Art of Friendship
The article written by Nikki Finke in L.A. Weekly [Deadline
Hollywood, “Blame Ovitz: When Art Started Imitating Hollywood,” November
18–24] might appear, on the surface, to be well researched, but in reality it
is an amalgamation of hearsay and quotations taken from articles published (in
Vanity Fair and New York magazine) over 20 years ago.
I have not spoken with Ms. Finke in more than six years and I have not spoken
with her about Mr. Ovitz or about anything attributed to me in this story in
more than a decade.
Many of the stories attributed to me are inaccurate and untrue.
The negative statements and comments attributed to me concerning Mr. Ovitz do
not accurately reflect my view.
For the record, Michael Ovitz has been a friend and a mentor for over 20 years.
Nikki Finke responds:
First, Mary Boone sat down for a long interview with me in her office with my
tape recorder on her desk. Because she has an extraordinary memory for detail,
I wound up with a 26-page single-space transcript which word for word accurately
reflects what I wrote in my article about her business relationship with Michael
Ovitz during his early days as a collector. (I omitted a small amount of material
which I deemed gossip, innuendo or too personal.) She also provided me with
ample documentation in the form of paperwork as well as the names, addresses
and phone numbers of people who could give me more information.
Second, Mary and I had a sad and heartfelt chat in 1999 soon after the death
of Leo Castelli was announced. At the time, I was thinking of making Leo’s Hollywood
connections one of my columns for New York magazine. Not only did she
agree to be interviewed by me again, but she clearly recollected her previous
interview with me as well as its contents. Actually, I do remember the subject
of Michael Ovitz did come up, but not in any depth.
Third, the vast majority of what she told me never appeared in print or broadcast
until my article, so there is no way possible I could have printed an “amalgamation
of hearsay and quotations,” as she puts it. Contrary to Mary’s claims, I made
it abundantly clear in my article where my information came from my interviews versus
previously published work by other media outlets. Several times, I disputed
what was printed elsewhere.
Finally, I will always be exceedingly grateful to Mary for helping educate me
in the ways of the NYC art world and its collectors like Ovitz. She was a wonderful
I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed Ms. Finke’s article on Michael
Ovitz and his strategy for acquiring art. I have painted for 25 years and followed
the gallery scene. Some of L.A.’s citizens have surprising collections, but
they are always those like Ovitz. The only taste they have is in their mouth.
Unfortunately, it always comes down to money, so such philistines can become
important. In the end, though, the truth comes out. I loved “The Birth of Venus”
and “Giaconda” nods in the artwork. Well done!
What a chilling story, and what a revelation [“Molested
Justice,” November 18–24]. While every devil must have his advocate, I find
it dismaying that the judge himself became the single greatest ally to the accused.
And I hold Judge Joseph Biderman chiefly responsible for the crimes that David
Newman, a documented predator, would later commit against more children. This
judge couldn’t have been a better ally to Newman if he had been on the defendant’s
France on Fire
Regarding the piece by Brendan Bernhard [“The
French Insurrection,” November 18–24] on the riots in France, this was one
of the very rare, sensible articles in your paper about social or political
issues. These riots have little to do with poverty or discrimination per se,
but rather an attitude that the infidels are always at fault, and that Islam
must always be in the driver’s seat of any society. This unfortunately dovetails
with most of the left’s attitude that the white/Western/Judeo-Christian world
is automatically at fault. It’s long overdue that Western countries wake up
to the fact that they are being colonized.