Manners & Misdemeanors

Everything the Truly Rich Lady Has Seen, Overheard, Thought About at Art Fair Philippines

The diary entries of C.C. Coo after attending the VVIP reception.
ILLUSTRATOR SANDY ARANAS
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Very, very few occasions compel the Truly Rich Lady to break her self-imposed exile, slip her rickety bones into something uncomfortable, and bless the world with her dragon presence.

Among these are the funeral of a Truly Rich Ancestor (to ascertain the flow of money), the wedding of the Truly Rich Nephew (because the union is beneficial), the opening of a theater or ballet production (but only the very first show and never the succeeding ones), and the annual Art Fair Philippines.

There are many reasons why the art celebration is reason to rise from the coffin, er, I mean, bed.

Art is money. Say my financial advisors, a good chunk of my personal fortune is, in fact, stashed away in art, sculptures, and “miscellaneous beautiful things.” I think they are referring to the shoes, a valid form of art.

Art is taste. Says my Truly Rich Neighbor, “I approve this wall!” Upon leading her to a room, where she spied a gallery of portraits, she was dazzled—and I won.

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And I desire both money and taste, so I must have the art for the walls that will dazzle.

In this part of the world, art has indeed become a signifier for Truly Richness. When you can dress your house in paintings by the masters, portraits of various family members by leading artists, and other framed scenes, from classic to contemporary, you are not only telling the world that, “I have so many walls,” but you are also declaring, “I do not want my many walls to be cold so I must put things on them.”

Readers, I will now burden you with my random musings about art. Here are very recent snippets from my diary.

***

Dear Diary,

I want to show even more that I am a queen of the people, a lady with the common touch. So I will run into the sweaty mass of critics, creatives, tastemakers, journos, fans, looky-loos, students, celebrities, and others with open arms. I will gaze into their eyes and say, “I am happy to see you, too” and “Goodbye.”

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I will dress in protective gear, of course, for I do not want to catch the flu! I think a midi with sleeves and funnel neck. And maybe a cape or a capelet. Black, too, because I must do my best not to upstage the art.

I do enjoy the idea of bringing the creative spirit closer to spirits who do not enjoy having weekly body scrubs and monthly laser treatments.

I am excited.

CCC

***

Dear Diary,

Oh, never mind the art. I have seen all the important works as well as the new and notable ones. What I want to observe and study are the people!

You can really tell who is who in this crowd. Over there is a lady who owns a gallery, a small gallery. I can tell because she has small jewelry. Beside her is a woman of means who just buys anything because she is bored. And that must be a hanger-on because she is literally hanging on to every word of their conversation.

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Oh, this one looks lost and may really be lost because she is a child. Where is her mother?

And there is Tina, my friend. I must hide behind this big person for I did not attend Talky Tina's dinner.

That one buys from the international galleries and auctions—which begs the question: Why is she here in person? Oooh, the one over there is the secret source of the money, the man who pulls the strings.

Excuse me, random people who do not know good art. I must position myself within his vicinity. We have to talk.

CCC

***

Dear Diary,

Truly Rich Mother begged—actually warned!—me to not buy another painting from the Art Fair. “Where will you put it, Si-si?” she asked with her left eyebrow raised to high heavens. “There are so many canvases languishing in your room. Do not buy any more, please!”

But when I brought home a small painting by a hot-right-now artist, she said, “Dearest, can I hang this in my bedroom?” She used her sweet voice, by the way, and I let her have it because I am a good daughter.

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Later, when Truly Rich Father saw the abstraction above the bed, he said, “I don’t like this.” Oops. 

CCC

***

Dear Diary,

I had too many glasses of wine at the Town&Country bar, so I ended up buying a large-format installation that worries me because: 1.) It will not fit into any of the rooms at the moment; 2.) It is expensive; 3.) We have dogs; 4.) Also nephews who come over every weekend; 5.) I haven't told Mother; 6.) It is expensive.

CCC

***

Dear Diary:

I do not understand art today. Take me to the of pastoral scenes of Amorsolo, the chic mood of Alcuaz, the Europe of Luna.

When I look at my own portraits, I sometimes think about the unfairness of life. Why was I not at the right time and place when portraitist Claudio Bravo did his sittings for Manila’s loveliest? How come I am not draped in cloth and made alive with vivid color?

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Instead, I have a too-realistic render of my face or worse, some kind of blown-up interpretation that highlights the large quality of head. (I think a lot!)

Okay, okay, what I'm really having a hard time with is this: How do I inject the strange scenes of modern art into my large collection of classic paintings on the main wall of the living room, whose dominant color is a deep green. Someone help me.

CCC

***

Dear Diary:

Oh, oh, oh! The young Miss Red, the new wife of the old Mr. Green, was seen huffing and puffing as she exited the fair. “Dammeeet,” she exclaimed. “Everything is sold already.”

Well, of course, all the good stuff are spoken for. Everyone knows that, in order to get the choicest pieces, you should whisper into the ear of the artists, curators, or exhibitors well before the fair start.

I talked to my guy, who talked to his guy, who talked to this artisan—and now I have another painting to not hang on the many walls of my house.

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CCC

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About The Author
C.C. Coo
The Truly Rich Lady
C.C. Coo—also known as Town&Country’s Truly Rich Lady—is not a professional seeker of leisure as many people wrongly assume, for she has a real-life occupation: a SHE-EO of Important (Sub)Company of an Empire, for which she works very hard to make sure that the people in her care are not left wanting. She believes that manners are utterly important: “If society is like one of those costume jewelry pieces worn by Jackie O or Diana, manners would be the glue that keeps the veneer of a most beautiful thing from falling apart,” she says.
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