It takes a lot to be the center of attention when you’re surrounded by a full-wall projection video of colorful kissing lips, when Johnny Weir is getting down in an Angus Young-esque get up and shiny green Louboutins, and when the whole crowd seems to be doing “Is that?….No….Really?” Cuba Gooding Jr. double-takes (yes, it was him). But Brad Goreski and Chris Benz, co-hosts of the fourth annual Art Rocks! Benefit, managed to steal the show with their (possibly jetlag-inspired) coordinated bright pink getups. “I just got off a red eye from L.A., so I wanted to wear something crazy,” says Benz.
And while outfits drew lots of attention, more importantly, the event drew a sizeable crowd to The Bowery Hotel, including Prabal Gurung and Timo Weiland, to mingle and bid on artwork (from Sterling Crispin to Ryder Ripps)–ultimately raising $125,000 to benefit Columbia University’s Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center.
Goreski, who was also an art history major at USC, looked to add to his somewhat eclectic collection, “I have Marilyn Monroe photographs, a Chop Suey poster because I love that documentary, some Family Guy animation and one of our friends is a cartoonist for The New Yorker, so we have some of his,” he says. “But I’m always looking to expand.”
And while Goreski’s collection is quite varied, Weir, who was rocking a black-tipped French manicure he affectionately called his “prostitute tuxedo nails,” definitely won for most random piece to adorn his walls: a certificate for the planet “Johnnyweir” from the Russian Space Agency. A factoid that’s almost as wild? What he was considering wearing to the party before he “toned it down”: a “Vampira outfit” with a black jacket with a huge bustle, leather leggings and wedge boots. “I’m a performance artist,” he says. “I definitely consider myself more of an artist than an athlete. I’m not all about the technique of figure skating. I’m all about the character and the idea and the costuming.” Perhaps an original Johnny Weir costume (or a pair of the custom Louboutin skates he has in the works) would make a great auction item for next year…