On an evening stroll through Chelsea last Thursday I bumped into a cherry Carolyn Alexander of Alexander & Bonin gallery, who informed me, "I just cashed my first Social Security check, Charlie. Ted and I have three years left on our lease, then, who knows, we might move uptown."
I stopped in at Marianne Boesky to pick up a copy of This, the new magazine of artists' writings, then swung by Charlie Cowles Gallery for a show of paintings that resemble Fabergé eggs by my old gallery partner Melinda Hackett. James Surls, showing in the front room, chatted up a youthful looking Barbara Rose, in bleached blonde hair and pastel schmatta. Surls' sculptures on Park Avenue near Lever House are burnished blue pinwheels of special majesty.
303 Gallery advertised a new show of photographs by Stephen Shore, but, once inside the gallery, it was Shore's teenage photos of Andy, Edie, Chuck Wein and the rest of the Factory crowd, adorning the walls. It’s a sign of desperation when all that will sell is the patina of Andy. Thinking of the Velvet Underground music blasting through Richard L. Feigen & Co.’s Ray Johnson show,, now on view uptown, I thought, "The ‘60s won't save us, it's as if, back then, we walked around humming Stephen Foster songs and mourning the end of slavery."
I hopped a cab to Baby Grand, the new karaoke bar on Grand and Lafayette, which has a small gallery in the front showing photos by Christopher Dawson, who was a hit at Knoedler & Co. last summer. Dawson specializes in snapping the scenes outside famous trials. He was having a beer in the bar and told me, "Trials are thin on the ground, Charlie. My next gig is the Madoff sentencing." Friends tell me that they have spotted Bernie on Shelter Island, where the Feds may have him relaxing and ratting on his hedge fund pals, but the mainstream press still has the crook of the century locked up in the MCC downtown.
Friends aging gracefully, artist-produced books, nostalgic shows and me emptying Baby Grand by warbling MacArthur Park. Someone left the cake out in the rain.
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).