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the royal flush

by Charlie Finch  
As expected, Documenta diva Catherine David immediately alienated the art press by speaking only in French at her kick-off conference, and screaming at the English scribes to "put on your earphones," even though elle parles Anglais fluentement.

Echoing France's misguided paternalism towards Africa, David included a number of African artists, and only three Asians. Chaos reigned right up until the show's vernissage, with artists accepted and rejected at the last minute. The daughter of Marcel Broodthaers removed his piece right off the wall because she hated its placement.

Art worthies had to kneel on the ground to gaze at Rosemarie Trockel's live pig farm (here's an artist who's not too derivative, pace Sue Coe and George Orwell) and Mike Kelley and Tony Oursler bored everyone with a flaccid installation on the CIA's LSD experiments.

Meanwhile, this word from überdealer and all-around mensch Jeffrey Deitch on Oleg Kulik, photographed rear-ending an innocent cow in Deitch's booth: "Oleg's not the type to do something stupid or sensational!!" ....

Reaching new zeniths of self-induced paranoia in a speech to the Marxist College Art Association, published in June's New Art Examiner, tin-pipe demagogue Peter Halley now blames the demise of his `80s career on the "Jewish esthetic" of many `80s artists who happen to be Jewish (this is Halley talking here, remember).

Comparing his analysis to "Karl Marx or Sigmund Freud," Halley, who is of mixed parentage, comes perilously close to self-loathing anti-Semitism, talking about a so-called "Jewish esthetic" that is "garish and vulgar."

To demonstrate the idiocy (not to mention untruth) of Halley's line of thought, take these four artists mentioned in Halley's text: Donald Sultan, Cindy Sherman, Robert Gober and David Salle. According to Halley, two of these are Jews, two not -- uh, and what exactly do lemons, actresses, severed limbs and spread shots have to do with Jewishness, anyway?

More unwise tripe like this, and Halley will lose what's left of his collector base! .....

Check out Uruguay. According to Benetton's Colors magazine, stag night in Uruguay is the numero uno `gress fest:

One groom-to-be "was tied naked to a tree and fondled by transsexual prostitutes," while another died "when a fire extinguisher was set off in his anus."

One Julio says, "They ripped out my pubic hair and pissed all over me."

Yum, yum -- calling Jack Bankowsky!(?)!

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