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On Ingrid Pimsner’s Me and Spencer: A Winning Essay in the Art Writing Contest!


[Dear readers, we are publishing the essays of the 16 finalists in the New Art Writing Challenge Contest on Artblog and the St. Claire! Today, we publish the finalists in the category of “500 words or less“. Thanks to all those who participated and submitted more than 70 articles. And thanks to our jurors — Hrag Vartanian, Abigail Satinsky, and Nell McClister–who picked the winners. We are energized by all the wonderful writing that was submitted, and know you will enjoy reading it! — the Artblog editors]

Finalists in category: 500 words or less

On Ingrid Pimsner’s Me and Spencer
By Loren Hunt

“Me and Spencer” (2014), by Ingrid Maria Pimsner, oil on wood, 30″ by 30″. Image courtesy of the artist.

The city is too small and petty for every person in it to have a scorched earth policy with regard to ex-lovers. I like to think I do my part for the social ecosystem: staying friends, keeping things appropriately lighthearted, throwing a sexual life raft when it seems called for. Spencer, though. That guy’s always lurid yellow about something.

He sits splayed out naked on the floor in the corner; a faux-naive depiction of formal misery. His eyes look like blank white spots but it’s too early on a Friday night to regret anything. There’s a stiff, wild breeze coming in through the window that makes me want a margarita. It makes me want to leave this studio and go out into the world to make my fortune in a pink dress.

“Come on Spencer. Say ‘objectivize.’ Say ‘obfuscate.’” All dangerously glib for a person who isn’t wearing any bottoms but this is turning into a real creep scene and I’m not sure which of us is the bigger creep.

“I have wasted this whole semester and I am going to waste my whole life,” he says.

Of course I have made the mistake of believing that because another person and I are actively and currently mostly-naked together, his emotional state has something, anything to do with me. It is amazing how rarely this turns out to be the case and how often people believe it will be. But my point is that there’s nothing to see here. I’m only watching it myself because I have to.

Since you’re looking anyway, though, I’m curious: how do your relationships turn out, the ones that never quite comfortably adhere to any one position on a spectrum between outright contempt and some rapturous soul-mate scenario? Do you consistently and thoughtfully relate? How long do you stick around after things get strange? Have you ever wished you could achieve some mastery of interpersonal disconnect so that you could be sure you were free to put the rest of your clothes on, usher your yellow friend out, lock the door behind both of you, and escape somewhere with more or fewer different possibilities?

Loren Hunt teaches writing at the University of the Arts and blogs about art, perfume, and the weather.