaundiced eye, thank Basquiat. “Most of the paintings in the show are terrible,” he says, “ranging from the truculent clutter of David Wojnarowitz, to the hysterical giggles of Kenny Scharf, whose maladroit cartooning no longer surprises.” Take that, boys.

Schjeldahl then nails the atmosphere, which, fueled by the Harings and the Koons’s, died almost on arrival and was put six feet under by the death of Andy Warhol. He then identifies the very thing that makes it possible for French bistros to be present where punkers roamed to begin with: The selling of the East Village as an artistic brand name sure to bring pleated pants from higher zip codes that have lower artistic standards, but lots of cash.