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the royal flush

by Charlie Finch  


Empire State Plaza?


   Lots more art news than usual this holiday season, so a poor pixillated scribe can't even go on vacation:

It's the battle of dueling Republicans, as Warhol Foundation nemesis Paul Alexander trolls the foundation's "excesses" in front of Attorney General Dennis Vacco, hoping for an investigation, in New York magazine's holiday issue.

But the Warholians had their own University Club Republicans like Arch Gillies and Brendan Gill trump Alexander. A couple of phone calls and the New York Times announces that Nelson Rockefeller's widow Happy is donating an Andy Warhol portrait of the legendary governor to New York State.

It's going on show at the underground cavernous Empire State Plaza in Albany. When this dungeon opened in the '70s, people routinely ripped off Stellas and Rosenquists from the unsupervised space, which connects legislative offices so that state lawmakers don't have to venture outside in the harsh, nine-month Albany winter.

Some wags cracked that Rocky's art cave was symbolic of his profilgate administration. Anyway, Nelson, who stood about 5' 6", was Mr. MoMA -- so here's a tale from the Rocky file:

Rockefeller looked across Central Park from his Fifth Avenue apartment -- one tall building obstructed his view, all the way to the Hudson.

So he called in Democratic boss Meade Esposito to help him get rid of the sty of his eye.

"Meade," Rocky said, "if you help me get that building torn down (via eminent domain) I'll give you that Picasso." Rockefeller pointed to a '40s era Pablo portrait of some dame, on his living room wall.

Esposito eagerly accepted, and dined out for years with fellow dems on the tale of how he took a Picasso off Nelson Rockefeller. But the Rock had the last laugh, as he told some Gill/Gillies-type bluebloods: "It was only a print!!!"

With $650 billion in assets the Swiss Bank Warburg Dillon Read leviathan seeks to add a bauble to its Christmas tree, Christie's, valued at $875 million, a mere one-tenth of one percent of the value of its suitor.

Indeed, it appears that the value of gold and other negotiable instruments allegedly owned by Swiss Bank to Holocaust survivors and their descendants may far exceed the value of Christie's.

Some Zurich gnomes even think that Swissbank's proposed additional merger with Union Bank of Switzerland may constitute a circling of the wagons. In any case, volatile Asian markets definitely mean a flight of capital to the traditional privacy of Switzerland -- and Christie's consignments and just one more goodie basket in which to park stealth wealth.

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