The Art Basel hype built in fever Monday night as Elle magazine celebrated its annual Women in Art issue with a dinner at downtown Manhattan hot spot Le Coucou, in partnership with Kering. Fashion and art types got an early start on commingling — a preview of what’s to come as more and more of the fashion industry descends on Miami every December for Art Basel. Monday night, at least, was more firmly rooted in art turf.
Joseph Altuzarra cited a college friend as his current favorite female artist. “We went to college together and I’ve always loved what she’s done and I have a lot of admiration for her journey,” he said. “I tend to like painting, to gravitate toward generally more figurative. [My friend’s] work has a lot to do with her cultural heritage and it’s really beautiful.”
While he’s missing Basel, Altuzarra is heading to Florida shortly for the Thanksgiving holiday. “We’re one of the few braving the Zika virus,” he said, noting that he was slightly nervous, “but we’re going to be careful.”
Several of the issue’s featured artists were on hand, including Jessica Bell Brown and Kimberly Drew of Black Art Incubator. “We had a project this summer, and it got a lot of attention,” Bell Brown said of how they ended up in the Women in Art issue. “[Black Art Incubator] was a collaborative that we put together and we activated it at Recess Arts Space this summer.”
Drew works at the Metropolitan Museum, while Bell Brown is at the MoMA, and their collective aimed to combine various platforms of the art community. “We put together a social sculpture project that pretty much encapsulated all of these different art world — galleries, museums, artists.”
“All of us are emerging in our field, but also have a certain awareness of some of the things that we’d like to change, so we all put our minds together to reassess the world that we’re in,” Drew added.
The world that the art community is in is anticipating the unknown following last week’s election. “I think in moments of social upheaval there’s always this artistic flowering that’s going to happen,” Bell Brown said of the yet-to-be-seen landscape for art in the Trump presidency.
Altuzarra echoed those sentiments. “If anything, I hope it will galvanize any kind of creator to sort of make, I guess, socially relevant work,” he said. “Certainly it’s important to be mindful of the social moment that we live in always, but especially right now. But I don’t necessarily think that’s at the top of his agenda.”
And with that, dinner was served.