Mildly diverting debut that good-naturedly satirizes trendy art movements, Soho artists, gallery owners, newspaper critics,...

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STILLED LIFE

Mildly diverting debut that good-naturedly satirizes trendy art movements, Soho artists, gallery owners, newspaper critics, up-to-the-next-minute patrons, androgynous esthetes, and bossy women bosses. Between the private and public openings of the Orloff Gallery's Kheel exhibit--representing virtually all of the artist's (Joseph Cornell-like) constructions--the entire assemblage is trashed, then artistically arranged in the middle of the gallery space with a quasi-biblical, hand-lettered quote topping the pile. Worse, gallery owner Emil is found in the basement with a syringe embedded in his arm, a sharp, cataclysmic dent in his cranium, and an enema bag filled with coffee by his side. His partner Rhea, a feisty, take-charge businesswoman, resolves to find out whodunit--despite the warnings to stay out of it by smitten cop John Tennyson. Was Emil's death drug-related? Was Kheel's work sabotaged by a jealous ne'er-do-well artist? Soon Rhea is feeling sexy about Tennyson but cavorting with Kheel, ordering herself a man's suit at Armani, firing and then rehiring Emil's dope-friend Catherine, arranging a ""death memorial"" Kheel exhibit to attract, she hopes, the culprit(s)--and finally putting together the story with the aid of fingerprints, Emil's bizarre promotional genius, Kheel's egoism and greed, and Tennyson's strategic eavesdropping. An amiable, fast read--with a tart, puckish heroine, genially bizarre plot complications, and a few laughs for art lovers. Rhea just may stay in business for a while, and good luck to her.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 1988

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1988