Double Bill

New York

Left: Paul Auster, Jon Kessler, and Gina Gershon. Right: P.S. 1's Tony Guerrero and artist Ena Swansea. (Photos: Don Pollard)

The opening festivities for P.S. 1's batch of fall shows felt like a fancy version of their summer “Warm Up” series, with crowds hanging out on the courtyard steps, clutching beers in plastic cups, and even shelling out a five-dollar entry charge. Any attempt to navigate the former elementary school’s labyrinthine interior required a map to plot where each show or artist had set up camp. Photographer Stephen Shore, stationed in the café, busily signed copies of American Surfaces, his new monograph of road-trip shots from 1972 and '73; Dutch shutterbug Ari Marcopoulos and his wife presided over a table of fair-skinned, long-limbed Euro-dudes just outside (presumably “extreme” athletes he's currently photographing); while Coco Fusco arrived with her baby, whose Halloween ruffles and polka-dots lured a swarm of cooing admirers. Curatorial Advisor Bob Nickas demurely refused to pose for a picture, proffering: “There are so many beautiful people here, you should be photographing them.” Sure enough, I soon encountered curator and Director of Exhibition Design Tony Guerrero and painter Ena Swansea—“the most beautiful couple in New York,” as Guerrero himself boasted—both of them grinning and kissing for the camera.

Back inside there was lots of photography to be taken in, with a room dedicated to Peter Hujar's black-and-white prints balancing the snapshot-like colors of Shore and Marcopoulos. After the painting-and-sculpture heavy “Greater New York 2005,” the last exhibition on view, the concentrated emphasis on a different medium is refreshing. Perusing the galleries, I heard lots of French and German, (shuddering a little when a woman gasped “Sehr schoen!” in front of Hujar's Boy Spitting, Germantown, 1981, which depicts a modern Hitlerjunge Quex sans shirt. (I can only imagine her reaction to Marcopoulos's boy-studded show.) Divas of all stripes were also well-represented, from the exhibition “Woman of Many Faces: Isabelle Huppert” to Hujar's poignant study of Gary Indiana wrapped in an Egyptian scarf to the real-life appearances of Jake Shears of the Scissor Sisters and, at the end of the evening, Madame Huppert herself (the auburn-haired actress's much anticipated arrival in the city spawned the irresistible New York Post headline “MoMA SEES RED”).

Left: Stephen Shore. Right: Artist Mike Cloud with one of his paintings. (Photos: Don Pollard)

With plenty of time in hand before the after-party, I decided to catch the final night of a series of Derek Jarman screenings at Anthology Film Archives. Grabbing samosas at Pak Punjab before the show, I ran into about half the eventual attendees (all die-hard aficionados) and ended up joining underground video curator and Plantains/Maison du Chic producer Nick Hallett and boyfriend Brock Monroe (of Mighty Robot AV Squad) on the way into the theater. The early short films offered insight into Jarman's oeuvre, via interwoven images of cameras, death's heads, mirrors, a man ecstatically slicking back his hair, monochromatic, gel-tinted beaches, bursts of flame, neoclassical monuments, St. Sebastian (sometimes in shades), and actor/production designer Christopher Hobbs. I snuck out halfway through the second program of music videos having caught Jarman's haunting productions for the Smiths (replete with the director's signature Union Jacks) but before getting bogged down in the overwrought campiness of his work for the Pet Shop Boys.

I made it to nearby B-Bar just as the P.S. 1 event was getting into gear. Director Alanna Heiss and chief curator Klaus Biesenbach loitered near the DJ, while artist Mike Cloud lounged nearby and ubiquitous party guests As Four breezed through in matching furry parkas. (“More like As Three,” a woman whispered, referring to the dramatic and overly publicized excommunication of the design collective’s fourth member.) With midnight approaching and a mandatory pumpkin-carving session well underway at home, it was time to slip out lest I incur my own excommunication.

Left: Artist Ari Marcopoulos with P.S. 1's Alanna Heiss and Yng-Ru Chen. Right: P.S. 1 Curator Amy Smith-Stewart. (Photos: Don Pollard)

Left: A view of Jon Kessler's installation. Middle: Klaus Biesenbach with Isabelle Huppert. Right: Coco Fusco's baby decked out for Halloween. (Photos: Don Pollard)

Left: Dealer Andrew Kreps, at right, with artists. Right: Painter Philip Taaffe.

Michael Wang