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Douglas Gordon
Self-portrait as Kurt Cobain...
(detail)
1996
in Douglas Gordon (MOCA)



Barry McGee installation detail at the UCLA/Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2001, from Art:21
(Abrams)



Barnett Newman
Genesis-The Break
1946
at the Philadelphia Museum
Mar. 24-June 16, 2002



Model for proposed Guggenheim
in the New York City financial district.
It's a New Dawn
by Charlie Finch


The cancellation or postponement of New York museum shows by Eva Hesse, Douglas Gordon and Matthew Barney has already dealt a heavy blow to this second season, but we can still look forward to the Museum of Modern Art's monumental Gerhard Richter retrospective, Bruce Nauman at the Dia Foundation this month, the Whitney Biennial, such as it is, and the Armory show, which has supplanted New York's major museums as the showcase for the best in contemporary art.

Jeffrey Deitch is taping the pilot for a Tonight Show television series, which he's pitching to the Bravo network, revolving around the Barry McGee crowd, featuring Deitch in the role of Johnny Carson.

March promises to be particularly strong in the galleries, with Steve Mumford's new paintings at Postmasters featuring a backview nude of Inka Essenhigh with a lascivious octopus crawling across her shoulders.

Also in March, Kiki Seror opens at I-20, with DVDs based on her penetration of a radical cell of Dutch prostitutes, and Su-En Wong debuts at Deitch with exquisite self-portraits placing herself in dicey and droll positions.

April finds legendary critic Max Kozloff emerging from the twilight to curate "100 Years of New York Photography" at the Jewish Museum, with all the big names: Stieglitz, Weegee, Evans, Arbus.

Still, typically, one will have to leave town for the best show of all this spring, the Barnett Newman retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum, Newman's first show under the big tent since his legendary opus posthumous at MoMA three decades ago.

One may fantasize at how beautiful the Newman exhibition would have looked at the Guggenheim, underscoring the truth that this once-great modern museum has degenerated into a tinsel-decked low-rent whorehouse for monster pimp Thomas Krens.

Any deal for a new Goog with the city of New York should be contingent upon Krens' resignation. Krens' "stewardship" has consisted of pathetic direct mail pleas from actor Jeremy Irons for contributions to the Goog's operating budget; dubious international vanity shows without visual nutrition; mass layoffs of dedicated, underpaid New York museums staffers; and dangerous, absurdist motorcycle rides in the desert.

Plus, he's drained an incredible $23 million of the museum's endowment, almost one third of the total.

The swift departure of Krens, and his overrated, garbage-spewing sidekick Frank Gehry, would immeasurably bolster a new vision of humility, prudence and foresight for New York's battered museum world, promising a new dawn for art in New York.


CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).