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Biennale Bitch Tells the Naked Truth of the Art World
3 Take Outs and #nofilter
Art Stuff 22 Nov 2018

There is much more to the art world than just auctions and appetizers. One veteran arts journalist has a sense of humor, and that is the culture journalist Nadja Sayej. In her hilariously, new book, Biennale Bitch: Adventures of an Arts Reporter, which is basically a comedy book, she shares 30 hilarious stories of travelling to art biennales around the world over the past 10 years and gives us some hard belly laughs.
TheWe artsy types aren’t known for our sense of humor, especially about ourselves – so Sayej is here to change.
From biennale to art fair and back, she plows through a food review of the Venice Biennale, butterfly kisses Cate Blanchett and meets David Hasselhoff at the Berlin Wall. A follow up to her first print book, The Celebrity Interview Book, Nadja rolls through the art scene with a Nikon camera full of snapshots of Salma Hayek, Patti Smith, Lady Gaga, Claude Picasso, John Waters, Thom Yorke and even the Wu-Tang Clan. Here are three takeaways from the book, as quoted from the author.

Cate Blanchett disappearing on a Venetian water taxi

“What it’s actually like meeting Cate Blanchett: “Excuse me,” she said.That was all. I was standing in the way of her shot, as a herd of photographers stood behind me. “I think we’re in the middle of a shoot here,” she said, smiling, holding both my shoulders. Cate is small, she has a porcelain-like complexion and was wearing an almost-transparent green dress. She has a pretentious air to her. Fit right into the art world. Small talk banter? Nah. Was she nice? Sort of. Benevolent? Barely. Focused? Naturally. Tolerant? Perhaps. After the press conference, she sneaked off on a Venetian water taxi.

Salma Hayek, performance artist, was a dream come true

“I wasn’t nervous about meeting Salma. One, I knew enough about her career and personal life through other interviews, I had enough jumping off points. But secondly, I knew she loved dogs and had many dogs, and only good-natured people are like that, so I had no worries. Salma was magical, she sat down beside me, kicked off her heels and started chatting about performance art. Her whole vibe just radiates the energy of a healer. She is honest, compassionate but selective with her words. And I have to say, she is really relaxed during interviews.

Thom Yorke is way chill, others are not

“I got to meet Thom Yorke though, never thought that would have happened. It was after the Suspiria press conference and I rushed to the photo wall where the cast would be standing with Yorke, who is the composer of the soundtrack. Since I didn’t have a photo pass, I snuck through the Giorgio Armani glam room (where makeup artists and hairdressers had booths), and waited for the cast to flood into the waiting room before they got their photos taken.“Hey Thom! What about that soundtrack?” I asked. He said it was an escape from album-making and how his kids are too young to see the film. He was very easy going until another journalist saw me talking to Thom and elbowed her way in. “Excuse me Thom, can I get your autograph?” she said, pulling out a folded press release.“Excuse me! Now is not the time for that!” screeched some woman with a loud British accent (was it Thom’s manager?). “Inappropriate!”

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