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Celebrity Art 5/5/99
by Baird Jones
  Britcrit Matthew Collings' latest book roistering the New York art scene, It Hurts (published by David Bowie's 21 Press), contains an explosive report in which the Beat poet John Giorno describes -- or claims to describe -- actual sexual behavior by the notoriously celibate Prince of Pop, Andy Warhol. Collings relates how Giorno "gives public readings, declaiming theatrically. One is about the time Andy suddenly threw himself at Giorno's feet and began licking his shoes and then masturbated on them. Giorno never liked to have sex with him because he found him too plain. It was Warhol's mind he liked. But he would allow him an occasional blow job." Could it be true, or is it poetic license? Collings goes on, "Giorno also claims that Warhol's pioneering film Sleep [an eight-hour film of Giorno sleeping] was hardly the au naturel no-edit masterpiece that it was credited as being. Giorno claims that 'He put together all the shots that showed good light and shade and abstract form, so it wouldn't look too gay.'"

I remember Billy Name once told me that Andy spent an insane amount of money filming Sleep and was very anxious that the factory entourage never find out the size of the budget -- which makes sense now that the great expense is revealed.

In London, Paloma Picasso, the 49-year-old daughter of artist Pablo Picasso, has married French gynecologist Eric Thevennet. With her first husband, Rafael Lopez-Cambil, she built a fashion-and-perfume empire with estimated annual sales of $825 million. Picasso and Lopez-Cambil divorced three months ago. Paloma is said to have forked over a settlement of over a $100 million, because she had unwisely attributed much of her company's success to her husband in a WWD interview.

Rocker David Bowie was among the crowd at British bad girl Tracey Emin's opening on May 1 at Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York's SoHo district. Bowie seemed transfixed by a series of drawings which bore such scrawled inscriptions as "Free and Really Wet" and "My Cunt is Wet With Fear." Nothing timid about the prices, either, which start at $2,500 for small drawings on paper. Bowie told dealer Rachel Lehman that he was very interested in buying the drawings and they agreed to meet later to discuss the deal. But when starstruck bohemians encircled Bowie asking which work he intended to purchase, the singer insisted that he was just at the gallery "wife-hunting." His model wife Iman shortly made her appearance, sporting a new short haircut, which turned out to be a good match for her husband's surprisingly long coiffeur. The pair finally beat a hasty retreat when one of the odd SoHo hangers-on mistakenly started shouting, "Iggy Pop, Iggy Pop, I love your music, I've seen all your concerts!" Other groupie types attempted to get Bowie and his missus to autograph the Emin invitation, a color poster that showed the 36-year-old artist topless in a bath with surprisingly dark nipples.

Sarah Ferguson is coming back, at least to Madame Tussaud's in London. The Duchess of York's wax likeness was removed after her divorce from Prince Andrew, but now will be returned to please the tourists. "A lot of overseas visitors ask where she is," said a museum official. "Some are aghast she is left out."

Jeff Koons may be having trouble coming up with the cash to fabricate the giant silver toy replicas that were to be his "Celebration" series, but his doggie vases are selling like hotcakes. Koons recently designed an all-white porcelain vase in the shape of a terrier puppy, and had an edition of 3,000 produced by the Italian manufacturing firm Porcellana d'Arte Cesare Villari (which produced his Michael Jackson and Bubbles kitsch masterpiece, one copy of which was bought for over a million dollars by L.A. collector Eli Broad). The puppy vase retails for $1,250 and 1,800 have been sold in Europe alone. In the U.S. the vase is marketed by Art of This Century, Inc. in Gladwyne, Pa. For info call (610) 660-0734.

At a recent show of his paintings at David Beitzel Gallery in SoHo, comic actor Martin Mull said that even as an art student at the Rhode Island School of Design, he didn't paint the real world but was instead pulled into "a dream-like parallel universe." The 55-year-old star of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman insisted, "I'm not like one of those super-narcissistic actors who can stare at a black and white 8 by 10 photo of himself for eight hours. Every time I try to, I find that after two hours I just get too upset that the frame isn't good enough."

Among Mull's projects is a commission from Red Roof Inns, which bought the work as a gift for the Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Mull was on the scene to launch Red Roof Inn´s new campaign "Paint the Town Red" and to present his painting Halcyon Afternoon to the hospital.

Cox News reports that Burt Reynolds' defunct Carousel Jupiter Theatre in Florida is being converted into Christ's Church of the Palm Beaches. But first, church elders are holding an auction of a few things that Reynolds left behind. Among the souvenirs are pictures autographed to Reynolds by Woody Allen, Jackie Gleason and Mae West, and a photograph of Reynolds with the Pope. "People will pay good money for this stuff," said D. Cooper Getschal, director of worship. "We're counting on it."

"I think the whole 'sensitive young artist' myth is bull. Everyone I know who has any amount of success can be a real bastard, and I certainly include myself in that wild generalization.'' -- Eric Stoltz, quoted in Rolling Stone.

ArtNews reports that Madonna may be interested in playing Salvador Dali's wife Gala in a biopic based on the controversial new book, The Shameful Life of Salvador Dali, by Ian Gibson. Academy Award-winning screenwriter Roger Avary (for Pulp Fiction, which he cowrote with Quentin Tarantino) is readying a treatment of Gibson's Lorca and Dali's tales. Avary prepared his script while staying at the St. Regis Hotel, Dali's favorite haunting ground in his last years, even growing a Dali-esque moustache that he claims took him eight months to perfect. Artnews claims that several other Dali films are in the works as well.

BAIRD JONES can be reached at