PETER HILL'S MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY IDEAS

Peter Hill

The Albury Wodonga Superfiction 1993

Collaboration Peter Hill and J.J. Voss (Photographer)

T H E   A R T  F A I R   M U R D E R S

A Novel   An Installation

In this work of fiction, the characters, places, and events are the products of the author's imagination or they are used entirely fictitiously.



CHAPTER FIVE MAY CHICAGO

It was Labor Day in Chicago and all over the city families were pitching grills for the 1989 Ribfest. As Chandler Hancock, art fair director and Englishman abroad walked from his hotel to the Navy Piers he could smell the mixed aroma of hickory, beer, and scorched beef everywhere.

PROLOGUE THE ABERDEEN WRITERS' CLUB

CHAPTER ONE JANUARY MIAMI

It was Hogmanay in Miami and the Scottish contingent to the Miami Art Fair were having a ball, partying for all it was worth down on Southwest Eighth. In a few hours time it would be the first of January 1989 and they weren't going to let the side down by going home before dawn.To date there had been no arrests, fatalities, rapes, or major thefts. But it was early days.

CHAPTER TWO FEBRUARY MELBOURNE

It was St Valentine's Day 1989 in Australia. All of the specialty shops at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport were covered in pink hearts and offering free gift-wrapping in candy-striped paper. It was also the first day of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. Every newspaper carried twin images of the two bearded men on either side of the dispute. "Nothing that a good shave wouldn't put right," Sharon said to Tracey as they operated the check-out desk at the Billabong Newsagency in the airport foyer, flanked by inflatable kangaroos and plastic boomerangs in psychadelic colours.

CHAPTER THREE MARCH LONDON

It was St Patrick's Day in London and Biddy O'Grady's on the Kilburn High Road was going like a fair. The parade in New York was broadcast live on all three television sets above the gantry. Milco Zeeman, the only Dutchman in a sea of over a hundred expatriate Irishmen, pushed his way outside for a pish against the wall of Radio Rentals. CHAPTER FOUR APRIL FRANKFURT It was April Fool's day in Frankfurt and the Brit-pack at the art fair had been merciless in their inventiveness. Stuart Archer-Dixon, London's most respected art critic, had gone to cash a traveller's cheque at one of Bankfurt's many money changers. He never did find out which of his mates had slipped a note inside his passport in passable German which read "this is a hold-up, hand over all your cash." He suspected it was someone from Goldsmith's College.

CHAPTER FOUR APRIL FRANKFURT

It was April Fool's day in Frankfurt and the Brit-pack at the art fair had been merciless in their inventiveness. Stuart Archer-Dixon, London's most respected art critic, had gone to cash a traveller's cheque at one of Bankfurt's many money changers. He never did find out which of his mates had slipped a note inside his passport in passable German which read "this is a hold-up, hand over all your cash." He suspected it was someone from Goldsmith's College.

CHAPTER SIX JUNE BASEL

It was the 16th of June in Switzerland and the Basel Esperanto Society were celebrating Bloomsday by reciting Ulysses on the banks of the Rhine. It was nearing the end of a hot day and they sat in the shade of the Mittlere Rheinbrücke, one of six bridges spanning the river. Water skiers, mostly Americans in town for the opening of the art fair later that evening, performed like gladiators along the stretch of water that separates Kleinbasel from Grossbasel.

CHAPTER SEVEN JULY PARIS

Dear Olivier, It's Bastille Day in Paris and all over this crazy city leather-jacketed guys on Vespas seem to have nothing better to do than throw fire crackers in to cafes and bars. I was sitting in La Tartine this afternoon and three of them exploded inside - just thrown through the door, I've never seen or heard anything like it.

CHAPTER EIGHT AUGUST EDINBURGH

It was the Glorious 12th in Edinburgh and by the time the dinnner gong sounded in the George Hotel in Edinburgh the first grouse of the season, shot that morning near Pitlochry, was on the dining table accompanied by mashed neeps and a choice of 97 malts.

CHAPTER NINE SEPTEMBER AMSTERDAM

It was Yom Kippur in Amsterdam and several New York dealers were having to make the difficult choice between the art fair and the synagogue. Either way, deals would be struck.

CHAPTER TEN OCTOBER HONG KONG

It was Hallow'een in Hong Kong and the diplomats' kids from the American Embassy were playing trick or treat in the relatively safe haven of Aberdeen.

CHAPTER ELEVEN NOVEMBER COLOGNE

It was Kristellnacht in Cologne and a group of demonstrators were thrusting fliers at art fair visitors. They claimed the site of the art fair near the railway station was a processing depot for jews, gypsies, and homosexuals who were sent to the camps half a century ago.

CHAPTER TWELVE DECEMBER LOS ANGELES

It was Pearl Harbour Day in Los Angeles and the Santa Ana Veterans were having a reconciliation lunch at Isamo's Sushi Bar on the corner of Pico and La Cienega.

Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you
and drugs cause cramp;
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

Dorothy Parker

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