News from New York: Larry Gagosian gets exposed while US presidents get hosed

Meanwhile, doctors form an art club and Mimran takes on Type A


Will Larry be laid bare?

There’s rumoured to be fear and trembling at Larry Gagosian Inc over the forthcoming tell-all memoir by art world “It” girl and (supposed) sometime lover of the great man himself, Nicollette Ramirez. Gagosian is known for his utter discretion when it comes to any element of his private life. Ms Ramirez certainly has a colourful past as a poetess who used to babysit for collectors Nina and Frank Moore and then sold rocks for Winick Diamonds on 47th street. Asked about her much-rumoured autobiography, which has the working title Sunshine Girl, Ms Ramirez chuckles knowingly: “It’s only a scandalous rumour until proven true! I suppose it could be considered scandalous but for me it’s just my life.” Yet the author admits Larry will certainly have a prominent part. “Yes, I suppose he might be considered a point of interest for many people and I have ‘insider-access’ so to speak! I don’t talk about his business affairs but I think his personal life is much more interesting and people know much less about it.” And as she happily adds: “If you want to see something really scandalous, watch me starring on the new programme ‘Naked Happy Girls’ on the Playboy channel where I perform with another young lady.”

Imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery

Swiss businessman-cum-artist Patrick Mimran has certainly had a varied career. He bought Lamborghini in 1980, when just 25, and re-made it into a successful luxury brand. As an artist, he exhibited his TV Babel tower at Marlborough in 2001 and found fame by buying billboard advertising throughout Chelsea for his cryptic pronouncements. But not everyone loves his big print one-liners (though the billboard company certainly do as he spends a rumoured $60K a year on them), his cruellest critic being the art collaborative group Type A. It will shortly unveil a new website which will critique Mimran’s works with the aim of “making Mimran a better artist” says a Type A spokesman. Now Type A has received a “cease and desist” letter from Mimran’s lawyers though their own counsel assures them there is no threat, or as their site now proclaims, again in the style of his own posters, Mimran “has no case”.

Art attack: doctors form appreciation society

Veteran artist Malcolm Morley realised that many health professionals were interested in art and subsequently formed his own “Doctors Art Club”. As instigator of the DAC, Morley took it upon himself to go through the New York phone book cold-calling practitioners to see if they might be interested in joining his group, “though I soon learnt to narrow it down to calling the Upper East side numbers”, he says. Having sent out some 300 emails, Morley got 15 positive responses back. Thus, he took his first group of prominent surgeons round Cheim & Read gallery where they had a special Joan Mitchell show put on for them. The group plans to meet every Thursday, every five weeks, with the next outing set for Morley’s own gallery Sperone Westwater, a rare cultural treat available to every medical expert at a bargain rate of only $45 for one or $65 for a couple.

University puts the boot into US Presidents...

The somewhat subversive exhibition “Mr. President” (State University of New York at Albany, until 1 April) includes a wide range of mischievous images of US presidents by contemporary artists. The works range from Warhol’s 1972 Vote McGovern, to Peter Saul’s satiric painting Dali Advises the President from 2004, Jonathan Herder’s witty riffs on presidential hairstyles and Jeffrey Vallance’s life-size wax sculpture of Nixon holding a copy of the Watergate tapes. In today’s climate this might not be rated the safest group-show for a university art museum, especially at the political HQ of New York State, where the exhibition has been directly supported by the Office of the Provost and even, most appropriately, by the Office of the President of the university. One of the show’s star turns is Dave McKenzie’s 2004 video We Shall Overcome (above), in which the artist dons a Clinton mask and tours the sidewalks of Harlem to comic bafflement.

...and George Bush gets a good kicking

Missing from this university round-up is a performance by the British artist Mark McGowan who, as we went to press, was set to open Scope art fair by dressing up as President Bush (below) and crawling on his hands and knees nonstop (albeit wearing pads) for some 72 hours, covering an estimated 36 miles of the streets of New York. McGowan said he would wear a sign saying “Kick my Ass” throughout the event. Though the artist may have garnered a bumper crop of advance publicity for his “transgressive” stunt, the real scandal seems to have gone unnoticed. Namely, that he should so blatantly rip off a work by veteran African-American artist William Pope.L who back in 2001 launched his Broadway Crawl in which he covered over 22 miles of Manhattan on his own hands and knees.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Exposed: Kiss’n’tell on Larry Gagosian'