Wild West

Los Angeles

Left: LAND founder Shamim Momin with Sharon Stone. (Photo: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan) Right: WOW TV’s Damiana Garcia with artists Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch and writer Kevin McGarry.

SHARON STONE, Eva Longoria, Jeffrey Deitch: check. No James Franco, Salma Hayek Pinault, John Baldessari. But yes: Joaquin Phoenix, Rose McGowan, Michael Govan, Michel Auder, Ruben Ochoa, Yoshua Okon, Shaun Caley Regen, Liz Goldwyn . . .

“Location, location, location! This is a hit!” says a roaming dandy. It’s a good Wednesday LA crowd, someone tells me. And it’s a good setting: Eugenio López’s soigné ranch-style pad in Trousdale, a particularly choice part of Beverly Hills, I’m also told. (“Love the mix of the French-y Trous with the Scottish-Gaelic Dale—don’t you?”) It’s also, apparently, a good cause: the first annual benefit for LAND, New York émigré Shamim Momin’s seven-month-old West Coast–based nonprofit for “nomadic” art. (“Public” is clearly not an LA phenomenon.)

“The great thing about living on a boat is that you’re not tempted to buy art,” a Central Casting–looking dude, all boyish smiles and Versace, shrugs to a reporter. She scribbles something down in a notepad. “Well, maybe wearable art,” he chuckles. “Fashion is art, right?”

Given the number of people and the high price point ($10,000 per table), this gala might set a new standard for budding art nonprofits. After cocktails and photo ops, the self-selected 180 or so chosen find their seats in the gloaming, sitting around the expensive tables in the garden while attentive waiters descend from the house. On my left is Lori DeWolfe, benefit cochair and wife of the guy who founded MySpace (or one of them—not ur-“friend” “Tom”). She’s a nascent art patron and a charmer. “She’s writing a book,” nudges her friend. What’s it called? “Nerds Gone Wild,” she deadpans, fidgeting with something on the table.

Left: LA MoCA director Jeffrey Deitch. Right: At the Ryan Trecartin afterparty.

“Just a bunch of fucking people in LA,” says a fast-talking, winsome writer to my right. “You know what LA is? LA is on and on and on. It’s the nonplace between Tijuana and Portland.” He’s been to Nobu in London and Gore Vidal’s La Rondinaia and here. “Glamour isn’t glamorous,” he sighs, caving into ennui. Everyone seems at once relaxed and stressed out. I imagine Annie Hall and Alvy Singer arguing at the next table. We’re all really into our Sprinkles Cupcakes by the time Rain Phoenix arrives and sings an unplugged version of “Smells like Teen Spirit” to violin backup.

Then: “I’m gonna go wash off this picket fence and fuck up a tanning bed.” Friday’s US premiere of Ryan Trecartin’s epic seven-part movie-installation Any Ever at the MoCA Pacific Design Center is a smash. Deitch spends more time checking out the art inside the mausoleum-like structure than he does working the crowd. In fact, everyone does—how rare and poignant to watch the art masses watching videos. Trecartin’s dismembered Shakespearean intrigue and singsong corporate-queer Polari is catchy: “I’m about to merge you!” yells the charismatic Global Korea aka Telfar Clemens. “Girl, don’t look at me! Look at your mother and globalize at her!”

“I’m as New York as it gets,” Deitch says at the reception outside the adjacent Red Seven bar. “But I have an instinct. Los Angeles is the place to be.” He’s clearly not the only one to think so, and looking around at the inspired, giddy crowd, it’s hard not to catch the bug. It’s probably the best-dressed opening I’ve attended: kids in kilts and aprons and backward Oxford shirts and one-legged Margiela dress pants; avant design queens from Dis magazine turning it out. I wish suddenly that style photog Bill Cunningham could be there. “Mahvelous!”

Left: Members of Dis magazine and photographer Stefanie Keenan. Right: Designer Jeremy Scott (left) and artist Rosson Crow (middle).

“Another great house party!” mingler extraordinaire Maynard Monroe calls it. An hour later most of the people from the opening are crowding around the pool at Deitch’s rambling 1929 abode in Los Feliz (though it’s not really Los Feliz, someone explains to me, but another, even tonier neighborhood). It used to belong to Cary Grant, and also, someone claims, the drummer from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, though no one can remember his name. There’s a great view of the HOLLYWOOD sign. If Los Angeles is other people’s houses, Deitch knows what he’s doing. “In this city, the home is very important for entertaining. And every good LA house has a room where the washed-up friend can crash.” Pause: “Not that I attract many of those.”

There’s not much furniture but tons of art on the walls, including a classic Kembra Pfahler butt print above one bed and, upstairs, a startling study for Warhol’s Before and After. Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Rosson Crow, Kenny Scharf, Jeremy Scott, Miranda July, and other members of Deitch’s coterie lounge around the pool. Trecartin’s ecstatic friends and family circulate, eat vegan food, drink, strip down, and dive in. Eventually the water is full of squirming, screaming bodies, like a living Ryan Trecartin video, which I guess it sort of is. “Someone touched my genitals and made me giggle!” “You need to get out of my asshole.” (“Just another night at Jeffrey’s!” winks a friend.)

“It’s only midnight!” someone complains as everyone files out. We wait outside while a guy tries (unsuccessfully) to recover his missing pants. Then we’re off to another party on Hillhurst and Los Feliz, then one on Alvarado and Sunset, then one in MacArthur Park. Text message flurries guide (most) everyone organically to the next destination. “I love your after-after-afterparty!” cackles one boy to Trecartin at the Alvarado House. “It’s really fun.” It is, but in the end, I defer to “Ron Gallagher’s” prudent Vimeo précis of Trecartin’s K-CorealNC.K (section a), one segment of Any Ever: “this is ‘there’. Better than watching rachel zoe.” It’s bananas.

Left: At the Ryan Trecartin afterparty. Right: Collector Eugenio López (left) with Eva Longoria (second from left). (Photo: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan)

Left: LAXART director Lauri Firstenburg with artists Justin Beal and Drew Heitzler. Right: Dealer Christine Nichols with artist Michel Auder.

Left: Maynard Monroe with dealer Elizabeth Dee. Right: Dealer Tony Shafrazi with Rose McGowan. (Photo: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan)

Left: Katherine Ross and LACMA director Michael Govan. (Photo: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan) Right: Artist Kori Newkirk.

Left: LAND board director Lisa Anastos, Joaquin Phoenix, and Shamim Momin. (Photo: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan) Right: At Alvarado House.