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    Gotham Dispatch
by Max Henry
Damien Hirst
at Gagosian
Damien Hirst
The History of Pain
at Gagosian

Both photos by Mike Parsons
Marcel Dzama
at David Zwirner
Pierre et Gilles
Portrait of Tilda Swinton
Micha Klein
The Arrival of Rainbow Children
Bridgette Riley
Cataract 3
at Dia
Edward Steichen
Nude Torso
at Howard Greenberg
copywright Joanna Steichen
Edward Steichen
Sunday Night on 40th Street, New York
at Howard Greenberg
copywright Joanna Steichen
Andy Warhol
Giorgio Armani
at the Guggenheim
Fresh Cream
from Phaidon
Bright Lights Big City
Glamour, glamour everywhere.... The fall 2000 circuit blast spells a red carpet roll out for art world tastemakers. Bridget, Damien and Giorgio headline a frenzy season that inevitably will have highs and lows, peaks and valleys, controversies and bashings, historical surveys plus a new crop of artists having their first solo shows.

Damien's theories, Damien's models, Damien's methods, Damien's approaches, Damien's assumptions, Damien's results and findings
A spin-meistered reputation firmly in place, Damien Hirst is always big news. After all, the exhibition opening Sept. 23 at the now fully renovated Gagosian on West 24th Street is his first New York solo appearance since 1996. The word-play in his grandiloquent titles is cheeky and mysterious, i.e.: The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991), Isolated Elements Swimming in the Same Direction for the Purpose of Understanding (1991) etc.

Now comes "Theories, Models, Methods, Approaches, Assumptions, Results and Findings" -- 16 sculptural works, a few recent paintings and a 20-foot-tall bronze anatomical model (first shown last year at the Saatchi Gallery in London). One installation involves ping-pong balls floating on jets of air, and has something to do with a sure-to-sell-out limited edition called Magnificent 7, a boxed set of seven ping-pong balls. The celebrated artist has kept a low profile on the London party circuit of late, but expect the usual deluge of paparazzi and celebrities at this opening.

The talented Mr. Dzama
That sagacious Canadian Marcel Dzama returns with his second solo show at David Zwirner, Sept. 7-Oct. 8, 2000. Dzama's lucid pen and watercolor figures inhabit a place falling between Surrealism and the Theater of the Absurd. In a drama-less dream world comical circumstances imply a dead-end narrative and dead-on deadpan. Nary a dull moment.

Pierre and Gilles slept here
Collaborators since 1976, the New Museum's survey of French divas extraordinaire Pierre et Gilles, on view Sept. 15, 2000-Jan. 7, 2001, includes their famously homoerotic Adam and Eve (1981). This vision of paradise is resplendent with their trademark camp humor and outlandish pyro-technique of carnality, fatalism and hyper-artifice.

The duo hand-paint their photographs in the manner of Renaissance art, culling motifs from religious iconography, Pop culture, erotica and classical ideals. The duo are Parisian cross-over costumers, shooting for fashion houses and doing album covers while photographing the famous and marginally famous porn or movie stars who get the royal treatment, winding up in kitsch heaven either as saints or sinners.

Micha Klein, the Amsterdam-based artist, video-jockey and 1999 Flash Art magazine cover boy, makes his U.S. solo debut at Mary Boone Gallery, Sept. 7-Oct. 28. His big, digitally manipulated C-prints called "The Arrival of the Rainbow Children" show portraits of club kids in hedonistic multicolored settings of electric pink and harsh violet. It's an ecstasy-induced rave-fantasia of radiant light and artificial environments that offers a New Age version of Art Club 2000 crossed with the aforementioned Pierre et Gilles.

The life of Riley
Before there were YBA's there was '60s Pop icon Bridget Riley, abstract, graphic and marching to her own beat. The exhibition "Bridget Riley: Reconnaissance," on view Sept. 21, 2000-June 17, 2001, at Dia Center for the Arts, spans the swinging '60s and psychedelic '70s while PaceWildenstein runs a concurrent show of early works on paper and paintings from the '80s and '90s. Subject of an Aug. 27 Michael Kimmelman feature in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, there was mention of a Bruce Nauman article that Riley had written -- for those of you wondering where, it was a feature in Flash Art issue No. 205 (March-April 1999).

Major Steichen
Born in Luxembourg, the transplanted American Edward Steichen (1879-1973) was a painter and self-taught photographer by the age of 16, launching his career in 1899 at the Second Philadelphia Photographic Salon. A true esthete, Steichen, along with contemporary Alfred Stieglitz, legitimized photography as a fine art form, collaborating with Steiglitz in the famed 291 Gallery on Fifth Avenue.

His stellar career was a long and distinguished one: WWI aerial reconnaissance photographer in France, botanist, portraitist, fashion chronicler and commercial photographer, textile, glass and piano designer, chief of U.S. Navy combat photography in the Pacific during WWII, director of the department of photography at MoMA, art impressario and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient for lifetime achievement.

Steichen is the subject of a major Whitney Museum retrospective, Oct. 5, 2000-Feb. 4, 2001, and the first comprehensive gallery exhibit of original vintage prints at Howard Greenberg Gallery, Oct. 20-Dec. 2, assembled from the collection of Joanna Steichen and focusing on the period between the two world wars.

The only thing missing in the oeuvre are the paintings, which were ceremoniously set on fire in a symbolic gesture by Steichen in 1922.

Soft shoulders, extra large
Giorgio Armani at the Gugg? It's an idea straight out of the 20th century, who would've thunk it. Critics can puzzle over this one. This high-season homogenization of corporate haute couture and the industry of art promises a blockbuster to the public and has a beyond-fashion-magazine catalogue (published by Harry Abrams) that will put the social register types at ease.

Hopefully the essay by Interview magazine editor Ingrid Sischy will be less vapid than the one that she wrote for Vanity Fair on young painters (with all due respect to the featured artists). Whatever, the success of this show offends most for the gratuitous sponsorship of said artiste.

One can expect a dramatic installation (designed by Robert Wilson, the renowned avant-garde theater director and conceptual artist) with lots of formless garments in the guise of chic black vestments with prototype illustrations that will show or expose his strengths or weakness as an innovative designer. But does it belong in the fine art canon? Only the Guggenheim's acquisition committee knows for sure. Fashion has inextricably grafted its nebulous presence into cultural folly. And what's everyone wearing to the opening? The show is on view at the Guggenheim Museum uptown, Oct. 20, 2000-Jan. 17, 2001.

Cream dream
What's vertical, weighs about three pounds and comes in a plastic bubble? Fresh Cream, the much-anticipated follow-up to 1998's Cream is due out around mid-November from hip art-publishers Phaidon Press. It's a compendium of 100 artists from around the world chosen by ten prominent curators and ten likewise happening critics. The first edition was roundly criticized for its high-concept but hard to handle text and graphics, yet equally praised for bold design innovations.

Phaidon's post-millennial list looks well rounded and more inclusive of painting and photography in addition to the usual bulk of video and new media -- Doug Aitken, Ghada Amer, Uta Barth, Xu Bing, Miguel Calderon, Wim Delvoye, Dara Friedman, Sharon Lockhart, Takashi Murakami, Laura Owens, Ugo Rondinone, Doris Salcedo, and Shazia Sikander among others.

Chat room textual riffs dismiss previous criticisms of "list making" as unavoidable, and politicized. Swiss curator Maria Lind says art magazines are too predictable. Poet Olu Oguibe refers to the hexagon in Borges Library of Babel. Vasif Kortun, founder of the Istanbul Contemporary Art Project, weighs in that museums are no longer the arbiters of "shelf life" and "value" of an artist and Gerardo Mosquera, adjunct curator at the New Museum, contends that the international circulation of art is extremely centralized and restricted.

Look for a splashy release party and contentious debate about who's not included in this volume until the next edition of this biennial book.

MAX HENRY lives in New York.