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    Alex Bags Taylor-Wood
by Charlie Finch
 
     
 
Sam Taylor-Wood's video installation at Matthew Marks on West 22nd Street.
 
Taylor Wood at Matthew Marks on West 24th Street.
 
Sam Taylor-Wood
Soliloquy II
1998
 
Soliloquy II
(detail)
 
Alex Bag
Untitled (Aries)
1999
at American Fine Arts
 
You could cut the pretension with a knife at sudden Sam Taylor-Wood's heavy-duty double opening last Saturday night.

Art munchkins in gray and black braved -20 degree wind chills to trudge first to dark Matthew Marks 22nd Street space, where Matty the gallerista proved once again that he knows nothing about video installation.

Taylor-Wood's arch love-tunnel tribute to her video friends left cave dwellers with nothing to do but queue up to the front desk for the smart-looking catalogue.

Things got worse at Marks 24 -- Taylor-Wood's too splendid photo pastiches of her pals pantomiming art classics like David's Marat, Manet's Olympia and Degas' Dancer are catnip to collectors and anathema to any intelligent observer -- they're Wolfgang Tillmans tweaked by Sir Kenneth Clark.

Taylor-Wood, a.k.a. Mrs. Jay Jopling, looked as sharp and clean-cut as her hit photo prints, each apparently the last of an edition of six to be unsold (not for long).

Not as sharp in the mind was Cecily Brown, who got in our face about the tribute we published to her on Artnet.com last week.

"Don't worry about Roberta [Smith, who trashed Brown in Friday's New York Times]," we said, attempting to soothe Cecily.

"She's not as bad as your poem!" Brownie hissed. It turns out that a couple of hens in Cecily's Damian Loeb-like distaff entourage had dissed our poesy.

Looks like another artist coming down with the Jeff Koons flu, where inability to control the press 100 percent sends the artiste whining for her rattle.

Still -20 degree wind chill in a Chelsea blackened by constipated, humorless Brits: Taylor-Wood's Romanesque pieces feature little shots of her pals blowin' and suckin' each other, de rigueur nowadays, and we needed a tonic.

A fast cab ride brought us to the last outpost of fun in moneyland, American Fine Arts Co. on lower Wooster Street.

Alex Bag's video bit, one bit alone, buried Taylor-Wood with a feather -- it's just two hand-puppets humping each other, but it sends up Pipilotti Rist and Matthew Barney, and you really must go see it -- who needs Brown when you can bag it?

Non-plussed at just getting some spillover from Chelsea, Colin De Land directed our gaze to Bag's delicious "Another Girl, Another Planet, Another Dollar" send-up, a photo series featuring Art Club 2000 types posing as the signs of a drugged-out Zodiac, each mutilated with an anarchy "A" (for Alex) with Bag's lipstick.

For the first time Saturday Night, we chuckled, then roared. The effervescent Ms. Bag dumped all that sensational Brit tea in the Hudson -- stars and stripes forever!


CHARLIE FINCH is author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (1998).

In the bookstore:
Most Art Sucks: Coagula Art Journal and the Art of the 1990's

Sam Taylor-Wood

Sam Taylor-Wood: Third Party

Unhinged: Sam Taylor-Wood