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review

HOMMAGE TO CLAYTON PATTERSON

By BORIS LURIE

Catalog NO!art Show No 3, Janos Gat Gallery, New York 1998

Everybody knows that Mr. Patterson is the mayor of the Lower East Side, in fact not just a lazy-ballot-wise elected mayor, but a History-appointed Fuehrer. When he walks the streets of the Lower East Side, followed by his armaments'-keeper Else Reensa, armed with television x-ray apparatura, battle-dressed with a red beard and fright'ning skull-and-deathbones almost SS looking cap—the sidewalks of the former Jewish Lower East Side tremble.

The bearded and proletarian Jews don't live there any more to tremble. The sorry neo-Yuppies, who've occupied the neighborhood now, don't tremble, because they were born just yesterday. This is an age when the artists rule the world: it's they who've liberated us from the curse of the Evil Empire. It's they who run the Wall Street global economy so profitably. It is the Andy Warhols and the Keith Harings (and Rauschenbergs and Jasper Johnses, particularly Frank Stella) who single-handedly have elevated us to become the Fuehrer of the Culture World.

Not only Culture World but World, wherever in Indonesia and Africa and the former Soviet Union that it might thrive, the gay world. But Clayton Patterson, though he appreciates the organizational and financial accomplishments of acclaimed left-wing revolutionary geniuses like the deceased Warhol's—just stubbornly refuses to make profit, from this art-business/world.

And why?—his phony mephistophelic red beard is just too red for that. Though if they whistle for the Kanuk, could he resist the call of the Canadian Wild? The Great Reformer Gorbachev could not resist the Siren's aria. But Mayor Clayton puts himself in such an obnoxious light, instinctively perhaps, foregoing the norms and ways and how one should behave at gentle openings and learn how one is meant to talk. Jew-York and not backwoods Kanuks, the call from the wilds will likely never have a chance to come. Meantime—he works on the telephone, and even more intensely than how the Wall Street brokers harangue-telephone. And Art (Great Modern, or post-Modern or whatnot) isn't anymore what the graduates of noble universities accept as fact: the avantgardes thrive only through the outside, unloved people. And wasn't Van Gogh, Chayim Soutine, outside Soho salons?

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