Magazine Home  |  News  |  Features  |  Reviews  |  Books  |  People  |  Horoscope  

the royal flush

by Charlie Finch  

Guggenheim invite . . .

. . . & r.s.v.p.

The CD

The invite

The Banana Bike
Wheel of Dreams

Grass Bus
Wheel of Dreams

Art the Lobster
Wheel of Dreams
   What was I thinking? I chose to go to the Guggenheim SoHo for the museum's $150-a-ticket New Year's Eve party -- I guess cheesy black "decorations" and day-old slices of fruit are going to be "in" this year.

A veteran of many bad Goog events targeted to non-art yuppies for donations, I can't shake the lingering suspicion that savings on goldfish pretzels are financing that ugly building in Bilbao.

As for the New Year's Googoo crowd, Europe must have been closed for the evening. Treacly techno-pop clashed with a disappointingly conservative Nam June Paik video-wall of melted psychedelia.

Pity the poor SoHo Goog museum guards (the most polite in New York), the wait staff and junior staff, who not only had to waste their New Year's Eve working a crummy party with no tips, but were even forced by someone in charge to get the dancing, such as it wasn't, going. Ugh!!

Lest you think I hyperbolize, check out the accompanying Guggenheim invitation recently sent to museum patrons.

So typical of the Guggenheim's sleazy desire to pick the public's pocket while giving little in return, the invitation gives patrons who donate less than $2,500 annually the right to buy four lecture tickets for $300 to a distinctly under-whelming group of speakers, including Kenny Schachter (who's introduced by his mother-in-law, Denise Rich!!) and Dennis Oppenheim, whom anyone can have an intimate encounter with by simply standing on the corner of Broadway and Franklin for half an hour. You can get six Lion King tickets for the same money.

Speaking of Kenny Schachter, the apparently hand-to-mouth itinerant curator is finally showing his true colors.

The scrappy Schack, who always vowed to only curate his ragtag band of artists in abandoned spaces, has hooked up with SoHo's Sandra Gering gallery to do a show (opening 6 p.m., Weds., Jan. 7) under the auspices of the Rockefeller Fund and the Mexican Cultural Services.

Schachter, whose marriage to the beautiful daughter of socialite songwriter Denise Rich and fugitive financier Marc Rich has apparently given him entree to the New York Times Magazine, New York magazine and the Guggenheim Museum, maintains a peculiarly passive-aggressive attitude to his revolving stable of artists.

When one of them, like word artist Devon Dikeou, strikes out on her own, Schachter, a grudge-bearer, gives the renegade the cold shoulder.

You've got to submit to Kenny Control if you wanna be a member of Sergeant Schachter's dawdling doucheclub band.

We've been telling Schacque for two years: Cut out the vaudeville show and open your own space -- do solo shows of artists you believe in, like Lisa Ruyter and Jonathan Horowitz.

Maybe Kenny fears that he couldn't measure up to Deitch or Marks.

"You will have a boy tonight,
You will have a boy tonight."
   -- from Lazy Line Painter Jane by the hot Scotch group Belle and Sebastian

Sources close to Christie's International chief Christopher Davidge tell us that he's been a tad upset with Christie's North American boss Patricia Greenblatt Hambrecht.

The reason? A slinky, backless evening gown Hambrecht wore during the Ganz excitement, which left little to the imagination.

Davidge reportedly described the dress to our source as "tasteless and inappropriate."

We, however, fondly remember young Patti as a pioneering Yale coed from Louisiana, who fell in love with St. Paul's preppie Fred Stillman, scion of a New England prep school dynasty (his father was a legendary dean at Choate).

He affectionately dubbed her "the Blatt," acknowledging the diminutive sex appeal of a prototypical Cosmo mouseburger.

It was said of Patti by her preppie admirers that she looked best wearing nothing but her jewelry, yet apparently stuffed-shirt Davidge disagrees....

Our auction-world source also sez: Should SwissBank succeed in its takeover of Christie's (and the ca. 300-pence share price is amenable to both parties), star auctioneer Christopher Burge has told friends that he will then work only part-time!!

Burge doesn't want to be "beholden" to a faceless corporate parent.

"In Los Angeles, smoking a cigarette is considered a worse social crime than sodomy!!!"
   -- Bubbling Bob Hughes to look-alike porker Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes

Ol' Bob sure loves sayin' that word -- sodomy. Maybe Julian Schnabel was right.

When writin' titan Victor Hugo was exiled to the Isle of Jersey at the age of 52, his son asked him what he was going to do --

"Stare at the ocean, how about you?"

"I'm going to translate Shakespeare."

"It is the same thing."

Suddenly an ocean of Hugo drawings, spanning the life of France's most celebrated writer, has fallen into the hands of a modern-day Jean Valjean -- Drawing Center board honcho George Negroponte.

Aside from the irritating fact that arties constantly ask him if he's showing Andy Warhol's jock-strapped crony (also named Victor Hugo!), Negroponte is typically tight-lipped about the source of Hugo's oeuvre, but Drawing Center dominatrix Annie Philbin is mounting a show of them there this April.

Negroponte, brother of Wired magazine guru Nicholas Negroponte, will curate, while his show of small paintings at Jason McCoy opens simultaneously.

We also hear that the Drawing Center board has signed vivacious Annie to a lifetime contract, and that George Negroponte will also succeed legendary drawings connoisseur Wyn Kramarsky as Drawing Center chair this spring.

"That randy, randy mouse"
   -- Pat Buchanan on NBC, defending the Southern Baptist Convention boycott of Disney

David Bowie spent his holiday commandeering four Sheridan Square blocks to film a video called, I'm Afraid of Americans. Not of their dollars, however.

When the paparazzi, all Italian media, asked Bowie who his scruffy friend was, David politely introduced Trent Reznor of Nine-Inch Nails.

The late Nine-Inch Nails video star Bob Flanagan's life story Sick, directed by Kirby Dick, amazingly made Entertainment Weekly's Top Ten Movies of 1997, the Top Ten of the New York Daily News and the Village Voice Ten Best, in spite of closing at Angelika Film Center after one week, due to lack of attendance (most people can't take masochism on the big screen, no matter how noble).

Double amazingly, Sick is the front-runner for best documentary Oscar.

Truth-in-advertising: Your scribe appears in the film.

Definitely the invitation of the year, so far: Cameron Jamie wrestling Michael Jackson. The L.A. artist's bizarro works open at Spencer Brownstone, 6 p.m., Jan. 7.

Proof that there's a big wide art world outside that little bitty art elite is Wheel of Dreams, the Surface Transportation Policy Project's 1998 funny car calendar, available at Here's a couple of shots from the calendar. . .

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