NYT – The Art of the Fan

The Art of the Fan
Published: January 2, 2005

Fan Web sites, from Adam-Brody.com to Absolutely Zooey Deschanel (fan-sites.org/zooey/), share certain traits: gushy tributes, copyright-infringing use of paparazzi shots, a whiff of stalker enthusiasm. A new site, cremasterfanatic.com, is unusual for the subject it obsesses over – the Conceptual Art star Matthew Barney – but otherwise it hews to the norm. It borrows pictures of Mr. Barney with his wife, the pop singer Bjork. It summarizes each of his five “Cremaster” films. It even posts tribute poetry:

Pearl filled baths
The pigeons flap
His cremaster relaxes

But Cremaster Fanatic is a fake. Or to put it more kindly, it’s a parallel work of art. “I’m pretending to be a fan,” said its creator, the New York artist Eric Doeringer, who wrote that haiku himself (as “David Kramer,” one of many pseudonyms deployed on the site).

Mr. Doeringer, 30, an admissions counselor at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, was reached by phone in Miami last week, where he was selling homemade “bootlegs” – photos and drawings imitating other artists’ work – outside an art fair. Is he even a fan of the artists, like Elizabeth Peyton, John Currin and Vik Muniz, that he mimics? “Some of them I like, but the money’s green any way you slice it,” he said. Cremaster Fanatic, which is studded with referral ads for Amazon and eBay, isn’t making any money – yet. “I don’t know how well the business model will work out,” Mr. Doeringer said.

Is Cremaster Fanatic the first Warholian Web site? Mr. Doeringer said: “I prefer to think of … what’s his name? Uh … Andy Kaufman. With the best of his work, all the wrestling stuff, you were never really sure if it was made up or what was really happening.” Mr. Doeringer is perhaps the first artist to work in the medium of enthusiasm: “I’m getting the full fan experience,” he said.