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  the royal flush

by Charlie Finch  

Beecroft at the Gugg

Paxon announcing resignation Feb. 25,
with wife Susan Molinari and daughter.

Editorial in the Mar. 6 Buffalo Beat

Andy Humm in L+GNY

Dick Armey
Like U.S. tanks in Iraq, Jeffrey Deitch rolls and rules.

Not only is he opening five shows in 48 hours (Vanessa Beecroft at the Guggenheim Museum, Yoko Ono at Emmerich and Deitch Wooster, Cecily Brown at Deitch Projects and Michelle Lopez at Deitch Projects), he has managed to get the Guggenheim to pay all the production costs for Mariko Mori's spectacular double pan-Pacific exhibition opening simultaneously May 24 in Los Angeles and Shanghai.

But that's just the hors d'oeuvre: We hear that the Dakis Joannou collection, lovingly put together by Deitch, will be opening at the Guggenheim in the spring of 1999, moving to Bilbao in the fall.

As promised, the Flush contacted high-profile activist, host of PBS' Reliable Sources, and columnist for Lesbian and Gay New York Andy Humm about Congregate -- the alleged blackmailing of Rep. Bill Paxon and reporter Sandy Hume by House majority leader Dick Armey, which may have led to Hume's bizarre suicide and Paxon's decision to leave the House of Representatives.

Humm has published two pieces in L+GNY about the case. He told the Flush, "Paxon and Hume attended a Republican Party fundraiser together the night before Hume's suicide."

Other Hummings:
1. Hume had "a reputation for coke addiction as a reporter in Warrenton, Va."

2. "Years ago, at a conference of gay SUNY students, an activist bragged about sleeping with Paxon, then a state legislator."

3. That councilman "Sal Albanese went to a reporter with a file of materials on Susan Molinari's alleged relationship with a female aide after her divorce," when Albanese was running against Molinari for Congress.

4. Humm turned us on to an article in the Buffalo Beat (Paxon's district is in Buffalo) which reported that Paxon and Hume had "angry public words" at the fundraiser before Hume killed himself, and that the Hill, Hume's employer, got calls from the New York Times, the Washington Post, Newsweek and Time asking about the connection between Paxon and Hume.

Why should responsible journalists continue to pursue this story?

Because, as Andy Humm points out, "both Paxon and Molinari had unblemished anti-gay voting records in Congress. Molinari also voted against gay rights as a New York City councilmember in 1986. Her father, Staten Island borough president Guy Molinari, said that Karen Burstein was unfit to be state attorney general in 1996 because she is a lesbian. Mr. Molinari has an openly gay brother."

The Buffalo Beat plaintively calls for an end to the machinations and hypocrisy:

"Paxon's sexual appetites are his business, and his wife's business. They are not Dick Armey's business.... Is a gay man, or bisexual man, allowed to be conservative?"

In other developments, a former 1992 George Bush campaign aide told us that "Armey is a thug," disliked and feared as a back-stabber by his fellow Republicans.

And the New Republic printed a bizarre piece, "The End of the Story," by Sandy Hume's ex-boss, the Hill managing editor David Grann, which described Hume as slovenly, but brilliant, saying that every Friday at noon, "Hume would loudly announce, 'I'm going to talk to my sources' and then disappear until Monday."

Repeating some phony rumors about Hume's alleged connections with Linda Tripp, Grann doesn't mention Paxon or Armey, imploring readers to forget trying to find answers to Hume's suicide.

Of course, when people continue to publish smoke screens like this, the truth must be knocking at the door.


Elizabeth Berkley

David Smith
Tanktotem IX
As for the really vague, but constant linking of Leo DiCaprio in the press with various babes -- there's such a weird need to see him attached -- sorry, folks, but the spinning hasn't quite panned out.

Tales of the actor's trysts with Naomi Campbell turned out to be untrue. Then reports said Leo was doing Kate Moss, and seconds later, they'd broken up.

Then, despite innuendo that he'd gotten into a tussle over Elizabeth Berkley, it turns out he had nothing to do with that scene.

And now come stories of DiCaprio having deflowered Bridget Hall, but they're roundly denied by Hall's agent.

Why won't everyone just face the truth and leave Leo and me alone!
         -- Michael Musto, in the Village Voice

Larry Gagosian (or should we say his savvy sculpture advisor Barbara Flynn) scored yet another 3-D triumph with a smashing vernissage of late David Smiths, mostly consigned by Smith's daughters, at his downtown cage.

Like Bill Clinton, Larry revels in the skill of high-profile hires like ex-Gagosiate Robert Pincus-Witten, current smoothy Ealan Wingate, or the respected, estimable Flynn, looking understandably frail, after the death of her mentor, sculpture czar Richard Bellamy.

Gagosian catwalked in a deluxe leather sports jacket, tan slacks and Italian shoes -- these days the used cars he's selling are Porsches.

The David Smiths are thrilling, throwing off sparks of Calder and Dubuffet with the large rambling grace of a big brown grizzly. Go see them now.

Doesn't Helen Hunt have a brother Mike?
        -- Howard Stern
There is no Mike Hunt!
        -- Robin Quivers

What feared museum honcho is allegedly having a very public affair with his fetching young, Pacific Rim female assistant, everywhere but in New York, where his wife and kiddies are ensconced?

The two even hosted a private party for high rollers at that hot euromuseum -- and young Missy Beautiful has become such a frequent spokesperson for Mr. Museum that wags have dubbed them "John and Yoko" ....

The one thing I regret about getting older is that my genitals are shrinking.
        -- Cecil Beaton
Vould that I could say the same!
        -- Greta Garbo

Pierson's poster boy

Pierson at AFA
The regrettable fuck-off tendencies of the slacker generation can produce some truly awful shows, when artists think "I don't give a shit" really means "Everything I do is great."

Take the new Jack Pierson show at American Fine Arts Co. ... Please! It's a lazy melange of alphabet signage clipped from Colin Deland's dorm room (Transylvania U.?).

Yet, the show's tantalizing homoerotic, billboard poster/invite is the best thing about Pierson's folly, and we think we've spotted a trend here -- the show sucks and the poster becomes the collectible, viz. last year's Peter Cain and Gary Hume posters from Matthew Marks ....

What can I do at 3 a.m.? Picasso, at least he could paint at 3 a.m.
        -- radio ad for Barnes & Noble

Actually, for the last 30 years of his life, Picasso would only paint at 3 a.m.

Short stuff: Congratulations to Jerry Joseph, owner of Jerry's, on being elected chairman of the board of Creative Time ....

Sean Kelly gallery now represents the estate of trendy conceptualist Gordon Matta-Clark ....

Newest urban myth on campus: that tuition costs are so high, a classmate is "working as a stripper" to make ends meet....

Spotted at Crosby Street's Guy McIntyre Gallery, Voguette Anna Wintour in a white ensemble with raincoat and white umbrella. Calling Robert Irwin ?...

Grosser than Andres Serrano? Cindy Sherman's mangled maggot face in her '80s "Berlin" Cibachromes at Metro Pictures -- look for her blue eyeballs....

View from Seoul's National Museum,
with rides in the distance.
Itinerant Pacifophile Jonathan Napack visited the National Museum of Seoul, Korea. It's in an amusement park, so Napack rode the cyclone for an aerial view of Stellas and Nam June Paiks!

Peggy Guggenheim rolled over in her grave as a phalanx of cops and publicist Sarah Fitzmaurice guarded the entrance to the Gugg's numbskull Vanessa Beecroft flesh-fest last week, thankfully up for one night only.

Stepford sophisticates gawked at mute, asexual nude and seminude models, as 25 years of feminism disappeared down the drain -- there's a deep fascistic stupidity to Beecroft's sideshow. Somewhere Mussolini laughs.

If Carroll Dunham is a big financial success, his modest West 27nd Street studio belies it.

We got to see the underpaintings of the new round from his "Guns and Geeks" series recently. Dunham's childlike drawing in black Magic Marker is pathetic and formulaic. He liberally borrows visual elements from other artists, not only Guston, but Twombly scratches and Johns amoeba forms as well. One half-ass cartoon shows a man jerking off into a dragon's mouth. Weeeee!!!

As our eyes glazed over, however, something struck us. Look at some recent Dunhams and find the hidden swastikas!

CHARLIE FINCH is the New York editor of Coagula Art Journal and has coauthored the forthcoming Most Art Sucks from Smart Art Press.