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TOYS IN THE ATTIC
by Charlie Finch
 
Collector Daniel Loeb recently told a friend that Art Review had misreported that he owned 125 pieces by the late artist Martin Kippenberger. "Iíve got 200," he said.

Galleriste Amalia Dayan and her squeeze Adam Lindemann show off their bric-a-brac in a loving photo spread in last weekís New York magazine: they lounge on Franz West chairs, use a Warhol Brillo Box as a table, while gazing at simplistic signage by Tim Noble & Sue Webster and Jack Pierson.

Collector Richard Massey journeyed to the studio of second-year Columbia graduate student Natalie Frank and dropped $35,000 on four paintings and seven drawings. All thatís left are the half-dozen paintings Natalie set aside for her debut solo show at Briggs Robinson Gallery next February.

Jack Bankowsky dithers and dathers about the esthetics of art-fair art in the October Artforum, attempting to discern if there is an avant-garde element in doing site-specific installations at art fairs. We say, "Just write the checks."

We stopped by Donald Sultanís Tribeca studio last week to watch him ship out paintings of lush orange flowers on black tar to galleries in Barcelona and Majorca. He even showed us the vat where his assistants mix the tar, his own black gold.

Somewhere suicide bombers destroy resorts, southern cities drift into high water and avian flu clucks darkly on winterís horizon, but not here, not in the toyland of art.

Indeed, in toyland chaos and destruction can be a wry joke suspended in aspic, viz. Adam Cvijanovicís weightless, fragmented Los Angeles at Bellwether or Yinka Shonibareís decapitated dandies on cycles at James Cohan. What invisible cloaking device protects toylands from the creeping implications of a wider world?

Well, itís money, of course. An investment banker friend of ours recently tried to explain a deal between a 30-something trust funded dealer and his major collector friend, "You see, Charlie, the dealer put $1 million into his palís investment fund, and the collector pal immediately returned the million bucks to the dealer for all those sculptures by that dead European artist, so that they carry the million one way as an asset, and the reverse way as a business expense and the artwork makes them money whether it appreciates or depreciates."

The next "it name" on the money tree is apparently David Salle. Jeffrey Deitch and Mary Boone are doing a joint Chelsea show of Salleís "revolutionary" vortex paintings on West 24th Street this month, and sources tell us that Victoria Miro is about to launch a major Salle push in London.

So all you hedgehogs, sharpen your (financial) instruments, er. . . quills. Something tells us that a lot of toys will have to crumble, before art really matters again.


CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).