In a program note pinpointing the genesis of *Culture of
Desire*, her theatrical essay on Andy Warhol and American
consumerism, director Anne Bogart wrote, ďI once entered an
upstate New York K-Mart and experienced an irresistible desire
to buy everything in the store.Ē Iíve had that same
feeling, havenít you? Unfortunately, that sentence was just
about the most intriguing thing about the show, which played
at the New York Theater Workshop through October 18.
Viewing a fluorescent-lit
department store as a banal vision of Hades and designating
Mr. Art-as-Commodity an ideal figure to thrust in the middle
of it, Bogart and her SITI company decided to borrow the
structure of Danteís *Inferno*, in which middle-aged Warhol-as-Dante
(played by actress Kelly Maurer) is shepherded through the
shopping carts and advertising slogans of American consumer
hell by Diana Vreeland (played by Jefferson Mays in a black
helmet wig). But rather than saying anything noteworthy about
the given subject, this collage of campy poses and diary
entries of Warhol fretting about his pimply complexion
pandered to a dumb-and-dumber mentality.
Bogart has dreamed up
conceptual masterworks before. People still talk about her
*South Pacific* set in a school for disturbed children who
learn normality by singing Rodgers & Hammerstein songs.
And her portrait of theater director Robert Wilson, *Bob*, was
an ingenious and revealing hommage. With the flat and unfunny
*Culture of Desire*, this heavy hitter struck out.
The Advocate, October 27,