Buying Leisure: The Collector And The Walker

Susan Hancock spent $236,000 on art at last week's Armory Show fair, according to today's Times, avoiding all the while the pictures with sexy parts because her niece comes to visit sometimes. The 55-year-old Orlando transplant—recently divorced, flush from selling her company to Barry Diller—has spent the last seven years getting in good with the high-end art dealers. In the age of fake waiting lists for big-name art and extreme price inflation, and since the art world (and the Times) is insanely dismissive of moneyed non-New Yorker middle-aged women, how does a lady get on the good list? Easy—you pay a homo to escort you around. (And they say the role of the walker is extinct!) Hancock settled on Eric Shiner—Yale! Fluent in Japanese! Highly developed sense of camp!—as her art walker. Who could be better? Shiner's Friendster page self-description, after all, is "Socialite, Taste Maker, Style Guru, Art Terminator." It's the perfect example of nature's trend toward mutualism.

Novice Art Collectors Find Access Is Priceless [NYT]
Eric Shiner [Friendster]