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the royal flush

by Charlie Finch  




The notorious doodle





   "A picture of the private parts of the President of the United States?"
     --Tim Russert of NBC's Meet the Press last Sunday, talking about the Paula Jones case

Authoritative Wall Street sources insist that severe financial problems necessitated Jeffrey Deitch's deal with Sotheby's, first scooped in the Royal Flush ten days ago. Characterizing Deitch's agreement as "picking Dede Brooks's pocket," our source claimed that Deitch overextended himself on the production of Jeff Koons's delayed new work and was even allegedly turned down for financing by his former employer, Citibank.

These allegations would appear to confirm the Wall Street Journal's Monday report that "relief from financial pressures" necessitated the deal. Maybe it's also why Deitch Projects director Sarah Watson has jumped over to become the director of Patrick Painter's new space in Los Angeles.


It seems that John Currin has resurrected some of his earliest ideas for his current stuff at Andrea Rosen. Seven years ago, Currin wanted to computerize the highly sexualized Newport cigarette ads, a project whose drawings survive and are now on view at Rosen.

At the time, Currin referred to the work as "a river of come." Amazingly, the whole Newport concept was appropriated lock, stock and barrel from a 1987 Spy magazine piece that first uncovered the S&M subtext in the ubiquitous cigarette ads.


See if you can translate the following words (or even guess the language):

zabalkundearen zioz ospatuko diren koktelera eta festara.

Klingon? And while you' re teasing that, let's tell you that wily Guggenheim czar Thomas Krens has discovered a way to bring Guernica to the Guggenheim Bilbao, after all.

Using the Basque Party in Spain's parliament as a cat's paw, Krens is backing legislation to make Guernica national property. Under Spanish law, this would entitle Bilbao, as well as every other Spanish region, to play host to Guernica for a while.

The language above, by the way, is Basque, and it's taken from the Goog's tri-lingual invitation to the Bilbao bash on Oct. 16, 1997.

In typically high-handed Krens-Gehry fashion, the invite throws down the architectural gauntlet by reprinting Gehry's notorious crushed paper doodle that inspired the Basquiette junk dome.

The message here: that the idealized doodle-based architecture popularized by Gehry and John Hejduk of Cooper Union can produce a new wonder of the museum world.

Tell it to Disney, Frankie!!!


New Brooklyn Museum director Arnold Lehman has gotten off on the wrong foot big time. According to museum staffers Lehman has already canceled a comprehensive Sam Francis retrospective and a smaller Sean Scully drawings show. Maybe he wants more camp -- back at the Baltimore Museum he had John Waters as a power trustee!


Frayed gallery nerves caused by the Feds' mystery investigation of price-fixing allegations among dealers and auction houses are even making the unsubpoenaed a little jumpy. Perhaps that's why Paula Cooper asked the Art Newspaper to issue the following correction in its September number:

"Anthony Grant's commentary on Ellsworth Kelly's Red Blue Green Yellow states that Ms. Cooper was part of a consortium of dealers who purchased the work at auction. Ms. Cooper has asked us to point out that she was not involved in the acquisition of this work."

Ah, the dread consortium!!!


Handsomest new collectible: the U.S. Post Office Humphrey Bogart 32¢ stamp, with an orange setting right out of Caspar David Friedrich.

Because of a couple of broken jaws, Humphrey had a saliva problem. Bogart's lovely wife Lauren Bacall called him " puddle." Bogie's screen actresses testified that his constant drooling made kissing problematic, even though Hump was a really nice guy.

Apparently Betty Bacall's dog is named " puddle" also, in tribute to the macho tough guy.


" When I went to Sweden to see Rauschenberg's goat, it changed my life."
      --Downtown impresario Simon


Those doubting that the British establishment unequivocally welcomed the death of Diana need look no further than the bizarre obituary published in the Economist, unbylined organ of Palace toffs.

Describing the public's hysterical mourning as "a cult," the Economist reports that Diana "could look beautiful in a sympathetic setting" and "had received little formal education," before "her humble job looking after tinies."

The stuffy mag goes on: "She was apparently a virgin, a rare qualification among the Prince's girlfriends" (Charles the stud, emphasis added!!).

Moreover, "her fancy was for offbeat causes: AIDS sufferers, lepers and land-mine victims."

Comparing Diana's obsession with the press to Lenin's (!!) of all people, the Economist frostily concludes: "Her adulteries, her conspicuous extravagance seemed only to enforce the view that she was a real person. In a speeding car crashed by a drunken driver with her latest lover by her side, Diana was a victim of 'fate,' whatever that means."

Get well wishes to Ileana Sonnabend, spotted in the emergency room at St. Vincent's Hospital in the Village.


Bob Rauschenberg spent the entire opening night of his show at the SoHo Guggenheim on Sept. 17 sheperding his brilliant new work with Tom Krens and Walter Hopps in tow. A review of this landmark show will follow Monday.


"When Marcel Duchamp put a bicycle seat on the wall and called it art, the world of decorating changed forever."
     -- Julie Iovine in the New York      Times' new House and Home section,
      Thurs., Sept. 18.

When the NYT debuts a new section, art history changes forever.

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