Thanks to a link in one of the New Yorker's Letter from the Archive columns, I've been slowly digesting Janet Malcolm's 1986 article on Artforum and its editor, Ingrid Sischy (part one and part two), which pans out into an exploration of the concerns and personalities of the American artworld in the 1980s.
It's a slow and very enjoyable read, for reasons like these:
John Coplan's loft, on Cedar Street, has the look of a place inhabited by a man who no longer lives with a woman.
... every year he and his wife would drive down to Las Vegas, and he would take maybe a hundred dollars and gamble as long as the money lasted. The he would come home; he had purged himself of frivolity for the year.
(the phonetic spellings that leap off the pages of the transcript - "Grancoozi," "Saint Gordons," "DeSuveral," "DeEppilo," "Modelwell," "Manwhole" - testify to the gap that exists between the ordinary literate American and the tiny group of people who are the advanced art public)
I once watched Sischy chop tomatoes. She took a small paring knife and, in the most inefficient manner imaginable, with agonizing slowness, proceeded to fill a bowl, tiny piece by tiny piece, with chopped tomatoes.
She is less afraid than anyone I have ever met of expending energy unnecessarily.