My editor Walter Robinson has just forbidden me to write about the new exhibition at the Bowman/Bloom Gallery on East 7th Street, a three-person show including punk pioneer Richard Hell and Brigitte Engler, with the nifty title "The NinCompatibles." Somebody in the show has done dirt-cheap painterly confections of the major female stars of the day seductively sucking their fingers.
The guy who made these Liquitex bons bons even refused to confirm to me that his subjects are Blake Lively, Meghan Fox, Taylor Swift, etc., although his longtime girlfriend helpfully confirmed that the girl in the floppy hat with the pencil in her mouth ("she looks smart," he said) is Jessica Alba. Anyway, the opening was definitely a tribute to age before beauties, as every veteran East Village geezer, including your scribe, arrived to pay tribute to the Artist Without a Name (at least for the rest of this meager column), as well as Hell and Engler (a law firm).
First in the door was Peter Schjeldahl, who has long praised Mr. Anonymous as an avatar of trashy expressionism, quickly followed by Gary Indiana, complete with a Troy Donahue bleached hair bob and David Hershkovits and Kim Hastreiter of Paper magazine. David ran for mayor of New York awhile back, and I told him how I regretted not being able to vote for him this year. All present were quickly interviewed by Mr. Nameless' ex-Gallery Beat colleague, Paul H-O, with his new journo partner, artist Lisa Levy.
Veteran East Village comix couple Marguerite Van Cook and James Romberger arrived with their handsome filmmaker son Crosby, while my equally good-looking cousin, the teenage actor Julian Brand, asked folks to reminisce about Allen Ginsberg. Tom Otterness was soon, as President Obama likes to say, "in the house," followed by the brilliant expressionist Ouattara Watts, fresh off some recent major sales to a Texas collector.
The great ironiste Becky Howland waved hello, as did portrait artist Terry Sanders. Meanwhile, the Artist Who Shall Not Be Named Later could barely budge from the front door for three hours as well-wishers tugged at his brown corduroy jacket, chugged rivers of just-above-mediocre vino and generally expressed a quantum of relief that they could all return to the glorious East Village scene for an evening, thanks to Bowman and Bloom, or, as they are known on St. Mark's Place, The Producers.
Fittingly, the gal who started it all, right there, dealer Gracie Mansion, now sporting a gorgeous mane of wolf gray hair, was the last to arrive. What's His Name was still meetin' and greetin' at the door. His paintings, at least those left that people didn't succeed in stealing, can be had for around $1,000. Why watch them on TV, when you can hang an actress on your wall?
"Nincompatibles," Nov. 4-Dec. 14, 2009, at Bowman / Bloom Gallery, 95 East 7th Street, New York, N.Y. 10009
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).