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  the royal flush

by Charlie Finch  
 


Bill Clinton
official White House portrait



Clinton and Al Gore.
Get out of the house!
         -- Frank Maya

Democratic insiders tell us that President Clinton is seriously considering running for a third term in the year 2000.

Arguing that he is the only president for a new millennium, Clinton plans to seek both Democratic and Republican nominations, asking to be the first president elected by acclamation since George Washington.

The obstacles are formidable: two-thirds of the Congress and two-thirds of the state legislatures must vote to repeal the constitutional amendment limiting presidents to two terms.

But the Clintonistas have an answer here, too -- public petition campaigns slated to begin after the 1998 congressional elections, employing direct mail, shopping mall drives and the Internet.

White House supporters argue that there are no strong successor candidates for president (especially veep Al Gore) -- that the country would lose too much, if Clinton were forced to step down.

Bigger Friends of Bill fantasize about breaking FDR's four-election record, arguing that eight terms would bring Clinton to age 74.

Since his 1996 reelection, the president has repeatedly joked about going for a third term in fundraising speeches.

It's no joke.


Yoko Ono
Ex It
1998
at Deitch Projects



Yoko Ono
Painting To See the Room Through
1961
at Emmerich



Yoko Ono
Vertical Memory
1997
at Emmerich



Sean Lennon

Millions of artists create; only a few thousand are discussed or accepted by the spectator, and many less again are consecrated by posterity.
         -- Marcel Duchamp, Houston, Tex., 1957

Larry Gagosian did something way out of character at Jeffrey Deitch's SoHo stock opening featuring Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon -- Gogo arrived early, hung out for three hours, and was alone in Deitch's Grand Street space, when Elizabeth Phillips locked the doors at 9 p.m.

We almost felt sorry for Gaga -- people didn't readily mix with him -- Gogo the wallflower, even.

And even Gagosian never welcomed the kind of steady all-night stream of scenesters feting Deitch/Yoko. Maybe Larry, like the fox in the chicken coop, just wanted to poach one of Deitch's hens.

As for the art, Ono's tree-sprouting coffins, at Deitch's 18 Wooster Street garage, are undeniably powerful in the best Fluxus blend of concretism and ether.

Clearly, this is Ono's best piece since her extraordinary Chess installation (recreated by Steve Harvey at Baghoomian in 1993). She only fails when she draws or paints, as in last year's show at Ubu Gallery.

As for sculpture, conceptual and installation, dare we say that Ono (and Fluxus) deserve the full MoMA treatment.

Even more amazing: Sean Lennon, who has become the physical twin of his father -- the same S-shaped posture, the goofy grin, bright, squinting eyes, and prominent teeth. Give Sean credit for his courage, too, in stating that a U.S. government "Manchurian Candidate" assassin murdered his father.

Mama Yoko recently journeyed to Budapest with new best buddy Donald Baechler, whose work she's been buying by the truck-full from Tony Shafrazi.

Maybe Baechler should change his handle to Don On!


The stars spend Christmas alone.
         -- old showbiz axiom

This senior curator, with major recent New York museum shows to his credit, also recently curated two classic gallery shows for that high profile dealer.

The day before his second uptown classic closed, Mr. Dealer called Mr. Curator into his office saying,

"Nothing's sold. We won't be able to pay your fee." (This, in spite of the fact that Mr. Dealer is backed by a worldwide consortium.)

Mr. Curator flipped, a la Reservoir Dogs, and invoiced Mr. Dealer anyway, who ripped it up. We hear Mr. Curator had even called Roberta Smith four times, until she came in and gave "Show X" a rave in the New York Times. A collector saw a piece depicted in Roberta's review and bought it. Mr. Dealer commented, "It's only $45,000!"

What's more Mr. Dealer allegedly may be concealing another sale from Mr. Curator, who's flabbergasted that Mr. Dealer would cut off his nose to spite his face, over a trifling amount of money.

But then that space Mr. Dealer took over was losing $2 million a year for a decade, and he's under orders to slash costs, even if it means stiffing a distinguished art-world mover like Mr. Curator, recently praised to the skies for his efforts by Michael Kimmelman in the Times.

 

Alex Katz
Purple Wind
1995



Alex Katz
Lincolnville Beach at Sunset
1957



Cross-species amor
by Walton Ford



Kelly sculpture on the roof of the Met

All the swells (you know who you are) climbed the Roman Steps of P.S.1 in Queens to offer ablutions to Emperor Alex of Katz, whose curious landscapes abutted an azure sky.

Borrowing a skyline or two from Robert Moskowitz, and some seashells from Milton Avery, Katz has produced more of the Chinese dinner work he's known for -- one look, and five minutes later you hunger for more art (not Katz).

Taking care to position himself as a one-man receiving line outside his exhibition (wouldn't want people to take a wrong turn to the James Turrell sky piece), Katz greeted extra-buff Roberta Smith, Jerry "Handsome" Saltz, slim-in-black Betsy Baker, P.S.1 babe Jennie Prebor, and a furtive, haunted David Ross, who's going through serious Big Apple withdrawal pains.

Don't be surprised if Devo frequently hops the San Fran red-eye to hit every Pace opening in New York.

Monitor those expense accounts, S.F. MoMA!


If you see posters going up on the walls, something's happening.
         -- Brooke Alexander

Zoological artist Walton Ford cut back on the text, painted exquisite large animals like lions and leopards, and added a little cross-species fucking, a la Alexis Rockman.

The result? His current solo show at Paul Kasmin sold out before it opened -- more proof that the dough has returned in contemporary.


The Flush recently spent a couple of peaceful days watching the big cranes unload Ellsworth Kelly sculptures onto the Metropolitan Museum's roof, from a vantage point in Central Park.

But the best show was right outside the museum, where one of the four-foot-long hawks (there are currently two couples in residence) swooped right over our head with a squirrel dinner, perching 20 feet above us to the right of the Temple of Dendur, then lingering to show off its furry prize.

We don't wish to be a killjoy, and we know parks commissioner Henry Stern adores beasts so much that he gives his assistants animal nicknames, but might not these swift, violent birds of prey be a threat to the infants in the Three Bears Playground nearby?


The most bittersweet irony is that, after all that closet-busting, Ellen Degeneres' next gig -- a guest spot on Mad About You -- has her playing second fiddle to Helen Hunt!
         -- Michael Musto in the Village Voice

BBBBBBBBBlind!!!!

The '80s glam rocker who gets blow jobs from that very short, handsome callboy at that historic hotel. Glammie screams out "Fuck the Gays!" when he comes.

The rubber-faced comedian and his actress wife, who just can't stay separated -- they like bondage too much.

That hot young actor (no, the other one) Hollywood calls "David Geffen's latest protegee," with all that implies.

David Geffen's first protegee.

That megadirector/family man who's having a same-sex affair with his macher business partner.

Their other partner who started his hetero career deflowering preppy waspettes on Park Avenue in the '60s -- we know, because we shared one with him.

 

Kenny Schachter


Lisa Ruyter
Being There #1
1997

The Flush gets results. On Jan. 6, we advised Kenny Schachter, "cut out the vaudeville show and open your own space -- do solo shows of artists you believe in, like Lisa Ruyter."

Now, Schachter has done just that, opening a solo show at his 508 W. 26th Street space on May 2, and curating another Ruyter solo at Mitchell Algus on May 5.


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