Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) Movie Script

There's obviously a mistake.
We were notifiedthe passes
would be waiting in our names.
I'm sorry, but that's incorrect.
- Morf Vandewalt, Artweb.
- No. It's today...
Hey, Morf.
Okay, I wanna speak
to someone in charge, please.
- Lovely to see you again.
- This is ridiculous.
We boughtShogrun's Ultraworld
last month in New York.
Have you ever felt invisible?
Once, I built a railroad.
- There he is. Morf.
- Cloudio.
It's Kenji, you probably know.
It's titled Hoboman.
The response is amazing.
- Arguably, the hit of the show.
- Hmm.
Wolfson, Female Figure, four years ago.
No, it's new.
Vastly different themes.
It's an iteration.
No originality. No courage.
My opinion.
Well, I absolutely respect
the powerof your point of view,
but this encompasses on a global scale.
There's just such a sense of now
and in your face,
which speaks to pop and cinema
and economics.
I mean, you can feel the winds
of the apocalypse.
I can't save you.
We have a four-million-dollar hold,
a major buyer in Shanghai.
Will you be running your review today?
- Hey.
- Do you have a minute?
No, I'm just heading inside now.
- I have to tell you something about Ricky.
- What?
- Josephina, he's cheating on you.
- Are you serious?
- I saw him with this girl.
- When?
Last night at a bar.
- What?
- They were both pretty drunk.
- Wha... What time?
- I don't know. Ten?
- They were all over each other.
- Right at the fucking bar.
- I'm so sorry, Josephina.
- Are you sure it was him?
They were standing right next to me.
I gotta go.
- Anything I can do?
- No.
Uh, thank you, seriously. Bye.
- Howzit, Morf?
- Hello, Jon.
Really something, eh?
Is Piers sleeping with Dorothy?
Oh, I'm certain
you'd have to ask him that.
Excuse me.
- Morf, love.
- Oh, Gretchen.
We bid on it for the museum.
Jon wants three point seven.
Rhodora would never
sell a Piersfor under five,
so it's a nice opportunity for us.
I'm quite curious to know what you think.
I think sober hasn't been good for him.
Well, this was done fifteen years ago.
Piers was in the full bloom
of alcoholism here.
So, you're saying it is a good buy
for the museum, then?
Excuse me.
Are you okay?
Literally, the worst fucking day.
Ugh, your makeup.
God, I'm late.
They texted, like, twenty times.
I'm headed there, too.
God, fucking people.
- Who?
- Everyone.
Is Piers switching galleries?
I answer phones and get coffee.
I'd literally be, like, the last to know.
You're too late.
Rhodora already got her coffee.
Are you where you wanna be?
I'm not taking shit from the installer.
What did you think?
I haven't felt that in years.
- Morf is here.
- Oh, thank you.Excuse me.
Color. Life.
I love it.
I'm sick of white spaces.
That is so strange.
I've been drawn to a bolder boothpresence
in terms of work and palette lately.
Mm-hmm. This adherence to showing
in sterile,monochrome cubes.
It's just laziness.
I wanted to get some juxtaposition going.
I'm actually, I mean right now,
writing something exactly about this.
- This wasn't in the catalog.
- Mm-mm.
It's Minkins.
It's called Sphere.
It creates this unique sensation,
depending on each person
and whatever hole they decide to explore.
Just like life.
It uses all sorts of sensors and gizmos.
It's about choice,desire, sex.
The whole enchilada.
- It's groundbreaking.
- Hmm, it's yours to break.
Debuted ten minutes ago.
I'm posting a review. How much is it?
So much easier to talk about
money than art.
Speaking of, is Piers leaving you
for Jon Dondon?
I've represented Piers
for seventeen years.
That's not an answer.
Well, why don't you put your hand in?
See what you feel.
- It's just not worth my investment.
- You're mistaken.
This is gonna bean uncommon
event experience,
not to mention the tax incentive.
- Is there water in Miami?
- At the bar, sir.
- I don't know.
- Fuck.
I can guarantee your position
as co-chair... Oh, excuse me.
I was floating in the ocean,
and, for this incredible moment,
it felt like I had tapped into
a primal consciousness.
A connection to the world
in its purest form.
Ricky's still denying it.
"Please, baby,let me explain."
I swear to God, I want to hurt him.
Maybe it will free you up for new things.
This was a new thing. He'd just moved in.
I have to say, I'm having my own
major second thoughts about Ed.
He actually has some fantasy
about us getting married.
I'm through dating artists.
They're already in a relationship.
Look, Damrish,
your website doesn't give
a sense of scale or texture.
But seeing your work in person
at the new-artists fair,
I had that "Oh, my God" moment.
It charges and mauls and devours.
Six months ago,
I was livingon the street,
showing on the sidewalk.
So, that's where I'm coming from, right?
Let me fill you in.
All this... it's just a safari to hunt
the next new thing and eat it.
I heard you were the one to watch out for.
Oh, I'm easy-peasy.
Pussycat, really.
I know all about you,
going back to your punk days.
Oof, that was many moons ago.
- Velvet Buzzsaw.
- Yeah, well, the name was catchy.
Yeah, the early stuff was great.
Then it became, what? Like, self-parody?
I mean, after Polly left,
why'd you split up?
Who remembers through
all the booze and pills.
But the point is,
I've gone from anarchist
to purveyor of good taste.
So, I get the joke.
None of this is new.
It's all been done since
someone charged a bone
to see the first cave painting.
Here you are.
So... Thank you.
What cave are you showing in?
Me and my dudes started a collective.
Mmm. Well, cheers to that.
Well, hell knows, I love loyalty,
but I would kill to exhibit you.
I just turned down an offer
for a full show from Jon Dondon.
Ugh. And on and on.
He's inside right now
trying to poach Piers.
You know where I am, Damrish?
I'm here doing shots with you.
Club soda. Lime.
The market always tiers up for you, Piers.
Listen, my intolerance
for your bullshit is zero.
Lekker, no bullshit.
Look, Rhodora overpriced you.
She's lost it.
She's completely out of touch.
I sold Cranial today
for three point seven,
exactly what I said I'd get.
If you come with me,
our gallery has cutting-edge analytics
to maximize deal flow and global demand.
I am fighting to get back to creation,
to revelation, the billion years of energy
sparking through our brain.
I'm not jetting around,
hawking fucking tickets.
In an attention economy,
celebrity is art form.
Do you understand
that I only commission new work?
Repros, prints,replicas are all marketed
under my own brand.
My boet, I'm more than ecstatic to partner
you exclusively on your future work.
I hear Rhodora sold Sphere
for seven million.
Ugh. Man, it's a carnival attraction.
It's brilliant.
I never should've quit drinking.
Are you going to SLS?
I'm going to a satellite show
outside of town.
Well, I'll come.
What's going on with you?
What do you mean?
You're Morf fucking Vandewalt.
What are you doing
coming to a grant show with me?
I like being with you.
We have a taste relationship.
Is that tobacco?
Hash oil.
Maybe I'll have one little puff.
Okay, that was the worst show
I've seen in years.
- And who was that angry guy when we left?
- You don't know?
That was Imeldus Vanderhorst.
You panned him last year.
Grab two Tito's from the fridge.
You know,
you're in much better shape than Ricky.
I... do a lot of Pilates and Peloton.
I remember your body.
I remember yours.
Ever since Berlin, I find myself
thinking all the time about you.
We were wasted.
I keep telling myself that.
Your skin.
It's the most beautiful cross
between almond and saddle brown.
I make you hard, huh?
You make me confused.
Tough headspace for a critic.
Got back to LA late last night
and looked at the numbers.
My God.
Aside from the peachy Minkins sale,
Miami was really
not a very great thriving market.
Brass tacks, we didn't move one Rubek.
I know the London office
has a hard-on for him, but to my mind,
the last thing we need to waste time on
is trying to flog some pop-art revival.
Fuck me.
"Star of the Nova section
was Mertilla Splude's Go-Pro Kindergarten,
an inspired disquisition
of early-age experience."
Well, get inspired
and come join me in the pool.
Is he all right?
Call 911.
Who's supposed to be here?
Josephina. She's late... again.
You, Rococo.
Take the reception desk.
It's... It's Coco, actually. Um...
Haze Gallery. Can I help you?
Hang up, right?
Yeah, rich people are impatient.
I'm really an artist, you know?
I did, um, Bandini's Froot Loop Hippo,
you know that?
And I glued on all the Froot Loops.
It's at The Broad right now.
Not broad.
People confuse it with Broad.
- Broad, brode, yeah.
- Right.
But I can get us tickets if you want.
They know me there.
- When did you get back?
- Last night.
I have solid confirmation
Piers has left you for Jon Dondon.
I'm going to get bored now.
This feels huge to me.
Why would he leave?
Why, why why. Why anything?
Maybe I wanted him to leave.
Meanwhile, I'm signing new talent.
Heard you got Damrish. He's fierce.
And this morning, Mertilla Splude.
We are on the same frequency, I swear.
- Go-Pro Kindergarten's gonna break big.
- Your lips, God's ear.
Oh, wait. In our world, you are God.
And I'm running late. Gotta go.
I'm sorry.
Some random guy just, like,
died in my building.
I really am so surprised.
Rhodora, I'm not kidding.
A neighbor actually died.
I found the body.
Bryson keeps me up to speed
on everythingthat goes on around here.
Your chronic lateness...
Bryson's pissed because...
he came on to me
and I shut him down.
He's a flat-out creeper.
Well, I can say the interest
I had in you has waned.
I thought I was grooming a protg.
All our long talks about your struggles
and grand ambitions.
And then you insult my intelligent mind.
I'm moving you off the front.
No client contact until you raise
the quality bar in your performance.
- Morning.
- Good morning.
Do we have Berlin?
Singapore? London? Oh, we do.
So, I have two new favorite artists
I am all kinds of happy to tell you about.
I'm from Perlack.
We own the building.
Did you know him?
The guy who died?
Some sorta artist, I guess.
I found his body.
He liked his privacy.
- He had a cat.
- It's up there. We'll find it tomorrow.
Jesus, the stuff inside...
And it all gets tossed.
The old man wanted everything thrown away.
No trace, his instructions.
Looks like he started to do it himself,
but he died
before he could finish the job.
Well, good night.
Hey, kitty, kitty.
Hey, little guy.
Ah, so glad you called.
I'd hug, but I'm all sweaty.
Love the jumper.
Cornsilk's a great color for you.
Miami was a revelation.
Let me just start with that.
I don't know where I amwith anything else
in my life,other than that I feel...
good with you.
So much better, and beyond good.
I found something.
That's what I'm saying.
Who did these?
What do you think of them?
They're visionary.
Mesmeric. An absolute incredible...
mix of mediums.
I'm ensorcelled.
- Do you think there's a market for it?
- Massive.
Who represents them?
I do.
I'm dying with suspense.
Who is it?
Tonight's jackpot is 400 million dollars.
To win that jackpot,
you must match these five white balls.
The first winning number tonightis 54.
That's followed by 32.
Up next we have 52.
Your next number is 34.
Your final white ball
for this Friday evening is 25.
If no one matches the five numbers...
It just seemed edgier at the Biennale.
Oh, is this the exact lighting?
I think so.
Okay, well, go check the specs.
I run the collective Damrish belongs to.
Oh. I didn'tthink
collectives had people in charge.
Doesn't that defeat the whole purpose?
I represent him.
Used to.
We're building somethingaway
from all this commercial bullshit.
It's not just about the fucking money.
Stealing Damrish away would end us.
Okay. Well, you know what?
He's not a child.
It's his choice, not mine.
- You think this is done?
- Back the fuck up!
I tried to stop him.
Okay, well, you failed.
- It will... never happen again.
- Go!
Coco! Didn't you tell me
you wanted to get a cat?
can we talk about it later?
- What the fuck do you think you're doing?
- What is this? Who is this?
That was under my desk.
I was looking for tape and I saw this.
- This is harassment.
- Tell me who the artist is.
- What the fuck is wrong with you?
- I do more than maintenance and packing.
I'm not just a man of primitive skills.
This shit... talks to me.
Hey, you.
I heard you were coming by.
I'm reviewing your Purlfoy exhibit.
Oh, be kind.
Our membership is plummeting.
Tell me something. Have you ever heard
of an artist namedVetril Dease?
Can you check?
No. Not in our records,
and we have everyone.
Morf, honey, I, uh...
- I need to bend your ear.
- Mmm?
I am leaving to become an art adviser.
I know, I know.
I can't say for whom.
But I will be making enough to afford
a terribly lovely car and garden.
Oh, hello, Morf.
Hello, Jim.
Look, I came to the museum
because I wanted to change
the world through art.
But the wealthy vacuum up everything,
except crumbs.
The best work is only enjoyed
by a tiny few.
And they buy what they're told.
So, why not join the party?
Mmm. It's everywhere, the money question.
In advance of my move, I am...
actively looking for purchases
for my new client.
You might be interested to know
that I can provide to you a generous,
untraceable reward for anything
you steer meto in the realm of
undervalued, pre-review, perhaps.
I don't do that.
What's your arrangement with Rhodora?
Then her buys prior toyour favorable
reviews are utterly prescient?
This is my life.
How I connect withsome sort
of spirituality at actual present.
Mm-hmm, of course.
I assess out of adoration.
I further the realm I analyze.
Forgive me, I...
Hey. What's going on?
You tell me.
What are you doing here?
Hell's bells.
- Incredible.
- I'm going to have to ask you to leave.
Not if you had a gun.
It's none of your business.
Oh, actually it is.
You signed a non-compete clause,
which, if you read, you might remember is
very muchquite a lot broader than that.
Tell me all about Vetril Dease.
His name is the tinsel on the tree.
Don't make mepull
some sort of heavy interrogation.
Right now, it's just you and me,
with all our active friendship
and love for each other.
Now, how did you get all of these?
A guy upstairs. He died.
And you just took them?
He had no family or friends.
Well, I won't bother
with the obviousquestions,
but, oh, you must have some giant plans.
I invented do-it-yourself.
And you're in way over your head, babe.
You have to archive and catalog
and establish ownership.
And monetize.
I'm willing to do all of that
for... a reasonable percentage.
You can engage me
in an endless lawsuit, or...
you can become rich
and famousand successful.
Which is what we both know
you've always wanted.
We can claim the property was abandoned
if she says she found it in the dumpster.
- And took steps to find a rightful owner.
- Well, first reports are he had no heirs.
She's just a tenant.
Could the building owner make a claim?
The salvage guy said
that they were junking everything.
I mean, it took hours to carry it all down
into my apartment.
There was just so much of it.
No, you found the art in the trash,
not in his apartment.
This is very important.
Now, remembering back,
you found it in the dumpster.
Isn't that what happened?
The dumpster.
Yeah, I remember now.
Critique is so limiting
and emotionally draining.
I've always wanted to do something
long-form, beyond opinion.
Dip my toeinto an exploration
of originand essence.
A metamorphosis of spirit into reality.
I've... I've never had the vehicle
until now.
An artist toiling in the recesses,
discovered in death.
I wanna start researching immediately.
Well, there's timing.Meshingwith
our extensive marketing plans,
which we haven't gotten to yet.
Well, I'm willing to write
the exhibit brochure.
That will giveimmediate weight
to the launch.
And in return,
I want exclusive rightsto a book
and several pieces.
Well, that sounds swell.
Hi, Rhodora.
Well, I'm archiving his material,
then running spectrums on his paint.
And it's the damnedest thing.
I don't even know how to account for it.
I couldn't hazard a guess.
Haze Gallery, please hold.
Haze Gallery, please hold.
Haze Gallery, please hold.
Yes, Josephina's unavailable right now,
but I can take a message.
Okay, please hold.
Haze Gallery.
Uh, yes. Rhodora is aware of the meeting,
but she's on a call right now.
You're positive it's the same Dease?
- Yeah.
- Well, how can you be sure?
I visited the institution.
I found his records.
- Dear God.
- I wouldn't worry.
The file's so old, there's no backup.
I took the only copy.
Okay, send it over.
And wash your hands of it.
- And add a zero to your bill.
- Thanks.
Vetril Dease first appears
in a 1930Los Angeles census,
living in a low-income homewith
his father, mother and younger sister.
Nine years later,
Vetril is listed with his father
as the only survivors of a suspicious fire
which swept their house.
Shortly after the fire,
Vetril's named in a court document.
Citing cruelty
beyond the bounds of humanity,
child protection services remove Vetril
from his abusive father
and place himinthe Good Templars
Orphanage in South Vallejo.
His time there is a mystery,
the only recordbeing his departure at 18.
But the real mystery is what follows.
Dease disappears for three decades,
vanishing like a ghost.
He suddenly resurfaces on the payroll
of the Sawtelle veterans administration,
where he was employed as a janitor
for 42 years.
Dease lived alone and isolated,
using his artto dive deep
into his own psyche.
The artist battled for decades
with his personal demons.
The result is an epic saga
of violence and madness.
A howl for answers
and a resolution that never comes.
My ex-boyfriend,Ricky,
has an exhibition Friday.
He's a hack.
A bearded, downtown poser.
You know, he hasn't had, like,
an original idea in his whole life.
On top of which, he steals from everyone.
But you know that, right?
I'm very familiar with his work.
You should go to his show,
see for yourself how much he sucks.
- Then do what you do.
- Are you serious?
For me.
Hello, Morf.
Is it contemporary?
It cuts through the bullshit
and gives form to true emotion.
- What does it say?
- What do you feel?
They're using tech in a whole new way.
The idea is aiming for a platform
that includes all media.
Everything's interruptive now.
He came from nowhere, knew no one,
and if our industrious Josephina here
hadn't been so observant,
his genius work would've been thrown away.
And, um, he would've been
consigned to oblivion.
I spotted it by a streetlight
over a dumpster.
how many pieces are there?
Well, unfortunately,
Mr. Dease's outputwas the opposite
from what one would call prolific.
And he's certainly not making any more.
There's one we're very interested in.
Well, just knowdemand
has people ready to kill.
Before the sublime,
the whole body quivers.
Mm-hmm. Well, at these prices,
your museum's locked out.
Well, I just yesterday left the museum,
so I can speak freely now.
- I'm an adviser for a private buyer.
- Whom?
Our friend who bought Sphere.
Well, how hilarious for you.
In that capacity,
I do have my eye onseveral
of thelarge-format product for him.
Mmm. Well, the sales staff
have beenbusy beavers.
Everything's on reserve.
Perhaps we'd pay a premium.
- That doesn't butter the biscuit.
- Well, what the fuck would?
I'll sell you two Dease
if you buy three pieces
at Damrish's opening next month.
What if my client
doesn't respond to Damrish?
Well, you're the adviser. Advise.
Next month, it's your show.
I gotta... I gotta go.
Isn't it exhilarating
to see something substantial?
I mean, other than celebrity
tattoo artists and
balloons for painting tools.
I'm writing a book about him.
I just loathed your Ricky Blane
review yesterday.
I thought his show was inspired.
Well, I didn't get it, I suppose.
I felt that we saw
totally different exhibits.
Mmm. A bad review is better than
sinking intothe great glut of anonymity.
Was that a joke?
Not that I'm aware of.
Ricky got drunk
and crashed his car last night.
He's in coma.
I heard he was crushed.
By the car?
Your review.Arschloch.
What do you mean, Bryson's
moving some of the art to storage?
Well, if De Beers released
all their diamonds,
they'd be cheap as cut glass.
Didn't they teach
any of this in art school?
How many are we saying he made?
Well, their value's their scarcity,
so it's not what we say. It's the reality.
The reality is we have over
one thousand pieces stored upstairs.
Well, that's nonsense.
Why, I doubt if it's even
half that number.
What have you done?
Removed them from circulation.
Locking them away for a rainy day.
Fuck! Fuck!
Oh! Shit. Shit!
Oh, shit.
Howzit? It's Dondon.
{Piers] Easy, boy. Not yet.
Studio visit. I'm excited.
I can't stomach cheery or upbeat.
I'm not an idiot. Remember that.
Hey, I'm honored
to beyour new representative
and see what you've been up to.
I just bet you are.
So, this is where the magic happens?
Is that a joke?
This is repros and replicas.
Studio's upstairs.
Rupert, up.
This is remarkable.
It's not art.
Well, I...
I'm just soaking it in.
It's thrilling to see a work in progress.
Just give me an honest goddamn opinion
about what you're looking at.
I can see a line
with your body of work.So...
So, I'm copying myself?
It's not copying if it's your canon.
I thought your studio was downtown.
Too many addiction triggers.
- I worked here the last year.
- Well, I...
I'd love to see all the new work
you've done since moving,
because the team is geared upand ready
to sell every new piece you have.
Sure, of course.
No, you've... you've been gestating.
Gestation implies birth.
Ideas come, but they kill themselves
as soon as they appear.
This is a slaughterhouse.
Welcome aboard.
When we got the call,
it took us a few days to locate you.
We've been busy.
Now, it looks he slid
into the side of a gas station
out in Angeles National Forest.
Place has been closed for years.
What caused the crash?
Don't know.
Think he may have hit his head
and wandered off.
It's easy to get lost out there.
Was anything recovered?
Well, we put it in the back here.
We think the vehicle may have been
vandalized before we located it.
There's a big homeless camp near there.
They would've cleaned it out
if they found it first.
Was there anything of value
you know was inside?
Not that I know of.
This is all you found?
Uh, no.
There was this.
Where did he go?
Where's the art?
Why would you trust him
in the first place?
I didn't tell him what was in the crates.
All he had to do was deliver them
to a warehouse in Lancaster.
This shit goes sideways,
and I'm telling you straight up,
I will say this was all your idea.
I had nothing to do with it.
This is Bryson's phone.
Obviously, I didn't pick up.
Bryson, it's me.
Where the fuck are you?
You trying to strong-arm me,
cash in on your own? What?
Don't fuck with me, Bryson. Call me.
I came at the right time.
No, no. Not now.
I have a lot to do.
- Wha... It's not for three hours.
- It'll take me that long to get ready.
It's just a fundraiser.
There's going to be pictures.
Our first time out.
This is super important to me.
I wanna look good.
Mmm, I found a sick dress.
This sofa's completely too small
for the ceiling height.
It swims in here.
So, I've been cataloging
paintings for the book.
Something doesn't add up.
What's that?
There's almost no studies or sketches.
They seem to be missing.
As well as large gaps
from differentperiods of his work.
He dated them, you know.
No, everything I found is there.
Trust me, I'd know.
Hey, I've got some
great champagne in the fridge.
Open it while we get ready.
Stop by before you leave.
Your three o'clock is here.
Interview for the archivist opening.
You're too young.
I'm twenty-two.
The position requires someone
with years of experience.
Stop back when you're forty, eh?
That's it?
That is it.
You worked for Rhodora?
Just for a few weeks.
So, the non-compete clause doesn't apply.
- She fired you?
- I was on a break.
A man walked in and talked to her,
and she never let it go.
You were there for the Dease opening?
- It was a zoo.
- You know how much she generated?
- I saw the numbers.
- The buyers list?
Every name.
Your client bought two.
Very resourceful.
I've learned that you have to be.
Rhodora had, um, a file on Dease
that she kept locked away.
One day I found the key and...
it was a very interesting read.
You know what? I might have an opening.
Come back to my office
and tell mewhat else you heard.
Ah, I do miss it here.
The camaraderie, the purity of purpose,
the Tuesday meatloaf
as the cafe overlooking the tar pits.
Well, on to Vetril Dease.
In the united federation of the universe,
I doubt there is a hotter artist
at the moment.
Do you know, since the exhibitopening,
he's actually trending on Twitter.
We're interested in showing him.
How many pieces are we talking about?
I can supply two owned by my client.
And another ten on loan
from the Haze Gallery.
Send dimensions and JPEGs for the group,
and we'll aim for a spot next season.
I want them exhibited ASAP.
Main hall, new wing.
- Event marketing.
- You know we have a process, Gretchen.
Ooh! I had a glorious concept
to support my former employer,
and supposed premier
contemporary art museum of Los Angeles,
with a first showing of a Dease!
We appreciate the significance,
but there is the issue of space.
Well, move Banyo's Horse Penis
or the Jeweled Vagina.
Put one inside the other for all I care.
There is a tax issue, and my client
wants his Deaseexhibited immediately.
Now, in return for my very generous offer,
I also want Minkins'Sphere to be shown.
Oh, come on, Gretchen,
this isn't a rug bazaar.
No, it's an equation
with a solution at the end.
And if you can't grasp that,
there are other museums,
I assure you, that will.
I didn't see you there.
Hi. I'm Morf Vandewalt.
I'm here researching Vetril Dease.
- I'm... writing a book about him.
- What for?
He's... He's become a prominent artist
in... in the outsider school.
Did... Did you work with him?
Eighteen years.
Well, it would be extremely helpful
if we could arrange a time
to talk in depth.
You see, I have so many questions,
and there's so few people who knew him.
There was a vet you could've talked to.
He had a few medals and a loud mouth.
Liked to ride people,
particularly Dease.
He wound up dead in a field.
Hands tied.
Never found who did it.
So, you're saying it was Dease?
- Damn it!
- Oh! Jesus.
I'm saying you left him the fuck alone.
Look, I have nothing more to say.
And you can tell
that other damn fella that, too.
The one who came by here yesterday.
I don't know who that would be.
Well, we've corroborated
Dease's twenty-year incarceration,
using court documents,police records,
and work history.
Dease left
the Good Templars Orphanage at 18.
He was drafted.
Served two years in the army.
And when he got out,
he suffered some sort of a breakdown.
At that point,
he tracked down his abusive father
and murdered him.
He didn't kill him right away, though.
He dragged it out for days,
torturing him, then burning him alive.
Dease spent two decades in a psychiatric
hospital for the criminally insane.
The facility used inmates
for medical experiments.
Injections, shocks.
God knows what else.
They were human guinea pigs.
Dease got released
when the courts closed it.
From there he goes to LA
and got a job at the veterans home
and lived off the grid.
No bank account, car, license.
Couldn't even find a usable photo.
And you verified all this?
You're sure?
It all checked out.
Those are the facts.
All right,I'm gonna release this
tomorrow. I'm gonna need you
to speak to the press,
attesting to your credentials,
the authenticity
of what's in the file, and...
and the atrocious and disturbing nature
of what you found, et cetera, et cetera.
I thought this kind of stuff
would raise the value of his work.
Oh, no, no.
This is another level.
- Have a good night.
- Nighty-night.
You've reached Morf. Leave a message.
Howzit, Morf? It's Jon.
Give me a call back as soon as you can.
I have something regarding Dease.
I think might interest you greatly.
What the hell?
Oh, we are just stuck in here,
aren't we?
What is with that cheesy organ music?
And that casket. What color is that?
Smog orange? Did he buy it on sale?
Not so loud.
Seriously, imagine having to spend
an eternity in that.
Nothing is ever good enough for you.
Well, it's my job.I'm selective.
What are you even saying?
Toss out taste and standards?
Whisper the truth?
What a tragic world that would be.
Oh, hi.
I'm Josephina.
I work with Rhodora.
I'm a partner at the gallery.
- Oh, yeah. Damrish.
- Oh, of course.
- I am just such a huge fan your work.
- Thank you.
I do the Dease collection.
It's otherworldly.
- Thank you.
- Your review of Hoboman killed the sale.
Instead of being seen,
it's gathering dust at a storage facility.
I am not your mouthpiece.
We competed for everything,
but I absolutely despise
being here for this.
I mean, what was he facing,
to do something like that?
He was his usual shallow self
the last time we spoke.
Started drinking again.
Ooh, happy days.
Um, this here
is for family and friends only.
Well, Jon started at my gallery,so...
I mean, where the hell else would I sit?
Ladies and gentleman, if we may begin.
- Did you take a Viagra or something?
- I'm almost there.
No. I'm going on my back.
- No.
- I can't stay like this.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!
Open your eyes.
I'm down here.
Oh, God damn it.
Something's wrong.
We've got a fucking problem. Literally.
I'm seeing things, um...
Things moving.
Seriously, I'm really scared.
I was turned on by your passion,
from listening to your intelligent mind,
and now you've turned into
I don't know what.
Your reviews have fallen off,
and you still have feelings for Ed,
admit it.
I do not have feelings for Ed.
Gretchen ran into him, and he said that
you two were talking and working it out.
Well, Ed is a big liar,
and Gretchen is a bitch!
- I checked your phone. You made six calls.
- He was moving out, we were coordinating.
What do you mean,
my reviews have fallen off?
You're right.
Your edge. Makes sense.
You don't know what you like
or even want.
I'll tell you what I did like.
Ricky Blane's show.
But you jammed me to crush him!
Don't lay that on me.
Like he was your first badreview.
Gimme a break.
I'm not saying that I blame you.
I'm saying that I regret it.
Hey, uh...
I think that I've been staring too long
at all this Dease art
and all his material.
I'm... I'm gonna get my vision checked.
This will pass.
Listen to my intelligent mind.
I'm not pickled.
It's a small step, I suppose,
toward something, but
let's talk turkey.
What are you afraid of?
We go way, way back.
I wanna share with you
a little somethin' somethin'.
"Dependency murders creativity.
Creativity plays with the unknown.
No strategies exist
that can enclosethe endless realm
of the new.
Only trust in yourself
can carry youpast your fears
and the already known."
That's Polly Anna, 1983.
I found it clearing out her apartment
after she OD'd.
I gave up being an artist a long time ago,
but I know how this works.
Forget about the art world.
You need to get away from here,
from all this. Take a break.
Use my beach house and stay there
until you do something
for nobody but yourself.
Which one's better? One.
- Two.
- Two.
All right. Two.
One. Better, worse, no different?
No different.
All right. There we go.
All right. Well,
your acuity has actually improved
since your last prescription.
I was hoping you'd find something
to explain what's happening.
Mmm. The phantom movements?
I think I have Charles Bonnet syndrome.
Hallucinations, visions, moving objects.
You've been on the Internet. Yeah.
It's highly doubtful
in the absence of other factors.
But let's makeanotherappointment
for this week.
I dilated your eyes,
so you have to wear these for a few hours.
These are heinous.
Yes, who is this?
- It's me.
- Oh, how clever. You blocked your number.
'Cause you won't answer my calls.
Well, after your vile voicemessage
yesterday, are you surprised?
Wha... I...
Telling Josephina I am still with Ed?
- Oh! That's my crime?
- We broke up.
I was coordinating with him moving out.
Honestly, I expected an apology.
Ed said preciselythere was more to it
than that.I merely passed it on.
You're a joke!
You have no credibility in any way!
Oh, really? Well, in that case,
I suppose there's no truth whatsoever
in your little friend Josephina
sniffing around Damrish, who, might I add,
are literally aboutto drive off
into the sunset together.
- Yes.
- Hi.
- I'm Morf Vande...
- Vandewalt.
- Yes.
- Of course. I've read you for years.
Are those the new Persols?
Yeah. That's right.
That's a Freud.
- Yes, it is.
- I've never seen that one before.
It's been in a crate since '92.
And it's going back in one.
I loved your exhibit brochure
on Dease, by the way.
Thank you.
As I said on the phone,
I'm expanding it into a book.
Well, there's enough there for one.
You cataloged the collection presale.
Oh, not cataloged.
My primary focus became
Dease's distinctive methodology.
I spent three weeks identifying
conventions, workflow, classifications.
It was almost impossible to delineate
between working materials and
personal effects.
Frankly, I was glad to finish.
Well, I wasn't aware
there were anypersonal effects
besides the ones in my possession.
None in a traditional sense.
I mean, as in tissue.
Perhaps you should speak with Rhodora.
Rhodora is...
backing the book.
I have her full support
and confidence, of course.
Tissue as in blood serum.
The artist's, I assume.
He used it to create
the reddish blacksand the shadows.
It was in every piece we studied.
That is an outrageous request.
Even coming from you.
I don't get your pushback on a Minkins
retrospective here, in the fall,
of all his major works.
We already agreed to put up Sphere
in exchange for you
bringing us twelve Dease.
Seriously, Gretchen, it's rude and dumb.
If you wanted to ram more
of yourcollector's hoard down our throats
to increase their value,
you should have done so
before the Dease deal was locked,
not the night before the exhibit's open.
I hear marketing has high hopes
of a traveling Dease collection.
They've even run projections.
So, I believe my "leverage"
looking aheadis considerable.
There's absolutely no space in the fall
to put on a Minkins show.
Well, I'm going to meet
with your board tomorrow
and suggest a reduction
in the emerging artist exhibit.
They don't sell any tickets anyway.
Over my dead body.
Um, Gretchen?
The hard copy PR material's been sorted,
and the electronic kits
get sent at midnight.
Be here early.
And inform me
of any celebrities or art stars.
Um, if it's all right with you,
I'd like to go home
and get a few hours of sleep?
Has the lighting been corrected on Sphere?
Oh, the side lights, yes.
I had them leave it lit,
so you could see it when you leave.
Then run along.
Good night.
This morning.
Somehow she got stuck inside of it.
There was some kind of malfunction,
and I guess it just, like,
completely took her arm off
and she bled to death.
It was horrible.
Security guards thought
it was part of a new installation,
so they just opened up and let people in.
The Dease pop-up announcement
was blasted last night,
so everyone was heading there.
People just walked by
like she was part of an exhibit.
Then a school tour came along.
The kids thought it was fake blood,
so they just started stepping in it
and spreading it around and...
Who knows how long
it would have gone onfor
until Coco came in to do press
for the Dease show,
and she saw Gretchen and just lost it.
Are you still there?
I don't understand.
Bryson, then Jon. Now Gretchen.
What the fuck is going on?
I don't know.
I mean, we just saw her last night.
They closed that wing
of the museum, but...
I hear the Dease exhibit is mobbed.
Hey. Go.
We're spiking on Moments and Instagram.
It's a major hit.
Rhodora, are you still there?
Did you hear what I just said?
The Dease exhibit is booming.
There's someone at my door. I gotta go.
Did you...
hear about Gretchen?
Did you?
Oh, Jesus.
- Can you believe it?
- You have to leave.
You justcan't,
well, just walk in like this!
Well, I need to be with someone right now.
I'd think you would, too.
What's going on?
Are you kidding me?
We're not together. I was clear.
You said, "a break."
The admiration I had for your work
has completely evaporated!
Hey, man,
I wasn't trying to jump your train, okay?
She said you two were done.
Are we?Are we?
Say we don't share something real.
I was never particularly obsessed.
We expected you yesterday.
We closed the exhibit for half a day
in anticipation, actually.
I thought Artweb were clear on the timing.
I know, I'm sorry. It's my fault.
I know it's pre-debut.
Just been experiencing
some personal matters.
Then, of course, Gretchen this morning.
- If this isn't a good time...
- No, it's fine.
It's overdue.
- I'll write my review and file it today.
- Hmm.
Lillith Vanlandingham
is stormingthe world
with her revolutionary
sound exhibits.
She won the Nam June Paik Award last year.
Her latest piece is called Mysticete.
As discussed, we have arranged for you
to experience the exhibit alone.
Look at him standing there.
He only embraces what he knows.
Undoubtedly one of the worst
exhibits of contemporary art history.
Piece for piece, it's the biggest
waste of steel since the Titanic.
This painful exhibit should be bulldozed.
Remove the spotlight of hype
and his latest work is a snoozefest.
Seriously, Ms. Minati,
I am talking to you.
It seems you have no one
around youto say this. Stop it.
Shut up the shed.
There are no redeeming qualities
to the show. Nothing but embarrassed...
The best thing aboutthe show
is the French ros being offered.
It's an ugly piece
to look at,and faintly nauseating.
It's gone from innocent
and stupid...
I'll hate you foreverfor saying that!
- Lazily concealed.
- Vile. Deceitful!
Judgment should be judged.
It is a monumental failure.
Ricky Blane is the classic case
of presenting a poser as cutting edge.
Sorry for the delay.
Our computer crashed.
We're... We'll start it now.
What did I just hear?
Nothing. This is a soundproof room.
I've no idea.
Mysticete is a symphony
of whale intonation
recorded 20,000 feetunder the sea
in the Mariana Trench.
You are up for this?
I am seeing things.
I'm hearing things.
Unexplainable things.
Impossible things.
And this is hard to admit
as an adherent of the here and now
and a denier of childish belief.
But something trulygoddamn strange
is going on!
What happened to Bryson?
According to the police,
he had an accident
and he wandered into the desert.
I spoke to the police.
They have video surveillance of the night
that Bryson went missing.
He was loading crates of art
into his truck.
What was in those crates?
And all this relates how?
His altered mental state, tortured soul,
phases of the goddamn moon!
I don't know how!
These deaths.
The disappearance.
Everything that is now happening,
it's all connected to his art.
Imbued with some spirit...
cr... created out of some vital ideal.
It's a bit Baroque, don't you think?
- I came here to warn you.
- Okay.
You know what?
It's been a fucked-up few weeks!
But listen to yourself!
I spoke to the building owners
doing research.
They were surprised
to hearDease's art was being sold.
he left explicit instructions
that it all be destroyed.
- What are you saying?
- Stop selling Dease!
It's an eight-figure collection...
...and you want me to stop selling
over some spirit?
I am writing an article about this.
About Dease, his past, his methods,
everything that has gone down.
- Well, you'll kill your career.
- Get rid of it.
Box it all, all of it away.
That's what I'm doing.
All art is dangerous, Morf.
Oh, it's just been
a feeding frenzysince the debut.
What's changed is we ran new metrics
and realized that
we've been overly precious with supply.
I sent you six Dease JPEGs,
all available for immediate purchase
at the quoted price
and destined for significant appreciation.
All of them. Well, that's swell.
I'll send the papers.
Okay. Yeah.
I'll see you in Basel.
What's going on?
We closed the first phase on Dease.
Why are we selling more?
Morf is hell-bent on writing a story.
He's connecting Bryson's disappearance
and Jon and Gretchen's deaths
to the Dease art.
He believes they're somehow
channeling some sort of...
What kind of spirit?
I don't know the varieties.
So he writes some batshit story.
Who cares?
We don't sell durable goods,
we peddle perception.
Thin as a bubble.
Call your buyers,sell as much Dease
as you can before he posts something.
- Who's next?
- You have Roxy on one.
Hey, babe. Circling back on you
wanting some museum-quality Dease.
Baby, that's raw silk. Your shoes.
Pop this.
You've got strong hands.
You ever look at this painting?
You ever notice anything
about this painting?
You look at it long enough and it moves.
- Mmm.
- It's alive.
- I've just sold it.
- What? I would have bought it.
You couldn't afford it.
We don't want it.
Trust me, I'm doing you a favor.
I gotta get down to Traction Avenue.
- I thought we were spending the night in.
- Yeah.
Something just came up,
and I gottatake care of it tonight.
You're blowing me off.
I want you to come.
Why do you keep calling me?
We break up, and you write an article
to completely destroy my livelihood.
I am not doing this to get back at you.
It's Dease's art. I think any of us
who profited from it are in danger.
So, you just blasted it out there?
Jesus Christ. I am reading it right now.
Are you aware
that you've completely lost your mind?
We don't realize the value of friends
until they're gone.
I still consider you a friend, Josephina.
Go fuck yourself and lose my number!
Well, fine, then. All right.
It's Morf.
Oh, hi.
A timetable is moved up.
I'm storing some art
and I'm leaving immediately.
I need an assistant part-time here
while I'm gone.
- Well, I'm available.
- Yeah. Can you start tonight?
Um, I guess so. Sure.
I need to give you the keys to my house
and my storage space.
There's an overlook on Mulholland,
right off Cahuenga.
- I know the one.
- Good. I'll meet you there.
Mr. Vandewalt. Hi.
I posted it, Coco.
And with this article,I'm... I'm...
I'm pouring gas on myself.
I'm lighting a match.
I don't have a choice.
It has been revealed to me
that there is some sort of larger power...
some entity invested in our endeavor.
Invested how?
the violation
of inviolate rules.
Have I gone mad?
Oh, not to me.
I found both bodies.
I'm sleeping with my lights on.
On top of which,
if I don't landa steady job soon,
I'm gonna have to go back to Michigan.
I have to tell you something.
I was Rhodora's personal assistant, right?
I saw her checks, I rolled calls with her.
I think she sometimes forgot
when I was on them.
Tell me.
Your ex-boyfriend, Ed, um...
he worked for her.
He worked her out.
He's a personal trainer.
No, I mean...
Rhodora paid Ed to give her
advance word on your reviews.
Like, okay... He would tell her
what you liked before you posted,
and then she'd make buys.
Do I still have the job?
Here are the keys to my storage space.
I need everything itemized that's there.
Is my car safe out there?
How the fuck should I know?
Where did you go?
This is Ben.
He runs my old artist collective.
Lovely. Can we go now?
I'm staying.
But I don't really like this place.
Yeah, I'm talking longer timeline.
I'm leaving Rhodora, her gallery.
No, you're not.
I can't be there.
We have a significant show planned.
You're high. Come on.
I'm serious.
You're about to break big.
We're taking you global.
You'd give that up? For what?
Some sad garage space
peddling graffiti murals?
Jesus! What's the point of art
if nobody sees it?
Yeah, there's a car blocking my car.
I want it towed.
I don't know.
Hang on.
Oh, 2057 Seventh Street.
I'm waiting.
I'm just waiting for a tow truck.
Oh, thank God.
Damrish is leaving.
He met his old exhibitor in a dive bar
and told me he's going back. It's over.
Good for him.
What do you mean, good for him?
What are you talking about?
Josephina, are you aware that Dease asked
that all his art be destroyed?
Would it have changed anything?
Would I have destroyed them?
He was a master.
Oh, Jesus. Hold on, Josephina.
Stella. Stella.
Stella. God damn it.
Have you ever felt invisible?
Once, I built a railroad.
Come on, Stella.
Come on. Come on.
Stella, come.
Come on, good girl. Good girl.
Come on, Stella! Damn it!
Oh, my God.
Oh, my... Oh my...
No, no! No! I understand!
I understand!
I can't save you.
Jesus Christ,
I can't believe what just happened.
Josephina? Hello?
Oh, fuck me!
A storage facility?
Well, what do they think happened?
No. I'm not coming in.
I gotta go.
Pick up the phone.
Hey. Yeah, we got it.
No sign of the owner.
We're taking it to Central.
That's all of it.
Every image, every drawing,
every postcard,
every piece of art?
- Say it.
- It's completely empty.
Forty-seven pieces. We removed everything.
Thank you.[
- LAX. Terminal five.
- Okay.
- That's lovely.
- Yeah.
How much?
I don't know. Five dollars.
Thank you.
Here you go.
- Thanks.
- Take care.