Holy Wood! It’s Marilyn Manson

My friends and I wanted to see Marilyn Manson, plain and simple.

And if our instinct was anything to go by, so were most of the cell-phone-toting set gathered at THE … GALLERY in Hollywood for the (invite only, woo hoo!) Monday night opening of “Holy Wood” — an exhibit of photo artwork conceived by the shock rocker and his collaborator P.R. Brown.

Being an art thing, we arrived a requisite hour and a half late at the Hollywood spot, each and every minute of the way mulling in our heads who (celebs!) and what (weirdos) awaited our entrance.

After passing the door guy and the door, we set foot into a commonplace tableau — by Los Angeles standard — where people of largely similar hairdos and hipness (besides a couple of Goth kids) crowded the space, drinking wine and rubbing elbows to see and be seen.

And unless he was going incognito in a baseball cap and khakis, there was neither Marilyn Manson nor his galpal Rose McGowan nor anyone recognizable at the event.

And rather than the rock provocateur, we had to settle instead for his art.

And the art …

Now we don’t claim any expertise in the area of art history or anything, but to our untrained eyes at least, the photos — with titles such as “Evolution 1,” “Holywood,” “Cruci-Fiction In Space” — were visual knock-offs of artist-photographer Joel-Peter Witkin mixed with long, and no doubt laborious, hours of Photoshop slave work.

According to the press release, the photos — with Manson looking gothically freakish over and over again in almost every one of them — are a comment on America’s obsession with celebrity.

And it was only upon leaving the gallery that the irony of this whole thing became apparent to us: Isn’t that the only reason why everyone (OK, including us) were there in the first place.

Holy Wood, indeed.