I confess, unlike Peter Schjeldahl who adores them, to hating every abstract work Gerhard Richter has ever attempted, including the deeply dull color charts. Of course, I worship all his other stuff, finding it superior to even Warhol, who in his subjective cynicism and pictorial ambiguity, is Richter's esthetic secret sharer.
So it was with reluctance last Wednesday that I strolled into the Drawing Center, on my way to lunch with a bunch of abstract painters, to eye three decades of Richter's doodles. The final death knell has landed on SoHo, by the way, now that the sainted Jeffrey Deitch has departed: his gallery has been ordered vacated as part of the demolition of the space next door at 47 Grand. Deitch's larger space on Wooster Street has a huge sign on it identifying is as "The Levis Walk-In Do-It-Yourself Photography Studio," some sort of tourist thingamabob.
Next to that space is the Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation, which has some nice photo self-portraits in the window. There was a piece of NYPD police tape outside the Spencer Brownstone Gallery entrance, for reasons that were unclear and, down the block, on an abandoned wall, a lush assortment of figurative graffiti, in front of which I attempted to kiss the veteran artist Rebecca Howland on the cheek, before she kindly informed that she had a cold.
One of the graffitos outside the old Deitch space was a paper piece, reading "some of the serfs even had two or three televisions," tres apropos to the election debacle the day before my SoHo walkabout. I mention all this to illustrate that the streets of lower SoHo had provided enough random abstraction for the afternoon, sufficient to render Richter's ephemera more than redundant (how Gerhard!).
I liked one tiny orange drawing in the show, a real crackerjack the size of your palm. When I consulted the Drawing Center website a moment ago, lo and behold, my tiny favorite stood alone on its home page. It's called R.O. 22 1984 or some such. Do me favor: in the spirit of the disimproved new SoHo, when you go over to the Drawing Center, steal it.
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).