Purim Ball: Who Wears the Crown?

PurimSpieler, Lena Dunham

On Wednesday night, the Jewish Museum hosted their annual Masked Purim Ball at the Park Avenue Armory honoring art world legend James Rosenquist.  Celebrated designer David Stark worked his magic creating a dazzling mardi gras atmosphere in the historic Drill Hall where a crowd swarmed donning tuxedos and opulent evening wear.  Lena Dunham took center stage as the evening’s Purim Spieler with a laugh out loud comedic dramatization of the Book of Esther.  Her mother, the downtown artist, Laurie Simmons wore the Golden Crown.

Artist Laurie Simmons
ThreeAsFour fashion designers, Adele and Adi
Jewish Museum Deputy Director, Ellen SalpeterAward-winning writer/actor, Lena DunhamWriter, Linda YablonskyArt World insider, Melissa BentArt Production Fund Co-Founder, Yvonne Force(l) Artist Lisa Yuskavage with Andrea SchwanArtist, Kiki Smith

:) FriendsWithYou

Curator and The Hole Founder, Kathy Grayson outside her newly
relocated space at 312 Bowery on the Lower Eastside, NY,
June 9, 2011
On the hottest day of the summer, the hottest curator on the downtown scene, Kathy Grayson, presented THE HOLE at it’s new address, 312 Bowery, with the first New York solo exhibition by Miami duo FriendsWithYou entitled :)   FriendsWithYou filled out the new and improved gallery space with a whole host of smiling faces and an interactive, experiential wonderland of “pop-straction.”

The exhibition is presented in collaboration with Native Shoes and a one-off Native pop-up shop will remain open in The Hole’s bookshop for the run of the show.  Anybody who was somebody who wasn’t in Venice got a complimentary pair of limited supply Native ‘rubber’ kicks.  Kenny Scharf, Carlo McCormick, E.V.Day, Taboo! and a  bunch of downtown denizens  lined-up single file hoping to make the cut.

Anthony Haden-Guest at The Hole sporting his new Natives.


Spring Awakening

Jeff Koons Puppy on the Greenwich Estate of Stephanie Seymour and Peter Brant, Greenwich, CT, April 7, 2011

Spring arrived just in time for the annual Danspace Project Gala on April 26 with an evening of performances honoring Marina Abramovic.   Executive Director Judy Hussie-Taylor opened the gardens of St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery to toast the artist whose recent MOMA exhibition The Artist is Present pulled down record-breaking numbers for the Museum with attendance for her three-month endurance challenge totaling 561,471.  Rob Storr introduced the artist who quickly turned the stage over to performers including Trisha Brown Dance Company, Stephen Petronio Dance Company with accompaniment by Rufus Wainwright, Jr. and a spellbinding musical performance by Laurie Anderson.

A few nights later at the Stephan Weiss Studio in the West Village Anne Barlow, Executive Director of Art in General greeted guests who immediately high-tailed to the rear of the studio to view DoubleBlind  a unique auction where 10 nominators: Peter Eleey, Yasmil Raymond, Joel Meyer, Jens Hoffmann, Janice Guy, Sean Kelly, Alan Cumming, Dan Cameron, Tanya Bonakdar and Spencer Sweeney selected 10 artists: Jeremy Deller, Shannon Ebner, Scott Foley, Tim Lee, Matt Mullican, Shirin Neshat, David Remfry, Ted Riederer, Thomas Scheibitz and Andrew W.K.  who each photographed a single roll of film that remains undeveloped and unseen.  Like a time capsule, the images will ultimately represent the artist’s singular perspective, one that can only be shared with the single patron who won the bid.  The suspense of it all caused swarms of people to place bids.  The evening was an instant success.

Spring just wouldn’t be spring in New York without the fabulosity Anna Wintour generates for the Met’s Costume Institute Gala, this year paying tribute to the late Alexander McQueen with a retrospective of his work Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty curated by Andrew Boulton.  Harold Koda, Chief of the Costume Institute expressed how “his work fits so easily within the discourse of art,” noting “the retrospective paralleled the aesthetic of its subject more closely than any recent gala—necessitating little, if any, reinterpreting.”  In true McQueen fashion, the event knocked down all museum records raising $10.4 million.

The David Zwirner Gallery transformed an annex of their West19th Street chain of galleries into a monastic dining room replete with cathedral ceiling for a dinner party to celebrate the preview of Minus Space reductive art, an exhibition of works by Donald Judd drawn from the artist’s seminal 1989 exhibition held at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Germany.  The exhibition brings together works that comprise one of Judd’s few explorations of color on a large scale using anodized aluminum.  The pieces, mostly borrowed from international public and private collections, reflect the artist’s intended clarity and rigor in its installation.  The serenity was interrupted during cocktails when the bar was stocked with colorful tequila drinks in the spirit of Cinco de Mayo.  Rainer Judd performed a traditional family toast, tossing a drink over her shoulder and a party kicked in.

The perfect spring afternoon ushered in Josh Smith: The American Dream at the Brant Foundation Art Study Center on the polo grounds of Stephanie Seymour and Peter Brant’s Greenwich estate.  An eclectic mix of hipsters, historians, and established and emerging artists huddled under a tent where a Moroccan-inspired buffet of lamb, cous-cous and grilled vegetables was served.  Nearby in a converted barn dating from 1902, home of the BFASC, Smith installed riotous colorful paintings in a succession of rooms over two floors, in some instances from floor to ceiling.  The exhibition thrills with pure artistic energy.


Spring Awakening


The Thinker, 2010

‘The Thinker,’ 2010 by Yoshitomo Nara, crayon on board, 16 in x 12 in (courtesy: RXArt)To say contemporary art is HOT would be the understatement of 2010.  This past week saw record-breaking prices for artists at Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips New York salesrooms.  Rumor has it auction fever will prevail on November 15th when Simon de Pury, Phillips de Pury & Company’s master of the gavel takes the pulpit at the Art Director’s Club presiding over RXArt’s benefit auction featuring a choice selection of contemporary works by artists including Ryan McGinley, Josephine Meckseper, Ed Ruscha, Nate Lowman, Miranda Lichtenstein, Will Cotton and the darling Yoshitomo Nara currently celebrating a solo exhibition at the Asia Society that’s breaking all attendance records.  At Sotheby’s this week a pastel on paper by the artist from 2001 estimated at $60,000-$80,000 fetched $104,500.  RXArt will auction off ‘The Thinker,’ 2010, estimated at $25,000-$30,000, a bargain if you place your bid on time:

Now in its 10th year, RXArt promotes healing through exposure to art placing original fine art in patient procedure and examination rooms bringing a life force to these sterile environments.  Support RXArt at


Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Artist Dan Colen at the opening of Al-Qaeda is the CIA, an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Sue Williams curated by Nate Lowman at 303 Gallery, Chelsea New York. September 17, 2010After a five-year hiatus Sue Williams returns to her New York homebase, 303 Gallery in Chelsea with an exhibition of old and new works curated by the artist Nate Lowman titled Al-Qaeda is the CIA.  Known for his devious linguistic assaults on cutesy American slogans and emblems, Lowman works the room, pushing and pulling painting against drawing, image against form courting the viewer into the whimsical and sinister worlds Williams creates to explore vulgarity, femininity, violation, loss, pride, dominance and the repetition of form.   The exhibition is on view through October 23rd.  An illustrated artist’s book created by Sue Williams and Nate Lowman is available at