What: ACRIA's Unframed 2013: Focus on Photography, a silent auction and cocktail party hosted by Olivier Theyskens and curated by Stewart Shining.
Where: The Sean Kelly Gallery in New York.
When: May 20
Who: A mix of fashion editors in airy, summer ensembles; designers like Peter Som, Prabal Gurung, Johan Lindeberg and Bibhu Mohapatra; and artsminded girls about town Sofia Sanchez, Arden Wohl, Rebecca de Ravenel and Michelle Harper.
Why: The intersection of fashion, art and photography can prove an irresistible mix--especially for such a good cause (proceeds went to ACRIA's support for and research of HIV and AIDS). Theyskens even had a hand in adding work by Craig McDean, Arthur Elgort and Thomas Whiteside to the silent auction offerings. "I thought I could propose people who are more famous for fashion photography but also have a great, artistic voice," said the designer, who owns works by Ellen von Unwerth and Karl Lagerfeld and had his eye on a photograph by Edward Mapplethorpe.
Photo: Neil Rasmus/BFAnyc.com
Samantha Boardman Rosen and Aby Rosen
To be fair, he certainly put every inch of the space to good use. In one corner was a mini-wall of real flowers in front of which guests could pose for photos. Bookending the second floor booth, where DJ Nick Cohen manned the turntables, were two dancers performing some kind of meditative, interpretative routine. And in between two downstairs bars was a woman in a flowing white gown whose sole purpose was to fly through the air on a multi-story swing, like a lost Cirque du Soleil acolyte. Every so often, a man named Victor would sweep her into his arms and whisk her out of the room, presumably to rest, before carrying her back out for another round on the swing.
“I’m just trying to keep everyone safe,” he said, as he watched her sway.
“Everyone” was an appropriate word choice considering the boldface names that packed the lobby, lounging on oversized velvet ottomans and tufted sofas. There was Eva Chow chatting with Vera Wang. And Carlos de Souza posing for cameras with Nicky Hilton. And Bono being trailed by Guy Oseary, who acted as a bodyguard shooing away fans (even among the famous, there is a hierarchy, after all). And Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis in a red cap, not unlike what a bellboy would wear. And Olivier Theyskens who eyed the swing and said, “I want to try that,” but obviously didn’t.
Waiters passed out everything from smoked salmon with caviar to cotton candy and tequila shots, complete with a bowl of limes.
“I know how to drink tequila,” said one woman when a server tried to explain the process to her.
There was a popcorn machine, too—I mean, why not?—giving one corner of the lobby the enticing scent of a buttery movie theater.
“This IS like a movie,” shrugged Cynthia Rowley as she grabbed a box for herself and moments later confetti dropped from the ceiling to ring in Rosen’s birthday.
Well, if one were to think in cinematic terms, Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby would have to come to mind. What was it Jordan said about large parties? “He gives large parties and I like large parties. They’re so intimate. Small parties, there isn’t any privacy.” The woman has a point.
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Photo: Billy Farrell Agency
But lest anyone think this was a rehashing of past glory days, guests were given bracelets proclaiming “#newversus”. The night served as a launching pad for the, well, new Versus line, now a seasonless collection of brightly colored knits and graphic black and white ensembles. “We decided to bring the new Versus Versace back to New York because this is where it all started and where it belongs,” said Versace. “This city represents the energy of the brand and its rebellious and unconventional nature.”
Forty-five minutes into the party, the lights came up on a huge glassed-in rectangular room—a makeshift backstage where Versace and Anderson could be seen tending to models before they stomped around a U-shaped runway, punctuated with performances by Angel Haze, Dead Sara and Grimes, all projected on two huge screens. Fans pressed themselves up against the glass for a glimpse of Donatella as she, variously, paced through the room; tweaked models’ outfits, and at one point, sat on a zebra-striped ottoman with Anderson to watch the show on smaller TV screens. It was all rather meta.
“Oh my god, it’s Donatella!” screamed one long-haired chap, seemingly on the verge of a hysterical breakdown.
“She’s JUST like she should be!” sighed his companion.
Forget the clothes—as charming as they were. This was theatre and performance art rolled into one sweaty, throbbing package.
And Versace and the musical talents weren’t the only source of entertainment. Throughout the night, guests could hitch a ride on a tricked out pedicab decorated with a tower of handbags. “I can take you anywhere you want,” said Miles, the dapper driver, grinning slyly. “Over the rainbow and back. No, seriously.” I might just have believed him.
Photo: Sherly Rabbani & Josephine Solimene
Glynn’s installation, which is part of Frieze Projects, taps into a recent art-world trendlet: the rise of the artist-proprietor. For an exhibition at Hauser & Wirth last month of the work of the late maverick Dieter Roth, his son Bjorn created Roth New York, a bar berthed permanently within the massive Chelsea gallery (which used to house the roller club Roxy). And a few blocks south, it’s perpetually five o’clock in Alex Hubbard’s well-stocked portable bars, which are part of his show on view now at Maccarone.
The interior of Bar Oppenheimer
Of course, these art-y watering holes are opening in galleries and beneath the tent of a mega-art fair. “Context always changes the way you experience things,” artist Tobias Rehberger said to me earlier this week, while we were day-drinking at the Hotel Americano in Chelsea, where the German provocateur was in the midst of installing Bar Oppenheimer, his homage to a favorite local spot back home in Frankfurt. “I think of this as sculpture,” he went on. “But I didn’t want it to necessarily be in a museum or gallery. I want people to go not to just look at the art—but the art will just happen to be there.”
Rehberger has held a career-long interest in demystifying the art-viewing experience. In 1997, he made his name trying to turn a sculpture by Donald Judd—an artist who always believed art should stand apart—into, well, a bar. (Unsurprisingly, the Judd estate turned him down.) When Rehberger won the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2009, it was for refashioning the event’s cafeteria into a dazzling op-art space—not unlike the paint job he’s applied to the sliver of space in the Hotel Americano’s basement.
His ersatz Bar Oppenheimer, which opens to the public tomorrow night (through July 14), was born out of undying devotion to the original. “That bar is kind of my living room,” Rehberger told as he sipped his favorite drink, a bracing concoction that’s more lime juice than it is vodka and soda. When he moved to a different part of Frankfurt earlier this year, the distance from Bar Oppenheimer became such a hardship that he considered replicating it in his new neighborhood. It was his dealer Pilar Corrias who suggested he reproduce it in New York during Frieze, where Corrias would be showing his work at the fair. In its pretention-free, democratic ethos, Rehberger’s Bar Oppenheimer has something in common with Gordon Matta-Clark’s historic ’70s restaurant Food, which is experiencing a revival of sorts at Frieze. “Think about how artists work,” Rehberger said. “I don’t just work in the studio. I’m working while I’m at the supermarket or in the park. The same goes for looking: Why not see art when you go to the bar?”
Photo: Tobias Rehberger's Bar Oppenheimer. All photos: Matthew Cianfrani.
Ballet regulars perusing the invitation for Wednesday evening's New York City Ballet Spring Gala, which was sponsored by Vacheron Constantin, might have noticed that Queen Latifah received top billing. Was the company luring another celebrity to bulk up their board, already sparkling with the presence of Sarah Jessica Parker? Or was the Queen simply a diehard ballet fan, despite her spotty attendance at such events? Turns out the answer was much simpler: since the theme of this year's gala was "American Music Festival," organizers had enlisted Latifah to sing George Gershwin's "The Man I Love," while Sterling Hyltin and Amar Ramasar danced a romantic pas de deux.
From left: Fe Fendi; Altuzarra and Valentino
"Do you think anyone here knows who Queen Latifah is?" one guest whispered to me. I'd say yes, judging from the blonde bouffant in pearls seated in front of me, who whooped it up for the singer like a teenager at a Justin Bieber concert. Other highlights of the evening's program included Jerome Robbins's "Glass Pieces," featuring a let's-get-physical crew of shiny tight-clad men and the world premiere of Christopher Wheeldon's "A Place for Us," danced by Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild who are newly engaged. Joseph Altuzarra made his own stage debut, having designed the costumes for the piece.
Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild in costumes by Altuzarra
"We wanted something playful, but American," he explained. "And of course we did a lot of tests because I don't know how to move in those costumes!" Unbeknownst to just about everyone in the audience (including the designer), Peck's strap came undone from its hook and eye 15 seconds before the performance's end. No matter. She brushed off Altuzarra's blushing apology with a smile—it wasn't his fault, after all.
Photos: Julie Scarratt; Paul Kolnik
What: A lunch for and discussion of The Great Gatsby, hosted by Tony Marx, David Remnick and Anna Wintour and sponsored by Tiffany & Co and MAC Cosmetics.
Where: The opulent Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Trustees Room at the New York Public Library, which has first editions of every F. Scott Fitzgerald novel in its collection.
When: May 2
Who: Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin, Carey Mulligan, Isla Fisher, Joel Edgerton and Tobey Maguire, all of whom participated in a panel moderated by Remnick and Dr. Amanda Foreman.
Why: In case you haven't heard, Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby is the most anticipated film of the season. So what fun to pick up delicious behind-the-scenes tidbits. Did you know Luhrmann decided to adapt the book into a film while listening to an audiobook version on his iPod, mid-ride on the Trans-Siberian railroad, with two bottles of Australian red wine as his companions? Or that Maguire was relieved to have some scenery to chew? ("This is just really selfish actor stuff, but I don't want to just be standing in the room watching people," he recalled telling Baz of his character Nick Carraway.) Or that Fisher tapped into her personal life to play Myrtle, Tom Buchanan's tragic mistress? ("I relate to Myrtle, having dated a bad boy before who was emotionally unavailable and you're searching for a way to change them.") Wonder which former boyfriend or husband she was referring to.
What: Creative Time’s annual Spring Gala, honoring Julian Schnabel.
When: Wednesday, April 30
From left: Julian Schnabel and Mario Sorrenti; Lindsey Wixson
Who: The art world’s all-stars—including Laurie Anderson, Urs Fischer, and Beth Rudin DeWoody—plus Diane Von Furstenberg, Mario Sorrenti, Lindsey Wixon, and Marisa Tomei.
Where: On the Brooklyn waterfront at the iconic former Domino Sugar Factory, which is slated for a dramatic redevelopment. (Outside, union protests greeted gala attendees with the symbolic inflatable rat, eliciting at least one overheard art-world joke: “Did you see the Katharina Fritsch on your way in?”) Until that work begins, however, we hear that Creative Time will have the run of the cavernous space for its public art projects. On this evening, massive Schnabel canvases hung on the walls.
Why: Along with the noisy crowd present, the Schnabel kids (Vito, Lola, Stella) all gathered to toast Papa Julian, who informed those who hadn’t heard that May Andersen, his girlfriend of one year, would be contributing to the brood. Guess he wants to remind us he’s still prolific as ever.
Photos: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com
What: Salvatore Ferragamo party celebrating the Vara shoe's 35th anniversary and the launch of L'Icona, a website featuring portraits shot by Claiborne Swanson Frank of "iconic" women wearing the Vara shoe and a limited edition service that allows viewers to customize their own pair.
Where: The rooftop of the McKittrick Hotel, home of Sleep No More, which was transformed into a botanical feast, with a thatched floral-bedecked archway, bouquets and pillows covered in the Vara's signature grosgrain ribbons.
When: April 30th
Who: The young and the beautiful, like Lily Aldridge, Jessica Hart, Ashley Platt, Caroline Winberg, Nicole Trunfio, Alexandra Richards (who acted as DJ) and Sophie Auster, who gave a head-banging performance.
Why: It's spring people, get in the spirit. And a party for a shoe means potential additions to your footwear collection. Just saying.
Photos: David X Prutting/BFAnyc.com
When: Wednesday, April 24
Where: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Maryam Malakpour, Katherine Ross, Marjan Malakpour
Who: Wear LACMA Initiative's lineup of designers—Haley Alexander van Oosten, Mariam and Marjan Malakpour, Juan Carlos Obando—and a slew of L.A. celebs including Courtney Cox, Gina Gershon, Josie Maran, and Jennifer Tilly.
Why: Shop for a cause. The designers’ exclusive pieces were inspired by the museum's permanent collection with sales benefiting LACMA.
Photos: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for LACMA
For Australian photographer, James Houston, who launched his latest book, “Natural Beauty”, a YouTube video series documenting the making of his tome, and an accompanying exhibition at MILK Studios last night, it has been a week-long celebration. Known for his celebrity portraits, Houston shifted his focus to the subject of nature for this project, hoping to raise awareness of environmental issues and raise funds for Global Green USA, an environmental non-profit.
To kick off the week, Dom Pérignon, along with MILK Studios and W, hosted a dinner Monday evening at the MILK galleries. Houston was joined by many of the faces he shot for the book, including models Coco Rocha, Anja Rubik, and Elettra Wiedemann and actor Adrian Grenier. "All these models and celebrities [who participated] are massive, so for them to even donate a few hours of their time was a very big deal," said a very grateful Houston.
Emma Watson in James Houston's “Natural Beauty”
Tuesday evening marked the official opening of the exhibition, which will be on view at MILK studios through May 5th. A line wrapped around the corner of 15th street long before the doors opened, and Houston was bombarded by guests eager to give their congratulations. "I really believe that you have to celebrate something like nature to get attention for it," said Houston. "It's not about scaring people away saying, ‘Look what we're losing,' it's about saying, ‘Look what we have to enjoy.’"
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Photos: Billy Farrell Agency.