J Law and Cooke (??) Maroney (???).
Move over, tiny sunglasses. There’s a new accessory trending in Hollywood, and it has a scruffy beard, a graduate degree in semiotics and a soft spot for craft breweries. That’s right, I’m talking about the Art Boy.
As we swing into summer, it’s high time to start scouring around for a hot fling. This year, consider adding an art boy to your basket along with your Revolve bikini. Why? Well, for starters, all the stars are doing it. J-Law’s recent engagement to New York-based art dealer Cooke Maroney is just the latest instalment in a dramedy series that’s been going on for a few seasons now. Time to turn on the TV.
Perhaps the OG actress x art boy couple is so famous that they’re hiding in plain sight. Four decades (!!) ago, Meryl Streep married sculptor Don Gummer, whose name no one outside of the art world knew then any more than they do today. When you search “Meryl Streep and,” Don Gummer is only the third name that comes up. The Internet seems to be confused whether the couple is still together—understandable given that Hollywood marriages are usually measured in months, not decades, and the question is not whether the couple will divorce, but how long they can put off the inevitable.
Then again, Meryl Streep has all sorts of superhuman powers, so can we really be surprised?
Perhaps following in Streep’s footsteps, or maybe on their own devices, some big-shot Hollywood names have recently linked up with unknown art boys. Amber Heard and Vito Schnabel; Sienna Miller and Lucas Zwirner; Jenny Slate and Ben Shattuck; Ashley Olsen and Louis Eisner; Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman; Zoë Saldana and Marco Perego. Need I go on?
There’s a pretty obvious logic to this A-list actress/art boy pairing. For starters, they boost each others’ brands: the actress gets a dose of under-the-radar cool at a time when celebrity has gotten over-exposed, over-Grammed and overall washed out. The art boy automatically gets a three-point boost on his hotness factor by pairing off with a walking goddess. He also gets exposure, connections with famous (read: rich) potential dealers and fans, and a fancy mansion in the Hollywood hills or Malibu to top it off. All for the price of emotional security and a couple piggybacks.
Love is looking this adorably hungover together in casually coordinated outfits.
But, as much as US Weekly would like us to believe it, stars are not just like us. The virtues of wife-ing up an art boy might be self-evident for Hollywood A-listers, but do they extend to the rest of us? For an art girl, dating an art boy isn’t an exotic escapade—it’s the same old shit that she’s been doing since undergrad.
J-Law might have picked Cooke Maroney up after he already made a name for himself on the scene, but we’ve known these guys since before they developed their personal brands to include top-shelf whiskey and $300 artisan leather sneakers. We’ve known these guys since they were scrawny little 18-year-olds drooling over Roland Barthes in Art History 101.
Show me a young Art Boy who hasn’t yet grown into himself (or his extra-long t-shirt) and I’ll show you Shaggy from Scooby-Doo.
Still, dating an art boy is not without its charms. Whether you’re looking to buy or just shopping around, there are some important questions to ask yourself before you drive the car out of the dealership. Below, here are 5 questions to ask yourself before committing your life (or your Saturday nights) to an art boy.
If you can put up with Carrie-dating-Mr. Big-level uncertainty, an Art Boy just might be for you.
Contrary to popular (and partly true) belief, art boys are not just plaster copies of each other. With the art boy, you truly never know what you’re going to get. This is true from one art boy to the other, but also for each individual art boy.
One day, he might shower you with kisses and insist that you skip work to ride the train to Coney Island, like Robert and Patty did in Just Kids. Then he might disappear for two weeks into his studio when an idea strikes. You will completely lose contact with him except for occasional texts asking to bring him a grilled cheese sandwich, and if you express any confusion or disappointment, you might be charged with disrupting the creative process. He might loaf around for months without any concrete commitments, then fly off to Argentina for a show at a week’s notice.
If this sounds like a fun adventure, proceed full steam ahead. If just reading this paragraph has you breaking out in hives from anxiety, well, good. Better know now than later.
Expect your love nest to look approximately like this, but with more Velvet Underground posters. Nest, Dash Snow and Dan Colen, 2007.
If not, am I willing to spend the time and money on therapy to make this acceptance happen?
If your five-year plan includes becoming a real housewife of anywhere, set your Tinder location to Wall Street, not the Lower East Side.
You know, the goods. Despite what we tell our mothers and ourselves, there’s a little patriarchy left floating around inside of our socially conditioned psyches. With most of the reasons for marriage flying out the window, one of the last remaining ones is financial benefit. With women still getting paid around 80% of what a man makes, you don’t need to be a gold digger to understand the benefits of having a man’s paycheck to help with the rent, especially if you want to raise children. Of course, we should all be capable of supporting ourselves, but if I love him and he wants to buy me Gucci…
Unfortunately, the percentage of art boys who fit the bill on this account is slim. And those who do are all dating Hollywood actresses who have way more than enough money already. I know, life isn’t fair.
Unless your art boy is a hotshot dealer, you know as well as I do that financial security won’t be on the menu. Still, this doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker; there’s more to life than money.
Fact: Art Boys are really just emo boys who grew up and got into Central St. Martin’s.
Now, let’s talk about one of the many reasons why you should date an art boy. As any girl who went through an art boy phase in high school will know, one of their primary draws is their heightened level of emotional sensitivity. As an art girl growing up in the middle of Texas, it wasn’t easy to find boys who would make me playlists with Portugal. The Man and Fleet Foxes. I know, I know, I was an easy target.
But while it might feel temporarily intoxicating to find a man who gets your deep reliance on Sylvia Plath poems to get you through dark patches, emotional connection comes with a down side. Namely that he might be just as crazy and unstable as you are.
Essentially, the question you have to ask yourself is this: When I’m in a heap on the floor sobbing, do I want my man to gently pat me and ask something completely inane but touching like “do you want a bagel” because he has no fucking clue what’s going on, or to lay down and cry next to me, perhaps softly strumming a My Bloody Valentine song on his guitar?
If you’re an art girl dating an art boy with a slight build (which is like, all of them), then you’ve landed in fashion heaven. With the rise of androgynous style, stealing your boyfriend’s clothes is no longer limited to a cozy sweater or button-down. Couples are full-on swapping looks, from t-shirts to belts to kaftans to head scarves. You know a trend has gone fully mainstream when you see Gigi and Zayn model it on the cover of Vogue is all I’m saying.
And if you choose to date an art boy, there’s a higher chance than average that he’ll have a wardrobe that you’ll want to steal from. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t all dress in white t-shirts and black jeans. Of course, many do, but that could still work in your favor—endless supply of super high-quality white t-shirts and black jeans that, if you’re lucky, will fit you with a perfect “boyfriend” slouch!
Of course, we all pick our own destinies. The choice of who to date is much more complex than these five questions can show. If you fall in love, you fall in love. Still, hopefully you managed to extract a few scraps of wisdom from this semi-serious guide to dating an art boy.
Text by Katya Lopatko
Images via Cosmopolitan, Twitter, Radar Online, Wbshop, Scoop Whoop, Jeffrey Deitch, Arena, @hottest.emo.boys, Vogue.