We arrived at 5 p.m. on opening day, just in time to see Marina Abramovic strip and take a shower. Much better than Degas.
Dealer Sean Kelly came over and shook our hand.
"You're a fuckin' sadist, Sean."
"Shh, Charlie, you're not allowed to talk in the gallery."
After an hour, we toddled past the Dream Bed where Marina wannabes sign up for an hour to channel her thoughts. Art Newspaper gonniff Adrian Dannatt was among the early signees whose contracts adorned the walls.
Conveniently sealed in Sean Kelly's office from Marina's sufferings, we began the interrogation.
"What if Al Qaeda attacks, Sean, will you abandon Marina in the gallery?"
"Yes, Charlie, she's signed a binding 12-day contract."
"Is there a doctor on call, Sean?"
"Yes, Charlie, Doctor Kelly!"
"So, can I come visit Marina in the middle of the night?"
"No, Charlie, the gallery's only open every day from 9 to 6, except Nov. 22, until midnight. Marina needs her rest."
"You timed this to end the day before Thanksgiving, didn't you Sean?"
"She's looking great at 56, but a 12-day fast will bring Marina down to fighting weight, won't it Sean?"
We marveled at the sadistic lust of our old pal Sean, a doppelganger for Erich von Stroheim in Sunset Boulevard.
Throughout our stay, as dozens of female visitors reverently adored Ms. Abramovic in silence, Sean took numerous collectible snapshots with his Nikon, and accommodatingly adjusted the superfluous videocam for a young girl.
Meanwhile, Marina's "apartment" is a Martha Stewart-designed Golgotha for a sexy Jesusa Christa.
One question, Marina darling (and Sean!).
Who's zoomin' who?
Marina Abramovic's living installation, "The House with the Ocean View," takes place Nov. 15-26, 2002, at Sean Kelly Gallery, 528 West 29th Street, New York, N.Y. 10001. The exhibition runs Nov. 15-Dec. 21, 2002.
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).