COLUMNS

  • Blast from the Past

    The crush at the New Museum's opening for “East Village USA” was snarly yet fun, a little like being jammed into one of those unisex bathrooms at the Mudd Club, sans vomit. It was Old Home Week for the art world's Class of ‘81, seemingly a less-reserved bunch than one typically encounters nowadays, with air kisses replaced by cries of, “Shit, Anastasia, I thought you were dead!” The flamboyant mob—two glasses of wine were knocked out of my hands in five minutes—was a veritable who's-left of the era. Stephen Tashjian (Tabboo!) provided me with a running commentary worthy of Joan Rivers

    Read more
  • International Style

    On a freezing December evening, we rose from a winter’s nap and, automatonlike, lumbered out to our Twingo and drove up to Le Plateau for the opening of “Ralentir Vite” (Slow Down Fast), the first exhibition curated by the space’s new director, Caroline Bourgeois. A mixture of altruism and curiosity had led us to brave the cold. The two-year-old venue Le Plateau is one of those alternative spaces that one feels obliged to support, and we were hoping that the advent of Bourgeois would lend some spark to what has been, it must be said, a lackluster program. The drive—up the Canal Saint Martin

    Read more
  • House Proud

    Terry Riley, MoMA's chief curator of architecture and design, bounced back from the cringe-making Starck shindig in twenty-four hours, celebrating his fiftieth birthday at a jolly fête hosted by Patricia Cisneros (philanthropist-socialite), John Keenen (Riley’s business partner), and John Bennett (his “life partner,” to borrow a quaint phrase). The potentates of architecture and design who had been buzzing around the fair all week—and many who flew in to pay their respects to the man in charge of one of the largest and most important museum design collections in the world—converged

    Read more
  • Hip Parade

    One way to tell that the NADA art fair, now in its second year, is officially on the map: Collectors snuck in Tuesday, two days before the official opening, while galleries were still unwrapping works fresh off the trucks. One way to tell that the NADA art fair is still experiencing growing pains: At the press preview just before Thursday’s opening, many of the booths were still in darkness as electricians made last-minute adjustments. (There were audible cheers whenever a booth’s lights unexpectedly switched on.) Inability to see the art didn’t seem to slow down the buying, though: New York

    Read more
  • No Comment

    Let's do the time warp—again. On Friday night, a few thousand people turned out for the opening of ICON, a new Miami condo development designed by Philippe Starck and built by developer-slash-collector Jorge Perez. Guests toured the building's lobby, lounge, pool and spa, but, alas, the apartments were not available for inspection. A real estate agent informed me—this is not a joke—that the units come in four conceptual varieties: Culture, Classic, Nature, and Minimal.

    In terms of design, ICON is a pleasant pastiche of Starck’s greatest hits—all perfectly chic, but stale as

    Read more
  • High Crass

    Day two of the art fair began with a phone call from Yoko Ono. “Hello,” I said tentatively, picking up the receiver. “Hello,” she replied. With the easy part behind us, we talked about the weather. “Is it warm in Miami?” she asked. “Yes,” I answered. “And sunny.” I couldn’t believe it—not that I was actually chatting with Yoko, but that the conversation was virtually indistinguishable from one I might have had with my grandmother. Perhaps this shouldn’t have surprised me, though, since she had absolutely no idea who had answered the ringing phone of her Talking Sculpture, perched on a table

    Read more
  • Hans On

    “Hi there,” said John Armleder, the most glamorous-looking art-world denizen since—forever. Looking up at the sky, he didn’t appear to be greeting us—the audience standing expectantly on the grass—but either a passing airplane or (as he explained to me later) the heavens themselves. With his signature braid and dark suit, and shades with one transparent and one dark lens, he looked more like some kind of luxurious pirate than one of Christ’s disciples—but that, it seems, is what he felt like. Now that I think about it, the whole scene had clear biblical connotations. The

    Read more
  • Puppet Preview

    In a cab from the Miami airport on Wednesday, I got a call from a savvy collector who suggested in not so many words that the art fair was all but over—before it had even begun. And judging from the diffuse energy at the vernissage that night, the prognosis seemed fairly accurate. By that time, any collector worth his fleur de sel had already breezed through the fair, and not during Wednesday’s afternoon “First Choice” preview either. Clearly, “First Choice” was for latecomers only, or, as promotional materials put it, major collectors, museum directors, press, and “special” VIPs. Shopping, it

    Read more
  • Open Casa

    A tedious fifty-minute taxi ride from Miami Beach got us to the de la Cruz’s block just after midnight. Block, not house, because as we turned onto Bay Drive, we were greeted by a gridlock of limos, yellow taxis, Mercedes sedans (with drivers), and chartered buses that provoked even the relatively patient to hoof the home stretch. The size of the houses and the frenetic movement of valets and anxious guests recalled a late-night traffic jam in East Hampton. Artforum.com correspondent David Rimanelli was among several familiar faces exiting as we strolled up the gravel driveway—he was in a

    Read more
  • Cruz Control

    The grand annual party thrown by queen-bee Miami collector Rosa de la Cruz and her husband, Carlos, on Tuesday marked the unofficial first night of the third Art Basel Miami Beach fair. Arriving on a late-afternoon flight, I opted for a shower and a meal of M&Ms in my hotel room, though pre-Rosa dinner options were legion. New York dealer Barbara Gladstone fêted her star artist with a family affair one collector described as a “bar mitzvah for Richard.” The occasion: the display at the Rubell Family Collection infelicitously titled “American Dream: Collecting Richard Prince for 27 Years.” But

    Read more
  • Family Style

    Pavel Pepperstein's opening last night at the Centre du Diamant, a glitzy wholesale jewelry showroom in the rue de la Paix (two steps from the Opera and Place Vendôme), was quite charming: little watercolors of dollars and euro symbols exhibited on the wall and in vitrines alongside the ugliest diamonds you ever saw. The art world conduit to such an unlikely venue was the Galerie Iragui (in the Marais) which deals with Russian artists and, apparently, with French jewelers. And you could try on the jewelry—Lisa, my wife, tried a big, citrine dinner ring. The champagne glass in her other

    Read more
  • Eastward Ho

    If your evening of private views begins on the gleaming avenues of Piccadilly and officially ends with an undignified scrabble for the last lukewarm bottle of Rolling Rock from a plastic bucket, it’s likely you’ve been on an eastward trajectory. And on a night when the three most promising openings were spread across town, with the less formal East End shows tending to stay open later, there was really no other way to go. I headed first for Dryden Goodwin’s second solo at Stephen Friedman Gallery. A long-term fixture here, Goodwin exemplifies a classic predicament: potentially interesting artist

    Read more