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NY NY Happy Happy
An art event goes awry
As far as charity galas go, the Rhizome benefit at the New Museum a few weeks ago was more or less uneventful until, around the midpoint of the evening, the Chippendales crashed the party. Up until then, there were hints of the British artist Ed Fornieles’s subversive take on a glamorous gala, New York New York Happy Happy (NY NY HP HP), a “semi-fictional benefit” that was part of Performa 13—like the emcee’s request for everyone to hold hands, or actors with hidden agendas circulating among the guests. But then the male strippers began stripping, both themselves and others—”He undid my bra from inside my top!” said one very impressed audience member. “So I had to give it to him!”—and the evening quickly unraveled. In the end, it became an indecipherable orgy of entangled bodies. “I didn’t really know what to expect,” said the New Museum director Lisa Phillips. “But did you see that man take his pants off in front of me?” We did, Lisa. We even have the video.