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by Charlie Finch
It’s hard to imagine that the new fall season of New York’s art world could be any hotter than the last few, but it is.

Damian Loeb, a 1990s star who has been in mothballs for awhile, returns with an auction-ready private preview Sept. 4, 2008, his first show at uptown powerhouse Acquavella Galleries. The work appears to be conservative landscapes drawn from a variety of media sources. Another private soiree on Sept. 5 marks Isca-Greenfield Sanders’ second show at Chelsea’s Goff & Rosenthal. Isca expands her range with paintings based on scenes from the Korean War.

The DVD release of Cool School, the documentary about Walter Hopps and the Los Angeles art scene he created in the ‘60s, segues into a show at Mary Boone’s uptown space of a titanic Angeleno artist, John Altoon, who catalyzed that scene and died young. One more martyr for the auction market! Boone’s nostalgic bent also surfaces in a group show organized at her Chelsea space by her former boss at the Bykert Gallery, Klaus Kertess, drolly titled "Hooking Up" and featuring such rookies as Barry LeVa and Mel Bochner.

Another artist recently featured in a summer doc "Beautiful Losers," Chris Johanson, installs a panoply of decorative obsession at Deitch Projects, and decoration dresses the body in the exciting Catherine Opie retro at the Guggenheim, which, while highlighting her tattooed goddesses, will also feature her gorgeous surfscapes and a wide range of in-camera meditations which may mark Opie as an American Richter.

Opie is just one of a Rushmore of female art presidents who will get their due this fall, including Elizabeth Peyton and Mary Heilmann, back to back at the New Museum. Then, critics and collectors alike can take a deep breath and prepare for Judgment Day, the Marlene Dumas circus at the Museum of Modern Art in December. Clichéd dabbler or de Kooning/Vermeer, a muse from the gods of wrath, you decide.

The candy store is open and New York art gourmands can only drool in delight.

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