Lena in Love
A newly minted celebrity remembers her mistakes, but forgets her readers need to make some too
Not That Kind of Girl:
A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned"
by Lena Dunham
$28.00 List Price
Lena Dunham’s anxiety about success was initially her avenue to it. In 2009, while living in her childhood home, she created the web series Delusional Downtown Divas with two friends she’d known since preschool. The three parodied their fates as “children of the art world,” lying around their parents’ lofts, smoking pot, and preening their personal brands. A diva on the telephone: “Father, it’s AgNess. I have some bargaining to do with you. I will not sell the Frank Stella painting, and in exchange I want Jeffrey Deitch’s phone number. . . . I would like to have his screen name also.” When they call the art dealer, he hangs up. (AgNess, pronounced “Egg-NAZ,” is played by Isabel Halley, whose father is one of the founders of Index Magazine, where the show streamed online.)
If Divas treated Dunham’s failures to get a respectable job or boyfriend, make art, and live in her own apartment after college as a joke, Tiny Furniture took the same failures seriously a year later. The farcical, largely theoretical question driving the web series (How do I get famous in the art world?) was recast in the movie, asked now by someone with an authentic desire to make something and also make something of herself (How do I create art? When can I call myself an artist?). The film implied that a young New Yorker who has access to her mother’s Rolodex and doesn’t have to worry about paying loans on a pricey degree, or paying rent, still has a salient problem: She knows what success looks like. Wanting to do what your parents do is different from wanting to be a rapper. Whiny, directionless Aura