Susanne Bartsch Puts Her Legendary Parties in Print With a New Book

François Nars
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In a city known for its unforgettable parties, Susanne Bartsch has the kind of staying power most nightlife impresarios can only dream of. A new book from the city’s eternal master of after-hours ceremonies, Susanne Bartsch Presents: Bartschland: Tales of New York City Nightlife charts Bartsch’s incredible journey since the late 1980s, when she began creating diverse wonderlands of opulence and acceptance for each new generation of club kids.

Featuring candid photos from Bartsch’s personal archive and priceless anecdotes from her life, the book is both a time capsule for the past few decades of New York City’s queer club culture and an inspiration for what life outside the normal bounds of 9-to-5 society can look like. Bartsch’s friends—like Aquaria, Joey Arias, and Amanda Lepore—and global stars like Madonna, Jean Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler, and Giorgio Armani all make appearances in Bartschland’s pages, as do the sex workers, artists, ballroom dancers, and drag queens who are the raw spark of culture at the center of Bartsch’s scene. From her famous, star-studded Love Balls to the early Copacabana extravaganzas that united the high and low of New York society to her present-day recurring parties like On Top (at the Standard), Bartsch’s events have always been a melting pot of music, fashion, and philanthropy.

In 2015, the Museum at FIT mounted an exhibition of Bartsch’s costumes; Bartschland details the making of many of these looks, as well as her early championing of designers like Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano. A foreword by Bartsch’s close friend, RuPaul, recalls their early days working together as performers in New York. In later passages, Bartsch reflects on deeper themes like motherhood, the impact of the AIDS crisis, and the transformative beauty of pairing radical inclusivity with glittering glamour. Take a peek at Bartschland, out now via Abrams Books, below.

The Poison Big Apple Halloween MoMA PS1, 2015

Dustin Pittman

Bartschland Follies

Mark Minton

Bartsch with artist Patrick Hughes

Sheyla Baykal
Andrea Barbiroli

“Doing next week’s invite with Joey [Arias].”

Courtesy Susanne Bartsch

Madonna and Voguers

Tina Paul

Pride 2023


The Copa Tribe

Jesse Frohman

Bartsch with Jean Paul Gaultier, Martine Sitbon, and Anna Sui in Paris, 1991.

Roxanne Lowit

Bartsch with Donna Karan.

Roxanne Lowit

RuPaul performing.

Roxanne Lowit

Bartsch with Zaldy, Lady Miss Kier, Thierry Mugler, and Dimitry Brill.

Wouter Deruytter

Bartsch with Debi Mazar and Chanel Twins at the Mondrian L.A., 1996.

Susanne Bartsch

Susanne Bartsch with Giorgio Armani.

Susanne Bartsch
Steven Menendez

Susanne Bartsch