Appropriation of Andy Warhol hit a new low at the Gagosian Gallery’s uptown space on Halloween night, where the central gallery was festooned in Douglas Gordon collages of mirrors and ripped, burned Andy images of Jackie, John Wayne, Elvis, etc. Lou Reed took one look at pink and yellow bananas from the Velvet Underground cover and promptly left. Nearby attendees peeled off posters from a pile referencing Warhol’s Most Wanted, a la Felix Gonzales-Torres.
The tomb-and-gloom motif was underscored by black walls and a mirror on the ceiling. Recruiting name artists such as Gordon and Gavin Turk into the Warhol appropriation business seems to be the new marketing tool of Vincent Fremont and the Warhol Foundation with their various gallery enablers. It’s hard to imagine that rich suckers would line up to buy this stuff, but assuming they do, the possibilities are endless. Pick an artist, any artist, and pay them enough to do Warhols: Mary Heilmann could do camouflages, Robert Colescott "The Death and Disaster Series", Ettore Sottsass the electric chairs, or, better yet, call "1-800-FLOWERS" for Andy’s Flowers.
Cynicism is not enough of a bulwark in the face of such developments; it requires a complete suspension of disbelief. Larry Gagosian supervised the Gordon room with his usual aplomb. Some future dealer may do the same with Jeff Koons, as artists yet unborn devote their lives to recreating variations on basketballs and Cicciolina. I give you a hall of mirrors, art fans, and every one is black!
Douglas Gordon, "Self-portrait of You + Me, after the Factory," Oct. 31-Dec. 15, 2007, at Gagosian Gallery, 980 Madison Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10075.
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).