Larry Gagosian and Damien Hirst

Is that Larry Gagosian in Tom Wolfe's new book?

Back To Blood uses Art Basel Miami Beach as the backdrop to a tale of excess in the art world

Working our way through Tom Wolfe's new Miami-set novel Back To Blood with its colourful cast of body-builders, art-collectors, porn-addicts, and oligarchs squirming together under the Miami sun, we couldn't help but notice a character familiar to readers. Could that possibly be Larry Gagosian who Wolfe is referencing in the "ghostly and sinister" art dealer Harry Goshen? Certainly the pronunciation of the name couldn't be just coincidence. . . 

Back to Blood uses the annual Art Basel Miami Beach Fair as the backdrop for Wolfe's subplot of excess and vulgarity in the art world. The Bonfire Of The Vanities writer has become somewhat of a staple at Art Basel Miami in recent years, with the publication of the book it's apparent why. Back To Blood is positively stuffed with composites of art world characters - some well drawn, some not so well drawn. 


Author Tom Wolfe
Author Tom Wolfe

In one section of the book the art works described are uncomfortably close to those by Jeff Koons and pornstar ex-wife La Cicciolina's Made In Heaven series of paintings, sculptures and glassworks.  In another section an art advisor gives his billionaire client, Maurice Fleischmann, the lowdown on a supposedly new contemporary art movement.

“He had no hand in making them at all, and if he touched the photographs it was just to put them in an envelope and FedEx them to Dalique, although I’m sure he has an assistant to do things like that. No Hands - that’s an important concept now… And there you’ve got the very best, the most contemporary work of the whole rising generation.” Wonder who he's talking about. . .