Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Question For NYT's David Segal: What Exactly Does "Code Xanax" Mean?

We don't have anything against Xanax. We've been known to take one or two to sleep on an airplane, and keep a secret stash handy for those mornings when a Nick Kristof column really gets us down.

But we couldn't help but wonder what reporter David Segal meant by this reference to the miracle mood drug in his cover Sunday Business story on art dealer Larry Gagosian this morning:

[Gagosian] stood near the reception desk, beside several of the many gallerinas he employs, as a few hundred people milled around a collection of new photographs by Alec Soth and a cache of paintings by Andy Warhol that he bought last year, reportedly for $200 million. In an art market that has recently gone Code Xanax, neither he nor his gallery radiated any hints of distress — though hints of distress have never been the Gagosian style.

We've seen lots of euphemisms for the economic downturn in the NYT in recent months, but this one...well....hmmm, we just didn't get it. It sounded really clever and all, but when we started to pick the sentence apart, we got kinda confused. Is it the market that has gone Code Xanax, or Gagosian? He's the one that Segal thinks is relentlessly upbeat in the face of a tough climate for art. Doesn't that mean he's the medicated one?

Also, what exactly is a "gallerina"?

Gosh, we're lost, and it's only the second paragraph!

We never even bothered ourselves with figuring what Segal meant when he referred to "the vast Texas hold 'em game that is the art market."

Or what he meant when he described Gagosian's business as "the ultimate black-box operation, a never-ending and international swirl of cash and canvas."

We did, however, understand the part that explained how Gagosian "wouldn't return phone calls for this article."


Anonymous said...

This is exactly the story Gagosian wanted about himself and David Segal fell right into the trap.

Anonymous said...

David Segal has only been at the Times a couple of months. He's good writer but today he was trying too hard to impress. Didn't work.

Anonymous said...

I like his voice, and found all the references clever. No nits here, although I agree he's trying too hard to be artsy.

Anonymous said...

Dunno about Xanax, but today's article on Warren Buffet showed a profound misunderstanding of his investment philosophy. Granted, most business reporting is pretty bad.