Friday, June 03, 2005

Who is Gorgon?

Not since "Janet Preston" (aka Charlie Finch) made the pages of Coagula sizzle and squirm has a pseudonymous writer offered up the sort of steaming art world dish that "Gorgon" has been pumping out on With only three published pieces, Gorgon's "Irreverent Truths" has become the must-read gossip column (sorry, Bambino). Here's just a taste from the latest:

[Powerful New York art dealer Matthew] Marks may be "conspicuously slavish in his devotion to his artists" -- false personalization at its insinuating best -- but there's clearly an ulterior motive to it. And there's also the "haughty remove" at which Marks keeps himself from the collectors on whom he's dependent. He's apparently "very good at imitating those silly people and the way they talk" or commenting on "what silly thing Aggie Gund" -- former president of the Museum of Modern Art, and thus a power that was and is -- "was wearing when he last saw her. She's a terrible dresser, and Matthew and Jack love to talk about it." It's all in the family -- the quotation is from art historian Robert Rosenblum, another member of the family -- but there's also the wish to humiliate and mock, perhaps because Marks and [former Artforum editor and boyfriend to Marks, Jack] Bankowsky are neither artists nor art historians, but upstart art-bankers, which must make them feel inferior.

Of course, my first thought when I started to read "Gorgon" was to suspect Mr. Finch had adopted a new pen name. Why would he do this when he has his own column on, you ask? Well, perhaps to separate the signed columns in which he's been shamelessly plugging this or that friend's gallery or art from those in which he's re-indulging in his lost art of ripping art folks a new one. Consider that--as one reviewer of Coagula's collected essays "Most Art Sucks" put it:

Coagula magazine is pretty much Matt Gleason and Charlie "Janet Preston" Finch bitching about the capitalist motives behind the contemporary art world. The emphasis here is on the art WORLD, not really the art. I think if you boiled all their ranting down to one argument it would be something like, "The contemporary art world suffers from compromised objectives and financial self-interest due to art world particpants performing dual duties such as the collector-curator, critic-collector, etc."
That also pretty much well describes the subject matter of "Irreverent Truths'" first three columns (1 [on "important art celebrity news"]; 2 [on how "Greater New York" proved it's time to "purge the moneylenders from the temple of art"]; and this latest one on the MM [Matthew Marks] empire).

The problem with this theory however is that the writing styles are vastly different. Finch is a virtuoso of the English language, each of his columns reading like it was written by the absinthe-intoxicated homophobic love child of Wilde and Baudelaire. "Gorgon" is much more clumsy.

Another possible clue to "Gorgon's" identity though may be found in the fact that two of the three columns so far stemmed largely from articles in New York Magazine, AND in the latest piece, "Gorgon" takes a gratuitous pot shot at the art critic of New York Magazine's competitor The New Yorker, Peter Schjeldahl. Could it be that simple though? Could "Gorgon" be a frustrated New York Magazine critic? Two cites are not that much evidence, I'll grant you, but it does seem a possibility.

Perhaps it's even easier though. Perhaps it's Matt Gleason (is he on the East coast now)?

Any other guesses?


Blogger Tyler said...

Matt's still in LA.

6/03/2005 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

hmmmm...any insight then tyler?

6/04/2005 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger Tyler said...

Wellll Charlie does look like a gorgon...

6/05/2005 06:28:00 PM  

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