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Nov. 10, 2006 
An interested compilation of this week's doings in the world art capital.

The critics hate Fur for its script, which is portentous and absurd by turns. But does this Through the Looking Glass (i.e., fantasized) treatment of Diane Arbus’ artistic awakening, starring Nicole Kidman, have anything to recommend it to the art world? Well, Diane’s annoying upstairs neighbor, a former sideshow freak covered with hair like a Wookie, invites her to give him a total shave, which she does -- and he turns out to be a rather worse-for-wear Robert Downey Jr. Yikes! It makes one yearn for the beast in Jean Cocteau’s 1946 Belle et la Bête, who transformed quite magically, without all that shaving, thank you very much, into the breathtakingly handsome Jean Marais.

While Berlin laments the loss its Ernst Ludwig Kirchner masterpiece, Berlin Street Scene (1913-14), which sold at Christie’s this week for a record $38 million, it’s good to remember that the Berlin streets were a favorite subject for lots of artists. In fact, in Christie’s day sale is an even tougher version by George Grosz from 1928, Bettler Strassenszene Berlin, complete with his trademark mix of riffraff and bourgeoisie, and estimated at a mere $50,000-$70,000. Buy it!

Pronounced "Bee-chum" -- he’s American, not French! -- the late Robert Beauchamp (1923-95) spent the 1980s and ‘90s making hallucinatory works that combine slapdash painterly razzmatazz with an intense figurative focus, primarily by filling in black contour lines with an explosion of color and pigment. Now on view at David Findlay Jr. on the 11th floor of the Fuller Building at 41 East 57th Street is a group of 17 portraits, with and without alligators, unicorns and other fauna, priced in the $10,000-$42,000 range, that have a timely resonance with the decorative technique of Gustav Klimt’s Secessionist portraits.

Sotheby’s has recently been using the billboard on 10th Avenue in New York’s Chelsea art district to advertise its contemporary sales, no doubt as something of a lark. This month, the huge sign features an image of Jeff Koons’ polychromed wood sculpture of three cupids attending to a garlanded pig, otherwise known as Ushering in Banality (1988). It goes on the block Nov. 14, 2006, with a presale estimate of $3,200,000-$3,800,000.

Cory Arcangel’s second solo show at Team, which inaugurated the gallery’s new space on Grand Street across from Deitch Projects, has closed -- but one work remains especially accessible. The Glockenspiel Addendum, priced at $40 in an edition of 300, is a 12-in. vinyl for which Arcangel composed and performed glockenspiel parts for five of the eight songs on Bruce Stringsteen’s Born to Run album (Bruce provided glockenspiel in the originals on the other three tracks). Play both together, and you’re (supposedly) in glock heaven. For ordering info, see

Is there anything more emblematic of the 21st century than a young woman artist of African American and Hispanic descent who also has a Yale MFA? Meet Loren Holland, whose current exhibition at Anna Kustera Gallery at 521 West 21st Street, her first New York solo show, features exotic, ironic paintings and drawings by the L.A. native. Among the works are a series of contemporary "casta" drawings (a bargain at $1,200 each).

The U.S. debut of English artist Ron Mueck (b. 1958), who worked for the Muppet Show in Los Angeles before galvanizing the critics with his Dead Dad (1996-97) in "Sensation," features 10 crowd-pleasing sculptures, including a nine-foot-tall naked Wild Man sitting on a stool and the eight-foot-long model of a newborn baby, all at the Brooklyn Museum in spaces usually filled by Rodin sculptures. The most uncanny effect in a gallery of Wax Museum uncanny effects? The way these inert creatures seem to stare with bewilderment at. . .  each other.

As we all know, amateurs enter the world of haute esthetics at their own risk! Thus, the silly spectacle of Vanity Fair’s special "Art Issue" this month, from its gross cover photo of Brad Pitt showered in sputum by Robert Wilson to an "It List" that names Mark Kostabi as an "extraterrestrial," a 20-year-old joke (though always better than "troll-like," a term which would describe the VF editor and the mag’s special art correspondent). And, the official "art media list" fails to include Artnet, an omission we don’t hold against them at all, the dumb socialite-obsessed suck-ups.

Though his much-anticipated solo show at Gagosian Gallery at 980 Madison Avenue doesn’t open until Nov. 11-Dec. 22, 2006, and all we have today is the invitation card, everyone knows by now that the Norman Rockwell of the avant-garde has turned to hardcore porn in his search for subjects, at least some of them. "Think it’s a career-breaker?" he asked a recent visitor to his studio. If anyone can redeem this stuff as art, Currin can.