NEW YORK — “It’s like the opening of Studio 54,” a bemused young magazine editor said Friday night at the opening of Damien Hirst’s show, “The Elusive Truth,” at the Larry Gagosian Gallery in West Chelsea. “I was stuck on line with Lou Reed and Julian Schnabel and it snaked halfway down the block, four deep!” Indeed, Bianca Jagger and Lauren Hutton even had to wait when the space was closed off for overcrowding.
Among the other attendees: Leo Villareal and Yvonne Force; Lauren Davis; concert promoter Ron Delsener; Cecilia Dean; Roger Waters and Laura Durning, and model Jacquetta Wheeler.
Afterward, the party moved uptown to two tents on the third floor of Lever House, where the city’s no-smoking ordinance didn’t appear to be in effect and a DJ was playing a Best of Ibiza-like house music set. (There was some food, too — a buffet of roast beef sandwiches, grilled shrimp, tomato and mozzarella—but it wasn’t why anyone was really there.) The filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and a group of friends were seated at a banquette in the center of one of the tents smoking a joint; Larry Gagosian was doing a sort of Eighties-esque, break-dance-y, Downtown Julie Brown jig, and Hirst himself was holding court next to the DJ booth, knocking back what appeared to be white wine. (After years of partying, the artist is said to be on the wagon, but for the legendarily hard-living Hirst, that’s apparently a relative term.)
So just what was Hirst after with his series of photo-realist paintings that involve, among other things, the ever-expanding pharmaceutical industry? A quizzical look came across the artist’s face. “Are you f—ing mad? Are you stuuuupid?” he asked.
“You want to know the truth?” he asked.
This story first appeared in the March 15, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
But apparently the truth is elusive. Before it could be revealed, he was interrupted by the actress Gina Gershon, who walked over and tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around, kissed her hello, and began to bob up and down to the beat, raising his fist triumphantly in the air — boom, boom, boom, boom.