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  the royal flush

by Charlie Finch  

Yayoi Kusama on
Accumulation No. 2
ca. 1966

Karen Finley in
Return of the
Chocolate Smeared Woman


Kiki Smith

Rob Storr

Tony Smith
New Piece

Smith in the garden.
Let's see: One woman who exposes her body for art, Yayoi Kusama, gets a major retro at the Museum of Modern Art, opening this week.

And another woman who exposes her body for art, Karen Finley, has the Whitney Museum cancel her show on the Fourth of July, after being whipped 8-1 by a reactionary Supreme Court, defending the U.S. government (i.e., the National Endowment for the Arts) against a handful of artists.

Only one sentinel of liberty, Justice David Souter, stood for freedom.

Of course, the NEA now only gives organizational grants, not ones to individual artists. Think the Whit's decision was motivated by a lust for some of that money?

Poor temporary Whitney chief Willard Holmes. His name will live in infamy. Willard the Rat.

But we all know it's Gertrude Vanderbilt Lauder, "owner" of the Whitney, who calls the shots. Spritz even got his buddies at the New York Times Magazine (where his cosmetics company drops millions in ad dollars) to do a think piece on Andrew Wyeth's stupidly painted Christina's World.

Spritz should rot in a vat of the overpriced gloop with which he cons the women of America.

I'm just going to read what falls out of my boxes of books.
        -- David Ross, on his summer plans, in the Art Newspaper

See Dick. See Jane. See Spot. See Dave.

Wearing an expensive white satin asswrap, wealthy goofball Kiki Smith was the center of attention at her late father Tony's elegant MoMA vernissage.

Photogs Bill Cunningham and Patrick McMullan blew two or three rolls of film kapturing Keek the Geek's many attractive facial tics.

The familiar Tony Tetragons, in Philip Johnson black, were considered quite touchable (when they had no market value) in MoMA's sculpture garden 30 years ago.

Now "Do Not Touch" signs were conspicuous - still preppie revelers at the opening repeatedly fondled a Tony tunnel cube in the back of the garden, until Kabuki-faced Glenn Lowry dispatched an aging, dispirited Af Am guard to protect the piece, as the sun set.

After 20 minutes on watch, the old gent inched his way towards a side door, the better to chat up a young black belle, beyond the glowry gaze. Immediately, a blonde in a black cocktail dress moved in for the touch!!!

Sans tactility, the Smiths, which, let's face it, were always considered formally suspect by the critical cognoscenti (Barbaralee Diamonstein's ghastly 1967 Bryant Park Smith show was widely panned), are pretty worthless, resembling the acoustic dead spots in a concert hall.

You've got to feel them, fondle them, climb atop Moondog, for God's sake. Indeed, fit-looking Smith curator Rob Storr told some admirers that Princeton students used to crawl through the trapdoor of Smith's New Piece on the Tiger campus and make love!!!

I will always have a special affection for Flash Art because it is the only magazine that reviewed my forgotten artwork. One of the vintage 1975 editions of the magazine includes an image of one of my performance works where I started arguments in the street and then retreated to photograph them as they escalated.
        -- Jeffrey Deitch in the summer Flash Art.

Elizabeth Phillips
Deitch is still starting arguments in the street - Grand Street last week outside Deitch Projects, in fact. Deitch screamed at director Elizabeth Phillips, and, like so many Deitchettes before her, Elizabeth quit.

Deitch is such a control freak that he told a buddy he was "disappointed" when tired, nude femme models sat down on the Goog's floor at Vanessa Beecroft's Show.

I have a strange wish for you, little man, that you should never grow up to be president.
        -- President Grover Cleveland, to the five-year-old Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Waterworks czar Norman Dubrow is the J. Beresford Tipton of art collectors. Like Tipton, the fictional tycoon who gave away a million a week to strangers on '50s television, Dubrow buys large paintings by young artists and donates them to major museums.

In recent years, Dubrow has purchased major pieces by Christian Schuman, Ellen Gallagher, Jessica Diamond and Matthew Weinstein from galleries like Deitch Projects, Mary Boone and Sonnabend, donating them to the Metropolitan, the Guggenheim, the Whitney and other museums.

Michael Bevilacqua
Giro di Atmosphere
at Jessica Fredericks

Vinnie Angel
Vinnie's Tampon Case
at Kravets/Wehby
Further proof that the Dube is discerning: Two years ago we watched him buy the first Michael Bevilacqua painting that sold, at Jessica Fredericks.

Bevilacqua's the painterly popster who did a series deconstructing Matthew Barney's Cremaster 4, most recently celebrated in Flash Art by penis paintress Cecily Brown. Norman's faith in Bevilacqua was confirmed recently when Chicago collector Herbert Niemann purchased five Bevilacquas from Fredericks, and Jeffrey Deitch bought the sixth.

Yet, some museums still won't give the 70-year-old Dubrow any respect.

Dube recently purchased eight paintings by newcomer Vinnie Angel from Chelsea's Kravets/Wehby Gallery. (According to last week's Time Out magazine, which did a feature on him, Vinnie is about to break-out big time.)

But when Dubrow stopped Brooklyn Museum curator Charlotta Kotik on 22nd Street and offered to donate a wall-sized Vinnie Angel painting to Brooklyn, according to Norman, "She just turned and walked in the other direction."

Tom Krens
at "Art of the Motorcycle"

at the Guggenheim

I'm gonna pack up my suitcase,
Put my misery inside -
Throw in a bit of pain and trouble,
And that's the road I'll ride

        -- John Mayall, Hard Road

Vroom vroom vroom vroom --

You won't be hearing those sounds at the Guggenheim's motorcross sports fair, where free rides on Hog classics are unfortunately not part of the program. But the gleaming bars brought out the stars, as the Goog tossed the best art party of the season. Why?

As collector Simon Cerigo commented, "Most of the high art crowd isn't here." But the trustees' bar was bustling with plenty of high/lowlifes snarking young babes from the Big Apple's fashion houses and publicity firms.

At the center of the action -- a fit-looking David Crosby of the Byrds, warmly greeting adoring middle-aged fans.

We love the silver ramps, the grease-monkey texts and the 1900-era French bikes. Perhaps the Goog should become a permanent motodrome.

There goes the neighborhood.
        -- Paula Cooper, on her new 21st Street neighbors Lot 61, Silverstein Gallery and the Digital Museum.

Jan Brueghel the Elder
and Adriaen Stalbemt
The Archduke Albert and the
Archduchess Isabella in a
Collector's Cabinet

early 17th century
Reading Roberta Smith's dense dissertation on Dutch "collector's cabinets" at the National Gallery in last Sunday's Times inspired us to flushout the possible contents of Smith's own "Cabinet of Doctor Bobbie":

50-lb. coffee table book by Jennifer Bartlett
Jerry Saltz bobbing head doll
Half-smoked joint from 1978
Women's Action Coalition button
Inspirational message from Werner Erhard
Joseph Beuys butter pat
Chunk of sod from Marfa, Tx.
Cameo of Anna Gaskell
New York Times Ethical Standards and Practices (mint condition)
Case of Revlon's Nice `n' Easy in assorted colors
Bottle of Ouzo signed by Jan Avgikos
Postcard portrait of Roberta and Jerry by Eric Fischl
Can of mace
Official Keith Haring barbells
Love letter from John Currin
How to Make Love to a Man (paperback)

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