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Victor Vasarely

A Louis Vuitton Murakami Multicolor Speedy 30 handbag, as seen on eBay

Takashi Murakami at Rockefeller Center, 2003

Jeff Koons and fans at his recent Sonnabend gallery opening
Photo courtesy Martin Bromirski
The Fraudulence of Murakami
by Charlie Finch

In 1966, for a few months, it was possible, as we then did, to walk up and down Madison Avenue and see in every boutique window a pulsating, psychedelic painting, or print, of dots by Victor Vasarely, king of the next great movement, Op Art.

In 2003, it is impossible to attend a Chelsea opening without seeing a swarm of idiot females, and not a few moronic males, waving an ugly, uncomfortable white handbag studded with colored insects.

Of course, "It's a Murakami!" Next question: is it legal or "illegal " -- because, since the ersatz bags were featured on the cover of the September Artforum, a publication run, with the exception of bald dynamo Tim Griffin, by a bunch of ersatz bags, the fakes are allegedly worth more.

We sincerely hope that these bagged guillibles journeyed out to the Meadowlands parking lot last Saturday to watch the Macy's people sky-and-road test the new cloying Nipponese Hello Kitty balloon for the Thanksgiving day parade, and that they squirreled away mint-condition Pokeman card sets, because the Murakami fad will soon deflate like so many ugly balloons over Rockefeller Center.

Have you noticed the steep drop in intelligence, discernment, connoisseurship and taste pervading the current world of art? Whether it's one bidder for an inferior Caillebotte (and, really, are there any others?), as pointed out last month in the auction report by my brilliant colleague Stewart Waltzer, or a flock of dealer lemmings dorking off to the next art fair while forgetting to mount engaging and/or timely shows in their home spaces, mob-generated stupidity, reminiscent of the late-1980s Japanese real estate hysteria, is all the rage, yet again.

Is it any wonder that pied piper grizzly Murakami, with his brain-dead branded tchotchkes, is leading the band?

Our pal Lance Kinz of Feigen Contemporary actually had the gall to tell us the other day, at the Rosenquist Goog-Smack, that "we are not in the business of providing free entertainment to the public." And this spirit was apparently abundant at Sonnabend last Saturday where three Jeff Koons sculptures were not ready for the opening because:

1. They were too heavy to be hung from the ceiling,
2. They were already sold for $650,000 a pop, so who gives a shit, or
3. Why do we endure the cult of these dull public openings, anyway?

It seems that the art world's riding for a fall, and since we fell long ago, let the arties follow headless horseman Murakami off the rims of Mt. Fuji or 30 Rock.

Let ' em eat handbags.

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