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the royal flush

by Charlie Finch  


Thomas Krens

Lauren Hutton

The Oval Office
by Roy Lichtenstein

Sen. Bob Kerrey

Flash Art

   Rumors that Susan and Patty Brundage, longtime consiglieres of the Leo Castelli Gallery, have been fired turn out to be true. High-placed editorial sources tell us that the sacked sisters silence has been purchased by a guarantee that they are named in maestro Castelli's will. Newly hired consultant Morgan Spangle allegedly delivered the news in person.

That was Guggenheim czar Thomas Krens glad-handling his way through the Hong Kong hand-over, the only expat artie on hand to mark the end of the opium wars. No doubt he was hard at work on the Goog's big China show, due here in January.

Accompanied by a vivacious Korean American female assistant known only as Ming, Krens told Hong Kong dealers, "the Guggenheim is checkmating contemporary art worldwide."

Then, frenzied Krenzy hopped on a motorcycle, with gap-toothed model Lauren Hutton of all people, and sped away. The Goog is working on a big motorcycle exhibition, after all.

One wag wondered, "Does Krens get the money to do the show or do the show to get the money?" Both!!!

.... Bizarre doings at the White House, where president Bill Clinton conceded that he may have called Maryland multimillionaire Robert Meyerhoff from the Oval Office "to clinch a $100,000 contribution" (cf. White House memo).

Something smells here. Mr. Meyerhoff and his wife Jane are longtime collectors of Roy Lichtenstein (and everyone from Josef Albers to Terry Winters as well). As such, when Clinton first ran for president in 1992, the Meyerhoffs assisted dealers Laurie Rubin, Morgan Spangle and Ronald Feldman in persuading Lichtenstein to do a stunning painting of an empty oval office, that was converted into ties, pins, posters and, ultimately, big bux for the Clinton campaign.

It says much about the cultural boorishness of this White House that by 1996, Peter Max was doing the official Clinton campaign portrait, and now the president can't quite place Bob Meyerhoff....

"There is something there. Just because there's an empty space doesn't mean it's empty. This empty space has meaning." -- Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) on PBS, arguing against the U.S. government's proposed World War II monument, to be placed on the Lincoln Memorial end of the reflecting pool. Who sez pols don't get Minimalism?

.... Summer group show insanity at the Silverstein Gallery (476 Broome St.), where owner Dan Silverstein managed to alienate one of his marquee artists, Colombian bad boy Javier Telles.

It seems that Telles borrowed Silverstein's driver's license, blew it up to floor size, and plonked it down with a giant-sized straw and three six-foot lines of white powder (really Plaster-of-Paris).

One too many cocaine jokes made Silverstein so nervous that he ordered Telles to remove the piece. A furious Javier retaliated and urged the other artistes in the show to withdraw their pieces in protest, though with little success.

"Cocaine?" wailed Danny. "I can't even afford beer!"

.... How about this exchange between Jeff Koons and editor Giancarlo Politi in the summer Flash Art:

Koons: Of course, they're my paintings. I graduated college as a painter. Politi: So, you are a good painter in terms of academic quality? Koons: Yes.

Ha ha ha -- thankfully, we had the chance to view something personally painted by Jumpin' Jeff in a 1990 group show at the defunct Massimo Audiello Gallery, curated by veteran critic Alan Jones.

The piece consisted of two badly drawn red ovals on a black background, like some execrable take on David Row's program.

Parenthetically, many is the time we've observed Koonsy trying his famous pickup line on girls at Fanelli's, "Hi, I'm a famous artist." They don't even look at him!!

..... "Anyone can make history, only a great man can write it!" --Oscar Wilde

.... Carol Vogel of the New York Times didn't even pretend to have any news or sources in her eight-column treatment of the Feds' auction ring investigation. Instead, she explained to us third graders what "rigging a bid" is!!!

Consequently, ravenous critics are chomping air for any hot tidbits. Says Art in America's Eleanor Heartney, "I heard that a local district attorney bought a painting and then got to know the artist who made it personally."

Apparently, a comparative spread in values pricked the lawman, who complained to the Justice Department.

One surprise in the Vogel piece: the addition of Leo Castelli's gallery to the list of names being subpoenaed.

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