Preface: The following are a series of photocopies of letters discovered folded between two pages of the Jenny Saville book in the Art and Architecture library. As a card-carrying artist and lover of aesthetic forms, I only felt it my duty to publish this, the letters of Christian Sutre, Yale Art Student, to a Ms. Mina.
September 10th, 2002
Graduate school is sooo nice! I’m having such a good time! It was nice to get out of Williamsburg for a while — Yale art students are sooo much more expatriate. Besides, I’m meeting so many super-hip people! Like Mishka, who spent four years as a Stereolab groupie! She totally followed them all around Europe and then one night in Frankfurt, when she was sleeping outside their tour bus, the door opened. It was Laetitia taking out the trash, and then she totally offered it to Mishka. And there were all of these Oreo cookies inside, but Stereolab had already eaten all the cream. So French!
Oh, and then there’s Jimmy. He’s a super-babe. Two years ago he had this realization that matter was nothingness and so nothingness must be matter! It’s like super deep. Sometimes I sit down and try to think about it but then all the blood rushes to my head and my nose ring starts getting agitated. But he’s, like, super philosophical. He makes “conceptual” paintings where he paints a shadow on a wall, like the shadow a canvas would make on the wall. But that’s all! Because nothingness is matter — that’s the point I guess.
Oh, gotta run! I’ve got a crit with Francis at 4. Bye hun. Hugs + kisses. I’ll see you soon for the Electroclash festival (God, how is Luxx getting on without me?) Sigh. I’ll listen to some Miss Kitten and yearn for you.
Mod to the max,
September 29th, 2002
Things are going sooo well. The other night Tommy was having a Jacques Demy tribute party, and Young Girls of Rochefort was projected on the wall and everyone did the dance numbers! It was sooo fun. I was Catherine Deneuve and Jimmy was Gene Kelly (can you believe he sings in French in the film?). It was really super-fun, but pretty tiring actually. I mean, the whole week before, Tommy made us rehearse every night for six hours! We had to learn so much choreography! But it was so worth it. At the end of the night, Jimmy and I started making out hardcore and Tommy came over in a fit (he was playing Solange, my sister), and screamed “This is not how it goes in the movie! Catherine gets the sailor and I get Gene Kelly!” But Jimmy totally wasn’t into that idea. Tommy’s nice, but a bit greasy.
Anyways, after that hot night Jimmy and I totally got together. We’re like this uber-power couple. We walk into the pit for an interdisciplinary crit and all heads turn. We’re that hot.
This is all I’ve ever wanted, Mina. I feel alive, I feel free. He’s my Gene and I’m his Catherine. What can I say? I’m in love and I love it!
Write back soon, darling.
October 17th, 2002
Today was an important day. Last week was so difficult, and I’m so happy we were able to chat on the phone for a bit, but of course it wasn’t enough. This pain that I feel is so strong, and I realized at some point last week that it was trying to tell me something. It spoke to me, it really did. It said, “Christian Sutre, I am the pain within you. You’re hurting, but don’t forget about the art –“
That was it! I hadn’t been dealing with my pain on an artistic level, I had been lying to my art! And that’s a big deal, Mina, because if I can’t be honest with my painting, how am I going to be honest with my friends and lovers?
Anyways, I found it. I found my painting. It was on a street by some train tracks — there was some broken glass on the ground (sooo authentic New Haven! You can’t find real broken glass like this in Williamsburg!) and there were these small plants all around it. It was my pain, it was my life! I ran home immediately and scheduled group-crit time and the next day Peter Halley, Francis, ol’ pops Mel, and my buds (Mishka, Lana, Tommy, Genevieve, and Aido) processed out to the site. I began to tear up as I stood before them (it was such a beautiful moment), and I said:
“This is a painting I made. I mean, I know it may look just like some junk that was here already, but really it’s my painting. It’s all about me, because, like, I don’t know if you all already know this, but last week I broke up with Jimmy and it was really hard on me, and I realized this week that I wasn’t really accepting the pain. And when I came to that realization I began to heal. So this is about that. The broken glass is the pain that Jimmy caused me, but look! These plants are growing up all around it! It’s the new hope breaking through! I mean, I know they’re going to die soon because it’s the fall and all, but snow’s all about rebirth as well, you know?”
At this point Mishka began nuzzling her head against Tommy’s shoulder (it was sooo cute) and everyone was silent. All of a sudden Aido let out a “You go girl!” and everyone began cheering. It was super great. It was, like, life-changing. And I really mean it, Mina. I really think I’m going to be able to move on now. I’m starting to work on these new paintings that are done only in bean paste (it’s a comment on third-world working conditions, which I’m super concerned about), and I really feel like this is the beginning of the new, strong, socially-conscious Christian Sutre. Oh, I’m so excited to see you for break! We’ll do 24th St. and talk it up.
All my love,
Tyler Coburn is now officially changing his columnist name to T.S. Coburn. Because it’s sooo much more expatriate.