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THE GILDED CAGE
by Charlie Finch
 
The news that party girls Shamim Momin and Thelma Golden comprise part of a go-go team of curators under the stern supervision of homeroom teacher Donna De Salvo for the (sigh) 2008 Whitney Biennial is a golden moment for the Whit to summarize the sizzling contemporary art scene.

A model of the Aby Rosen/Norman Foster tower, rejected by the Landmarks Preservation Commission for erection across Madison Avenue, would greet revelers in the lobby. A miniature replica of the High Line could guide partygoers to their drinks up the stairs.

An ersatz auction room would fill the fourth floor surrounded on the walls by the top contemporary selling pieces on 2007, say Nurses by Richard Prince and a weedy battle scene by Barnaby Furnas.

For performance art, a piñata full of cash, created by that "revolutionary" David Hammons, would await the lucky holder of a ticket from a drawing. Thelma herself will crack it open with a (small) John McCracken, spilling Franklins on the floor.

DVDs of works by Eve Sussman, Doug Aitken and Stan Douglas would be available at the gift counter for $100,000 apiece, sponsored by Ameican Express, whose card alone could be used to buy those treasures.

Maurizio Cattelan could circulate through the crowd dressed as Larry Gagosian, offering raffle tickets to Gogoís annual Christmas bash in St. Bartís. Hedge-funders Daniel Loeb and Stephen Cohen would sign risk gift certificates as conceptual art and place them on the wall for instant resale.

Imitating the Righteous Brothers, Lenny and Ronny Lauder will wail Soul and Inspiration on a diamond bandstand designed by Rikrit Tirivanija, backed by the Damien Hirst Big Band.

Jeff Koons masks would be "de rigueur" at the opening (does his expression ever change?) and Timothy Greenfield-Sanders could photograph collectors, for a fee, with Thelma and Shamim sitting on their laps in the latest Imitation of Christ dresses.

Best of all, Adam "Presshog" Weinberg: the reviews in the New York Times would glow and glow. Why suck up to Carol Vogel when you can go right to the Styles section? Biennial curators, you have nothing to lose but your self-respect, but after a few Cosmopolitans drunk in front of Bill Cunningham and Patrick McMullan, who cares?

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



 



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