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the royal flush

by Charlie Finch  

Gagosian on the cover
of Coagula #27


Hepburn in Capote

Looks like Mao




   "SoHo, Chelsea -- they're both dead."

-- Larry Gagosian

Oh, it's transgression, we love transgression, yes with transgression, we're flyin' blind!!!

Can you guess the heavy hitters below?

This distinguished art historian was a regular at "Twilight" a pick-up place for the gay elderly.

The wealthy dealer found trussed-and-
sussed by his gallery staffers one Tuesday morning.

The biomorphic artista who had a major long-term lice problem in her home.

The controversial artist who pickled his girlfriend's abortion.

The legendary sci-fi writer repeatedly banged by young men as a birthday present.

The award-winning collector who thinks the sculptor comes with the purchase price.

The Condè Nastie who sampled dead men on ice in a SoHo bathtub.

The heavy Hollywood collector who doubled the price to his hustlers if they let him take off the condom.

The legendary artist who set up an all-male sex tableau (live!!) for his daily lunchtime masturbation session in the loo.

The gray-haired dealer who strips nude for his horrified female dates.

The New York male abstracto who had a hot, hot Hollywood affair with America's biggest married male star.

...."I wouldn't pay 25 cents for a painting by either Rauschenberg or Jasper Johns. Especially Jasper Johns. I have a Rauschenberg, but somebody gave it to me. It's in a closet."

"Hello there, Bob!!" --Truman Capote, in Lawrence Grobel's Conversations with Capote

For the perfect Labor Day beach read, combine this with the tiny terror's classic dishrag, Answered Prayers.

....That white noise you hear is the dissing of U.S. Venice Bi rep Robert Colescott by the oh-so-P.C. types.

Since these conformists are short on two of Colescott's strengths, humor and irony, it's no surprise.

But Colescott disilluminates the generally patronizing position of the P.C. police towards blacks as noble savages -- when aging Af-Am Colescott lampoons this attitude (the way Stanley Crouch does), the droids whisper, "He's a Tom."

People like Colescott for the same reason they like Mark Tansey, lots of visual and mental teasers to please the brain and the eye.

But if you've got your mental universe already fixed why bother?

....Washington Post scribe Keith Richburg, author of the scorching Out of America: A Black Man Looks at Africa, was quick to decorate his new Hong Kong digs.

Kurating Keith installed a huge poster of Mao Zedong, with the weird logo "We be jammin' in the Motherland," then broke out his definitive collection of 1970s blaxploitation flix, like Shaft in Africa.

Richburg was immediately elected president of the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Association!!

....Spotted on one of his collector tours in Bangkok, Thailand, very ex-dealer Josh "I'm your guide for a fee" Baer....

Like legendary tiger-tamer Gunther Gebel-Williams, your scribe has rounded up a pack of critical cats for the art public's delectation.

The event is called "Burnin' Down the House: The Toughest Critics in New York."

Kicking off the Downtown Arts Festival, "Burnin'" happens Monday, September 15, 7-9 p.m., at the Matthew Marks Gallery, 522 West 22nd Street. The gabfest is free, and open to all.

Sharpening their big-top claws, the toughest include:

ArtNet Merlin Walter Robinson

Soda-tossin' demon Deborah Solomon

Toast of Tinseltown Gary Indiana

Globe-trotting journalista Eleanor Heartney

Bourgeois-basher David Rimanelli

and Asia-culture fetishist Jonathan Napack....

But if you want real violation, never underestimate the power of a doll, according to James Fenton, writing about Joseph Cornell in the August 14 New York Review of Books.

"It is the same disquiet one feels in the presence of the boxes which use dolls -- the doll lost in the thicket, the doll displayed among mirrors . . ."

"It is related to the disquiet one feels when Cornell's films use footage of children . . . (a small group who were recently shown in the Museum of Modern Art's comprehensive film collection all felt the same unease)."

Jimmy, babe, you're gonna love Beth B!?!

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