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the royal flush

by Charlie Finch  








   Sotheby's has announced that Jeffrey Deitch has joined the firm as director of Andre Emmerich Gallery. Sources tell the Royal Flush that Deitch will continue to operate his Grand Street gallery and other gallery operations.

Those in the contemporary art community who have questioned the cozy relationship between the auction houses and dealers will no doubt be alarmed by this new intimacy.

Deitch rules!

"Watch what I do next."

--Princess Diana to the paparazzi, while downwardly adjusting her bra straps atop Dodi Fayed's yacht.

Like God, the hopefully successful, nascent West Chelsea art scene is in the details.

A tour of Gallery Central, the 529 West 20th Street leviathan, found dealers like Elizabeth Harris and Steffany Martz knee-deep in concrete and sawdust, but proud of their spanking new digs in 12 shades of Blade Runner gray.

One thing all the building's tenants seem to agree on: their landlord is allegedly petty, compulsive and cheap. Every dealer we encountered brought this up first, unprompted.

Among the alleged charges:
1.) He keeps the water pressure too low in the toilets in order to save money.
2.) He demands extra scratch from every dealer for the doorman on opening nights.
3.) He played one dealer off against another by jacking up the rent 50 cents per square foot each time a new dealer signed a lease.
4.) Again to save money, he refused to ground the elevators to return to the first floor, so that they linger unnecessarily on upper floors.

Some of the first arties in the building, like Stefan Stux, have held rent in escrow, pending improvements.

John Weber told us that the landlord tried to take back a promised roof sculpture space, after Weber had the locks changed. John has had to store lots of inventory off-site because the 3,000 square feet of storage space specified in his lease wasn't ready.

On the upside, to the landlord's credit (he's dealing with art dealers, remember), there are some sassy, Sci-Fi sites in 529, unusual configurations such as Cristinerose, Bill Maynes and especially John Weber, a coliseum of grey cubes à la Sol LeWitt.

On the walls of the Web: a vertical Brice Marden monolith from 1972, two merging shades of grey that drily nullify Barnett Newman's zip.

"Ellsworth Kelly really has it in for Brice," Weber commented, and, of course, in the '70s Marden advanced the Kelly agenda to places where it hadn't gone before.

John W. is also showing a rare 30 inch x 30 inch Robert Smithson mirror piece plucked from Mickey Ruskin's famous fire sale at Max's Kansas City 25 years ago.

Since we're mango for Mangold, we especially loved the Minimal master's papaya-colored Three Squares in a Triangle, swimming above the Smithson.

Weber opens Sat. Sept. 13, 6-8 p.m., with "Landmarks," a tantalizing concoction of Michael Ashkin, Alice Aycock, Art Club 2000 and others whose names don't begin with A.

We never liked the work of Dinos and Jake Chapman until we wandered into downtown Gagosian last week for a peek at the installation process (it opens Sept. 13).

The high-hedged maze of foliage and mannequins is a definite winner, with plenty of nooks and corners for Larry Gogo to flirt in.

Longtime Chapman fan Robert Rosenblum's gonna do a heavy cream over this one!!!

"I wore it with my favorite (and only) leather jacket to our marriage at city hall. (My husband, Michel Auder, is also an artist)."

--Cindy Sherman in Fashions of the New York Times (his wife, a millionairess, is also an asshole)

If you want to know how dealers make their money, take a gander at the 37th-floor lobby at Chase Manhattan's new office in the News Corporation Building on 46th and Sixth Ave.

Each wall piece runs around $10,000 at item, though you wouldn't know it by talking to the receptionist. Among the inventory:

Two Kelly prints
8 Mapplethorpe flowers
A Lichtenstein suite of Monet's cathedral
3 Beuys felt suits
A Bleckner stripe thing
A sucko Mary Heilmann sky blue diptych
A stupid grey Clemente abstraction

To parapharase the late Senate minority leader, Everett Dirksen, "$10,000 here, $10,000 there, and pretty soon you've got real money."

Get-well wishes to Roy Lichtenstein, recovering from stomach surgery.

Like a riverboat gambler sitting on a big score, a radiant Jessica Fredericks warmly greeted us from her Chelsea garden box.

Two years ago, Fredericks tossed the dice, homesteading in a dangerous 22nd Street basement.

Now, she's raking in the dough, with cereal box popsters like Michael Belavacqua, while galleries bloom around her.

And, best of all, she didn't marry sidekick Andy "Hollywood" Freiser, though they tell us, "It'll happen in a month." (That's what they said last spring.)

The finest piece in the gallery is definitely Jessica herself, who looks like she sleeps in a car wash -- buffed, polished and lovingly rubbed to a fine glow.



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