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the royal flush
by Charlie Finch
Ilona on Top (Rosa Background)
Poor Little Rich Girl,
The Borg matrix
Alexandra Peers of the Wall Street Journal correctly picked that the Jeff Koons Ilona on Top would be a big seller at Sotheby's contemporary auction on Nov. 19, going for $156,500. But let's look a little closer at this figure.
At the height of his market in the late '80s, Koonsie's editions of three kitsch pieces would go for $125,000 apiece, with waiting list. Relatively speaking, this makes last night's price look like a bargain.
Intriguingly, Koons' refusal to show since the Ilona series went on view at Sonnabend in 1991 appears to be a clever tactic to restore his auction bona fides. For five years, collectors have been afraid to put Koons on the block with a justifiable fear that there would be no takers. Just like Bob Dylan, who created interest in his career by disappearing during his Woodstock period in the '60s, Koons' Garbo-like reticence may have restored his market credibility.
Brainy and beautiful Brooke Alexander director Carolina Nitsch-Jones gave us a backroom preview of the gallery's spring 1998 show of very late Warhol drawings.
Brooke Alexander, Inc., has been buying these larger-than-life depictions of personalities like David Hockney, Herman Hesse and John Lennon, as the Warhol Foundation has put them on the market.
The Andies are line tracings from photographs, unsigned, on thick yellow stock. They'll be priced at $25,000 a piece and up. The most expensive? Elvis, of course.
Back in the '60s, Philip Guston ripped off his severed head, big-eyed, big-toothed doofus archetypes from R. Crumb, without attribution. Now Tip Dunham has made a career out of doing inferior replicants of Guston's geeky rip-offs.
Why are Dunham's poorly conceived emaciated dweebies worthy of more praise than Mark Kostabi's flexible robots? Answer: They're not.
Then there's Terry Winters' badly executed crosshatches that resemble an adolescent's crayon copy of the Borg matrix, done while watching Star Trek: The Next Generation on TV. More dreck.
And what about the Met, which has recently wasted gallery space on R.B. Kitaj, Frank Auerbach and other unworthies? Yet another new low with Pousette-Dart's busy canvas-filling abortions.
Because he taught for years at Sarah Lawrence and had half a dozen fans, the late Dick P-D is considered P.C. by curator Lowery Sims, I guess. But the work is bad, bad, bad -- we dare you to imagine having to live with one!!
Winters, Dunham and Pousette-Dart, white males all, share an agenda: fill the canvas with doodads till you drop. Is celebrating them some in-joke among the revolutionary disenfranchised? We hope so -- otherwise, it's just more bad taste.
-- Jerry Saltz, in a rare retelevised appearance on CBS cable's Eye on People, when asked if Mark Kostabi should be considered a great artist.
"Ray graciously agreed to help -- so I asked him where his gallery was. 'It's in the garage,' Ray answered, and he took me there -- his gallery was in his car!
"Ray lent me his John Cage saddle shoes, right out of the back seat!"
-- Colorado satellite imagist David Gallagher on the now commercially available, high-intensity satellite photos' degree of resolution.
Braman signed an unknown Reggie White out of the defunct WFL Memphis Showboats -- White went on to win last year's Super Bowl with the Packers. Braman also fired defensive genius Buddy Ryan, and led NFL owners into abandoning televised instant replay.
As a collector, Braman is second only to Donald Rubell on the Miami scene, where he's decamped post football. Perhaps Deitch can teach him a few new plays....
"You wouldn't know them." -- ACLU founder Roger Baldwin.
Fiona Howe of Paul Kasmin
And, what the hell, Santa Claus is coming, so check out the ten naughties who, of course, need no introduction. For some satirical fun, match the innocent on the left with the rumored vice on the right:
Have some fun with Booner and the boys. Happy Thanksgiving!!!