Imagine the irony when Robert Rauschenberg discovered that his studio complex on Great Jones and Lafayette is now dominated by a massive billboard advertising the Whitney Museum's "American Century" show -- featuring a giant reproduction of Jasper Johns' Flags. Having your historic rival's most famous painting stuck on the side of your own studio smells like a deliberate insult.
A slow lunchtime at a Christie's East jumble sale of 20th-century art found Matthew Marks and Michael Werner in the house, the two star gallerists slowly making their way round as if at the Metropolitan Museum. Further proof that these dealers are genuinely interested in art -- or at least bargain prices. Indeed, Marks in particular is successful precisely because he is curious and knowledgeable about all sorts of art, not just the hip youngsters of the moment. As one of the organizers of the Armory Art Fair he also supports such interesting if unprofitable galleries as Mitchell Algus. Discovering Algus had sold nothing during the recent fair, Marks immediately bought a mysterious little self-portrait by Robert Corlis, a notorious '60s demimonde hustler and petty criminal once bailed out of jail by Frank O'Hara. At $2,000, it covered half the cost of Algus's stand.
The same Mitchell Algus hosted a show of the astonishingly obscure Gene Beery, who had one show in New York in 1963 and had not visited the city since. This highly enjoyable exhibition proved Beery's historical importance -- and that some artists can be loyal friends. Sol LeWitt hosted Beery at his loft and at the opening literally the only person in attendance apart from Beery's immediate family was James Rosenquist, smoking a huge Cuban stogie.
Few living artists are honored by a museum show, even fewer are honored by having the same museum show 29 years apart. Jim Dine's Guggenheim exhibition, which has just opened, will provoke vertiginous dèja vu in anyone who saw his 1970 show at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Both display almost exactly the same 100 works in roughly the same order, beginning with Green Suit and ending with his chicken-wire hearts. Dine himself must be surprised or perhaps worried that this 1970 show, his first retrospective exhibition, consisting of works all created by the age of 35, has been reinstalled nearly three decades later.
Jovial Sean Scully has just splurged over $2 million on his amazing palatial blue-tiled harem on West 17th Street, designed by the modish Nate McBride. The original structure itself cost a cool $1.2 million to buy, despite the necessary basement excavations and whopping Con Ed charges. The renovation may be lavish but Scully is still trying to keep the identity and purpose of his palace relatively secret.
Meanwhile, Scully is showing at Danese Gallery rather than Mary Boone as previously. Why? Rumor has it that one of his paintings was damaged by Boone's handlers and the diva dealer tried to escape responsibility. Angry at the subterfuge, Scully moved to Danese. These shifting alliances have played havoc with the young minimalist David Hunter, who had been happy to leap at Danese's offer of a monthly stipend.
Angela Westwater cannot forget the dinner she hosted for Guillermo Kuitca at her Upper East Side apartment. By mistake the "wrong" wine was served. Only at the end of the evening did everyone realize with shock that the caterers had been filling everyone's glasses with an utterly delicious -- and utterly expensive -- American wine. A case of the same wine recently went at Sotheby's for $4,000. "It was a very symbolic difference for me," admitted the Argentinean painter. "To be served this extraordinarily delicious wine all evening long, even if only by mistake. Because for the opening of my very first show in New York, Annina Nosei only had one cardboard box of white plonk with a plastic nozzle. The contrast in wines says everything."
Meanwhile Annina's daughter with John Weber, the lovely Paolina Weber, was singularly absent from the Film Forum premiere of cult shocker I Stand Alone by French director Gaspar Noé. When the director was in New York last year, Annina was determined he should meet and cast her daughter, an aspiring actress. But poor Paulina was horrified to discover that the swarthy frog's erotic tastes were indeed typical of Paris, specifically Last Tango in Paris. As Noé fumbled in the fridge for his packet of Land O'Lakes young Paulina fled into the SoHo night...
Loot, the lowest of all low free magazines, is now advertising Paul Kasmin gallery in its section "What's On For Free." But Kasmin also makes the cut in the most elegant forum of Town & Country, which featured him recently with glossy photos of the various properties belonging to his artists. Kasmin's one rule for any artist in his stable is that they must have some serious property of their own. That way he doesn't have to bother with the depressing demands of poor artists and can be certain of suitable free venues for his summer holidays. Even his one hypothetically obscure photographer, Aaron Rose, actually owns an entire block of prime West Broadway real estate. Not that this can compare with Bianca Sforna, another of his photographers, who is famous for maintaining the best house with private beach in all of Portofino.
Or perhaps the Guggenheim display is designed to prove how many "firsts" Dine has racked up. To name two: the first painting shown with real furniture in front of it, long before John Armleder, and the first list of all the names he could remember, painted in 1968 long before Douglas Gordon became famous with the identical idea in 1990. Coincidentally Dine's Name Painting ends in 1963, exactly the same year that Tracey Emin's version begins, namely Everybody I've Ever Slept With 1963-1995.
East Village survivor Stephen Pollack seems to be dating the daughter of a prominent Japanese collector who supplies Larry Gagosian with all his Jasper Johns works. Pollack, who owns an early typewritten "poem" he's been trying to flog for years is now working on a Haring show with Jeffrey Deitch, whose selling methods he amusingly describes thusly: " I'm afraid everything already has a reserve on it... but they've been waiting so long, well, maybe you can have it instead."
Not content with marrying heiress Ilona Malka, curator Kenny Shachter is now destroying the property of his mother-in-law, songwriter and record-company executive Denise Rich. Shachter took his new friend, Pop star Alex James of Blur, to her private music studio, where they caused notable havoc and even structural damage. As family friend Jay McInerney jested at a recent gather of the tribe, where Schacter was hastening to cadge as many free drinks as possible. "I don't think Kenny understands the idea of an open bar."
ANON writes this nonsense from a perch in Manhattan.