Young at Art

Paige K. Bradley on Grimes at the Guggenheim

Grimes performs at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. (Photo: Benjamin Lozovsky/BFA)

“IS THERE A MEMBERS’ area we can go to?” quoth two blandly handsome suits Wednesday at the bar of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s annual Young Collectors’ Council preparty gala (try saying it three times fast). At $350 per head to benefit the museum and sponsored by Christian Dior Couture, the naive might think we were already in exclusive territory, but I guess like any addiction the velvet-rope habit is about committing to going deep. While I was absorbed by my white linen napkin square (complimentary, like the champagne), a gaggle of plainclothed New York City Ballet dancers bustled past—they’d be performing the next night at the YCC gala’s dinner honoring Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Doris Salcedo, and On Kawara. But tonight was all about that producer from Canada who stole our hearts back in 2012 with a catchy tune about attempted assault: Grimes.

“See you on a dark night.” Modernist architecture makes for killer backdrops. The photo ops were plenty and everyone took advantage. Young collectors lined up to pose in front of one of Grimes’s drawings, helpfully installed with a camera kiosk to function as a memento factory. The nearby Alberto Burri paintings were dutifully ignored and obscured by the hairdos congregating in champagne-clutching packs. Dior shoulder bags and shoes were in full effect, but outfits skewed conservative, save a few dashing souls like professional matchmaker Amy van Doran and her friend Gabrielle Sirkin, or designer Lou Dallas and her companion, artist Andrew Lee Gonzalez. Asked what she collected, Sirkin said eighteenth-century engravings and contemporary street art, which sounds open-minded but I’d imagine makes for some harsh interior decorating. Other talent scouting the stage included A$AP Rocky and Dev Hynes. I chatted with Madeleine Mendell, a film student at Columbia with style for miles, before a triumphant thud through the PA indicated the start of the evening’s entertainment.

Left: Model Hanne Gaby Odiele, Harry Brant, Vlada Roslyakova, Julia Nobis, and Kätlin Aas. (Except where noted, all photos: Jackie Neudorf) Right: A$AP Rocky. (Photo: Benjamin Lozovsky/BFA)

And there she was: Standing at the spiral’s center, the self-described paranoid recluse had returned to the people shod in bedazzled Dior trainers, sprouting out of a rolled-down-to-the-waist fighter pilot suit getup (sequined, cuz why not) and finished with glow-in-the-dark bra straps and a pink-and-purple dye-do. Songs from Visions came first—you know them, of course, but these were rearranged into stomping club jams. The lows thumped and the highs tested the sound system’s feedback, preying on the only thing the acoustics at the Gugg really excel at: BASS. No treble, or at least not much.

A curious foil for an artist known for her voice, and few in the audience raised their own, or much of anything besides their phones. She got halfway through my #1—“Symphonia IX (My Wait Is U)”—before abruptly stopping, as if she had gotten bored. The finale was a visceral new track featuring Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes, but as the latter was nowhere in sight, Grimes screamed enough for the both of them. After the short set of eight songs (well, we knew she liked the number, anyway), I whipped around to find a pack of models including Julia Nobis, Hanne Gaby Odiele, and Kätlin Aas. Oh I do believe in spooks.

Later in the lounge, a holding pen converted from the museum’s Thannhauser Collection galleries, I didn’t spy the aforementioned suits (not exclusive enough?), so I tried to glean more info about this shadowy “council” of young bucks. I was introduced to the YCC’s cochair, who advised me to “follow Guggenheim and Grimes on social media.” Got it! Guggy curator Susan Thompson dished on recent acquisitions the council had made for the museum, including a Hito Steyerl video (smart), a Gerard & Kelly piece (um…), and a Kevin Beasley commission from the museum’s “Storylines” show. (Welcome home.)

The young and beautiful had evaporated by that point (11:30 PM), always a smart cue to leave, even—especially—if you don’t belong to either of those categories. On the way down the rotunda runway a frazzled and vulnerable-looking Raf Simons scuttled past as photographers flashed in his general direction. Godspeed Raf. Goodnight Grimes, and good luck Dior.

Left: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum curatorial assistant Ylinka Barotto, assistant curator for collections Lauren Hinkson, and assistant curator Susan Thompson. Right: Guggenheim Young Collectors Council cochair Anne Huntington.

Left: Collector Gabrielle Sirkin and Modern Love Club’s Amy van Doran. Right: The crowd at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Left: DJ SADAF. Right: Musician TK Quann (aka TK Wonder) and model Cipriana Quann.

Left: Artist Andrew Lee Gonzalez and designer Lou Dallas. Right: Ishmael Dizon and CR Fashion Book’s Ben Perreira.


Left: Grimes. Right: Grimes’s set list.