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  the royal flush

by Charlie Finch  

Davidge and Hambrecht
at Christie's

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Photo David Heald

Victoria Newhouse's book

Norman Rockwell
Tired Salesgirl
on Christmas Eve

sold for $607,500 at Christie's

Norman Rockwell
The Dugout
sold for $398,500 at Sotheby's

Norman Rockwell
Old Man and Boy:
Fishing Boat

sold for $26,450 at Sotheby's
Two sources at Christie's tell us that Mrs. Christopher Davidge has reportedly named Christie's North America chief Patricia Hambrecht as alleged co-respondent in her divorce action against her husband, Christie's international czar Christopher Davidge.

Once source told the Flush, "There have been a lot of firings recently at Christie's. Only the young employees remain. Maybe this had something to do with it."

Everyone is focused. Everyone is looking in a way they don't look at painting.
         -- Thomas Krens, on his motorcycles, to Harry Smith of CBS

Soon there may be a new sign outside that parking garage on Fifth Avenue. Full.
         -- Harry Smith

Moto-man Thomas Krens extended the olive branch to the staff of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, by tossing a dinner for staffers only, after the opening of the "China: 5,000 Years" Bilbao pit stop.

Too bad for Krenzy: Most of the Googles skipped din-din with the boss to boogie at a downtown Bilbao disco!!

She also thinks the computer can be a popular gallery without limits for the exploration of art, the ultimate cabinet of curiosities.
         -- New York Times Book Review editor D.J.R. Bruckner on Victoria Newhouse, author of Towards a New Museum and spouse of Si.

Who is the hottest artist out there now? Why, recherché magazine illustrator Norman Rockwell.

Who sez so? Why, beloved liberal Guggenheim curator/critic Robert Rosenblum and extremely conservative Brit historian Paul Johnson, author of the right-wing Bible, A History of the American People.

Both scribes recently gushed over Normal Norman, Rosenblum in Bookforum and Johnson in The Spectator.

See if you can separate the effusions by identifying which rockin' Rockwell Rottweiler wrote the following afflatus (answers below):

A.) It is a tribute to Rockwell's diverse powers that his art now seems to look in so many directions.

B.) Some people laughed at me for hailing Rockwell as a great painter but I think for once I am swimming with the tide.

C.) Rockwell has all the conscientiousness and dedication of a Renaissance artist-craftsman.

D.) But I, for one, am happy to love Rockwell for his own sake, and not because he learned some tricks from Mondrian.

E.) People do not like Picasso, they just feel they ought to, but they genuinely love Rockwell's painting.

F.) Norman Rockwell keeps pricking my art-historical conscience.

G.) There are few Rockwells which I have not wanted to look at closely, usually for a long time, and again and again.

H.) We have a new-born Rockwell who can no longer be looked at with sneering condescension and might well become an indispensable part of art history.

I.) Without the distraction of modern art, I became an instant convert, wondering how anybody but the most bigoted modernist could resist the mimetic magic of Rockwell's paintings.

J.) Rockwell will slowly come to be ranked among the Old Masters, as he is already wedged in humble hearts and minds.

Even more eye-popping is Nirvana, a video by Mariko Mori at the Serpentine Gallery.

The other work in the group show is fairly dull. But Nirvana is sensational. Mori herself, with glowing eyes and dressed in a translucent kimono, seems to float off the screen and into the room.

Luminous petals, a tear-shaped crystal, and little plastic Buddha-like things appear, fly past your head, if you're wearing the special glasses provided.

These are special effects Disney would die for.          -- Martin Gayford in The Spectator

Shari with Lamb Chop

Zhang Huan
To Add One Meter
to an Unknown Mountain


King Rat on Astor Place

Clinton in Time
Speaking of Rob Rosenblum, the Guggenheim recently elevated him from adjunct curator to a new donor's chair with a fancy title, the Stephen and Nan Swid Curator of 20th-century Art.

But Rosenblum told ArtNet, "I haven't been given a raise, and there's really no change in my position."

Not a nice way to treat the aging, beloved pixie!

That controversial East Asian line of credit, whose exposure so alarmed that hot NY/LA blue chip gallery, is back in the news.

It seems that the grandson of that discredited Asian dictator had a monopoly on the wholesale distribution of the drug Ecstasy in the Far East nightclubs.

He's also the fellow who signed off on the above-mentioned line of credit, at the newly privatized bank, for that nervous gallery.

Lamb Chop was arguably her most beloved puppet, but in the eyes of children who watched her shows, Charlie Horse and Hush Puppy weren't far behind.
         -- Richard Severo, on the late Shari Lewis, in the New York Times.

When the Guggenheim was heavily criticized last spring for substituting Maoist agitprop for relevant contemporary Chinese art by Xu Bing, Zhang Huan, Ma Liuming and others, in the SoHo branch of its awful "China: 5,000 Years" show, Goog flacks protested that gathering the uncensored best of new mainland art would be too expensive and time-consuming.

Three months later, to their everlasting credit, P.S.1 and the Asia Society have pulled off just such a show, in tandem.

"Inside Out: New Chinese Art" opens at both sites on Sunday, Sept. 13, 4-7 p.m., with work by the aforementioned artists, and an impressive program of panels and performances.

A very welcome tonic for la nouvelle saison.

Most public art is shit.
         -- Jerry Saltz in Time Out.

Disproving Saltzy the Pretzel, Local 72 of the Carpenters Union installed their impressive variation on Katharine Fritsch's The Rat King on Astor Place last week.

Good show!

Answers to "Stormin' Norman."

A.) Rosenblum
B.) Johnson
C.) Johnson
D.) Rosenblum
E.) Johnson
F.) Rosenblum
G.) Johnson
H.) Rosenblum
I.) Rosenblum
J.) Johnson

Photo of the week courtesy of Time Magazine: Bill Clinton unconsciously forms a vagina before addressing the nation.

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