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by Anon
Meghan Boody
Truly Scrumptious
Sandra Gering Gallery
Ena Swansea
Ena Swansea
Two Men
Mary Boone
Matthew Ritchie
by Michael Lavine,
Team Gallery
Butchery courtesy Christie's Nov. 19 sale catalogue.
Cover work by Karen Kilimnik.
Jack Goldstein
Untitled (#26)
Meyer Vaisman
Portrait with Imaginary Siblings
Ashley Bickerton
Floor-Floor #2
bought in
Karin Davie's
In Out In Out #9
at Christie's
Rachel Lachowicz
at Christenrose Gallery
Matthew Antezzo
by Michael Lavine
Alex Katz
at Marlborough,
Maria Marshall
When I Grow Up I Want to be a Cooker
Team Gallery
Famous new Whitney Museum director Maxwell Anderson's proudest boast is how despite being an old-fashioned Upper East Side bore he is in step with new multi-media art. The proof being, as cited in the New York Times, that on his orders the museum recently purchased In a Garden So Green, an interative work by an aggressively avant-garde, 34-year-old artist named Meghan Boody. It would be vulgar to point out that this particular artist actually comes from exactly the same private-school, Park Avenue milieu as himself. Not only are they acquainted socially, but her best friend dated the Big Max. Thankfully Anderson's gesture of hipness turns out to be traditional nepotism after all.
Who is the mysterious Ena Swansea? A red-head with an anagrammatic name and Southern lilt in her voice, the Kate Winslett look-alike has overnight become the best-connected painter in the business. Limos stretched around the block during her opening at Robert Miller, which was filled with a dazzling array of Euro-triumphant groupies. Swansea claims to be Welsh (a thing few would pretend to) and although her mother used to sell false teeth throughout the South, she now is patroness of various string quartets. Swansea has apartments, studios and admirers scattered throughout Manhattan, the mystery being whether this has anything to do with the fortunes of her husband, fabulous film-critic of Good Morning America, none other than Joel Siegel.
Employees at Mary Boone's gallery are not known for their longevity but a record was recently broken by an employee who managed a mere handful of weeks before fleeing. Boone was utterly paranoid that he might have photocopied the ledger, in which every phone transaction must be transcribed in a range of different inks, green being used for anything to do with money. Scandalously, insiders are claiming that Mary came round in person to the employee's apartment at eight in the morning, banging on the door. Supposedly she demanded to be allowed in to search for herself and a bewildered roomate had to physically block her attempts to enter. The ungrateful employee meanwhile talks of suing, claiming that La Boone breaks NYC regulations by refusing to let any of her staff take a lunch break. Instead they are allowed anything they want from the corner deli -- anything under $8 that is.
Triumphant Matthew Ritchie (flogging his mytho-narratives for a cool 30K) has another lesser-known claim to fame. He invented Damien Hirst's entire career! Ritchie's graduation work at Camberwell Art School in London consisted of a pile of severed pig heads. Hirst saw the show and later commented that he thought Camberwell produced the most interesting graduate work of any school. A year later, voila! Hirst begins his notorious series of pickled animal corpses.
"Seeing my paintings at auction is like watching sheep go to slaughter," said Chuck Close, and there was certainly plenty of butchery at the recent round of contemporary sales in New York before Thanksgiving, especially that daytime event at Christie's where the tender teens are put on the block. Or not so tender. Can't say much for the infamously value-losing "Picture" artists from the Metro Pictures stable. There was a sad Troy Brauntuch (bought in) and a lovely black-and-white Jack Goldstein (estimated at $2,000-$3,000, sold for $8,625).

More interesting is the status of the "Hot Four" of the 1980s Sonnabend stable. Their current rating is spelt out at every auction, i.e.: 1) Jeff Koons, miles ahead of the pack, going in the evening for a record $289,000 even though no one seems to want to fund his next gallery show; 2) Peter Halley, a big classic neo-Geo can still pull in almost $70K, though a graph-paper drawing of practically the same work went for a measly $2,200; 3) Ashley Bickerton, a lovely floorpiece failed to sell under a low estimate of $12,000. And, oh yes, who was the fourth anyway? D(r)eary me, Meyer Vaisman's massive 1987 signature works now fetch $8,000 when they sell at all, even with the impeccable provenance of Castelli. What did those things shift for back then?

Auction virgin Karin Davie managed to get her drippy swoopy stripes on the endpapers of the Christie's catalogue. "Have to be aggressive," explained Andy Massad, who stepped in to organize the sale after Neal Meltzer flew the coop. Davies' painting actually sold, albeit for $5,000 as opposed to the $8K (meaning $7,200) her gallery might ask. "Collectors are now turning to early Karin Davie," she breathlessly explained, referring to herself in the diva's third person. "It was a very, very early period work." Hmm, 1991 is rather archeological.

Small wonder she was at Rachel Lachowitz's opening at Cristinerose commiserating with the artist (a very dated-looking Lachowitz make-up work sold for $1,300) and instructing Matthew Abbott how to kickstart his mythically stalled painting career. "Go straight to MoMA and talk to the curator who bought your painting, get them to come back to your studio." Everyone loves Matthew. Except collectors. La Davie is fleeing Rivington Street for Brooklyn, not least to be shed of her neighbor Andrea Dworkin, the renowned pipe-smoking and fire-breathing lesbian separatist who constantly blocks the stairway with her bulk.

The art world has room for everyone -- everyone who is no one, that is. A recent Saturday found capacity crowds spilling out of Mitchell Algus Gallery in SoHo for the Stephen Antonakos opening (the man who invented neon-art before it became Flavin-of-the-Month). Here was nobody under 60 and no one you might recognize. A few blocks away crowds spilled out of Threadwaxing Space, nobody over 30 and all equally unknown. The only recognizable figure being Ross Bleckner who was aggressed at the door by famously under-employed John Good shouting excitedly; "Ross! Ross! I bought one of your paintings today!" The Toulouse-Lautrec of the Hamptons was heard to mutter; "Yeah, at Christie's East probably."
Wealth and power (oh such painfully rare visitors to our now-provincial little New York scene) gathered at Pentti Kouri's mind-bogging sixth floor penthouse on Prince for a presentation of Zaha Hadid's scheme for the new Cincinatti Museum of Contemporary Art. Kouri (Finnish inventor of Europe's first internet gambling system) has the sort of loft that only appears in Hollywood fantasies of SoHo, including his own James Turrell work installed above his bed. "Wonderful, wonderful, everything is perfectly installed," gushed a sycophantic Jay Gorney, who has flogged the Helsinki mogul a thing or two in his time. Guests included a sprinkling of Newhouse, Peter Eisenman, Steve Holl (or "Stevie Wonder" as Hadid calls him) and even Peter Norton. He had seen artist Matthew Antezzo's screen-saver painting of him. "I thought it very uninteresting as art and turned down the opportunity to buy it when offered to me, repeatedly," he said. Stefano Basilico's super-smooth salesman technique may need a refresher course at Cortina this winter.
Alana Heiss just gets more mysterious. She is said to have turned down an English intern by explaining that P.S.1 has a phone system that takes more than a whole week to learn how to operate, so it would not be worth the effort of coming out from London. Then someone overheard legendary war photographer Gilles Peres claim that Heiss has intimate connections with terrorist organizations. She personally fixed a meeting for Peres at La Coupole in Paris with a wealthy underworld figure from the IRA codenamed "Kennedy" who may well have been responsible for bombing army bases in Belgium and Germany. As it happens, Kennedy sponsored P.S.1's Arte Povera show.
Literary and artistic chic gathered at Alex Katz's ludicrously large 19th Street studio to fête the mysterious French avant-garde writer's workshop that goes by the name of "Oulipo." The event was hosted by Pa Katz and Harry Mathews, millionaire experimental writer, heir to Raymond Roussel and perhaps still best known for eloping with his 19-year-old wife, sculptor Nikki de St. Phalle. Though that was rather a while ago. Such a delicious intermingling of poets and painters had not been seen since the heyday of the New York School, culminating in a champagne-drenched prize ceremony honoring literary composition by Raphael Rubinstein, famed poet, curator and editor at Art In America.
Robert Storr and David Zwirner were so overcome with mutual admiration on finally meeting at the latter's shop that they both started stuttering with excitement. Expect a host of Zwirner stock to be surfacing at MoMA soon.
Single best work of the season so-far was in the improbable medium of video, otherwise famed for bringing out the worst in everyone, artists as well as audience. Entitled When I Grow Up I Want to be a Cooker, this film-loop featured an angelic small boy, no more than three, shown smoking a cigarette and blowing perfect smoke rings out to the screen. The subject matter seems controversial, but the brave dealer, Jose Freire's Team Gallery, hastened to assure alarmed viewers that the work was in fact a seamless digital montage of two completely discrete events, boy and smoke. Though other video artists have used young children doing adult things, not least Gary Hill's daughter trying to read Wittgenstein out loud, there was an ethereal compulsion, a simplicity and quietness to this piece which made it highly effective. So what if the young English artist and mother responsible -- Maria Marshall -- is a niece of mega-collector Charles Saatchi? Being able to enjoy and appreciate any video art is a treat.

ANON is, well, anonymous.