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  the royal flush

by Charlie Finch  

Damian Loeb

Damian Loeb
Service Station

Damian Loeb
Anything Else

Elizabeth Peyton

From Hirakawa's
announcement poster

Hockney via BP

Karen Finley

David Ross


Peter Schjeldahl

Frank Gehry
A bunch of the boys were whooping it up at Double Blessings restaurant on Mott Street, celebrating ex-Gagosian archivist Christine Kim's 27th birthday.

Fetchingly attired in bridal white, Ms. Kim is leaving Gagaville to work as an independent curator, first as co-organizer of an exhibition of contemporary Turkish art touring the states this fall.

But, while all eyes were rightly fixed upon the brainy beauty, Flash Art cover boy Damian Loeb was pouring his heart out to the Flush about his control-freak dealer, Jeffrey Deitch.

"Jeffrey's postponed my show four times, because he fears being sued by photographers for copyright infringement," Loeb animatedly told us. (Like most children of Warhol, young Loeb liberally tweeks the world's photo archive in his work.)

The artist continued, "Jeffrey sold my work and then sent letters to my collectors telling them he couldn't deliver the work until it was free of copyright problems."

But get this: Loeb told us that Deitch also sent letters to the photographers whose work Damian "recontextualizes" (Loeb's word), saying, in effect, "Hey, Damian's using your work. Are you gonna sue?" in a bonehead invitation to the lensers to do that very thing!

Deitch also reportedly refused to give New York magazine permission to reprint Loeb's paintings for Basquiat author Phoebe Hoban's upcoming feature on young Loeb.

Like so many Deitch artists and staffers before him, Loeb is on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

"I respect Jeffrey so much, but it's as if he has two personalities. One day he's enthusiastic and wants to show my work to the world. The next day he says we can't do anything until the legal situation is clear."

Damian also told us that Deitch employer Sotheby's is terrified of copyright-based lawsuits, in light of Brit photog Harry Benson's legal action against artist Elizabeth Peyton for appropriating Benson's Beatles images.

We advised young Loeb that inaction would continue the torture; best to use the weapon Deitch most fears against him.

Sign up with another blue-chip dealer, Damian, and demand that Deitch release your work!

And how did Damian Loeb thank us for the 45 minutes of tea and sympathy which he himself sought out Flushside? The coward had Christine Kim call us the next morning, imploring us not to report this story!

Change his moniker to Damian Deitch.

Speaking of Jeffrey, we fervently hope this season that he finds a physically intimate partner to relieve his tension, and relieve us of the voyeuristic juvenilia continuing at Deitch Projects with another Noritoshi Hirakawa pussyfest, opening Sept. 10.

And speaking of pussy, hats off to British Petroleum's continuing ad series, reproducing contemporary classics like David Hockney's Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy, with its artfully positioned feline.

A newspaper should be like the sea: always different, always the same.
        -- Brit press baron Lord Rothmere, who died last week

Unbowed by her 8-1 Supreme Court defeat, Karen Finley just finished shooting a nude spread for Playboy magazine in Los Angeles.

Finley told friends that she's leaving the fine art world behind to write a script for a film featuring her good buddy Patricia Arquette.

A backer apparently seeded Karen's project with $1.5 million in development dough.

And apparently San Francisco MoMA chief David Ross doesn't know any of this, because he called Karen after she protested the Whitney Museum cancellation of her "Nude" show, allegedly lambasting Finley, "You should keep your mouth shut -- the art world should always stick together."

That's right, Rossarooni, censor, censor, censor. We bet the phrase, "Hollywood money" would have shut up the feckless Friscan.

Finley commented, "Of 30 upcoming art-world projects I had planned worldwide over the next five years, 27 have been canceled."

But then, as Jeffrey Deitch could probably tell you, the contemporary art world has little to do with freedom of expression.

Now that the Guggenheim is showing motorcycles, is the art world dead?
        -- Peter Plagens in Newsweek last week.

It is, according to Newsweek. Of 100 autumn cultural events previewed in the same issue, exactly three were art exhibitions -- Pollock, Richard Serra and van Gogh.

It ain't ever over.
        -- White House aide

Dreamworks executives have given President Bill Clinton a boost with the small fry by inserting him as a character in the popular kids' cartoon Pinky and the Brain, about two mice failing week after week to take over the world.

In a Labor Day episode, a jovial Clinton chats with an Abe Lincoln ghost (really the Brain inside, of course).

Few thought that timorous ArtNet critic Peter Schjeldahl could do a continuous creamato over anybody but difficult German philosphe Gerhard Richter.

Yet, right here on ArtNet, Schjelly climaxes over a new inamorata, difficult L.A. house-builder Frank Gehry.

Pete laments, Why aren't' there any Gehry contraptions a buildin' in Manhattan?

Well, Schjel's bells, it was the Guggenheim itself which elected, for financial reasons, to Gehr up Bilbao, not Tenth Avenue, not some amorphous gap in taste.

We suggest that Hugo Boss and grateful Gehry fashion a suit for Schjeldahl from reflecting silver mylar material to resemble his installation for Moto Goog 2000.

Then Schjeldahl can parade Gehry's work up and down Fifth Avenue to his heart's content....

We hear that Art in America reviews editor Cathy Lebowitz turned down the opportunity of a lifetime to play vagina double for an old woman in the latest episode of Matthew Barney's lame Cremaster series. Instead the job went to punk diva Kembra Pfahler of The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black.

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