“It’s funny,” one reveler at Creative Time’s Spring Gala benefit mused on Thursday night, surveying the temporary resuscitation of 1980s New York in the room, “I’m nostalgic for something I wasn’t even a part of.”
The event’s after-hours installation was crafted by the founders of legendary night club AREA, and meant to invoke the club’s era of excess. An Andy Warhol look-alike watched over DJ Johnny Dynell from a platform while performers (bedecked in pasties and top hats) contorted orgiastically in one of two voyeur-friendly glassed-in settings — a Fifties suburban kitchen or a faux-boudoir. The WC was entirely black-lit, all the better to show off the flourescent Keith Haring prophylactics and a variety of sugar-candies on offer by the sinks.
Susanne Bartsch arrived in a transparent wisp of beaded-tulle and mugged for photographers as Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin were greeted by Sothebys’ Alexander Gilkes, who would auction off a portrait session that the pair had donated after dinner. Marco Brambilla chatted with Andre Saraiva and Andre Balazs as Moby inspected the art available for the silent auction, lingering over a works by Marina Abramovic and Yoko Ono. Cecilia Dean circulated with Julie Macklowe and Stacy Engman, pausing upon the arrival of Tom Sachs and Sarah Hoover, who brandished a pair of pizza boxes inexplicably filled with containers of green paint. Cindy Sherman embraced Liz Swig, the honoree of the evening just before a late-arriving Courtney Love swept into the venue in a floor length beaded navy gown, complete with taffeta train.
“It’s Marchesa,” Love said with a smile. “Though I think that’s obvious.”
Was she here to celebrate years gone by, namely the 80’s nightclub heyday?
“Sure,” she answered. “And I donated some of Kurt’s LPs that I found in my house. You can see them on the auction pamphlet. They’re priceless. No, I mean, literally, it says ‘estimated worth: priceless.’”
The dinner tables were set banquet-style, with roasted almonds, artichokes, baguettes, honeycomb, prosciutto and split figs covering their ample berth. Love was seated next to Michael Stipe, and laid her head on his shoulder until the live auction, when she left the party before the Cobain LP’s hit the auction block. Before the bidding began the event had already netted over $1 million for Creative Time, though that didn’t deter Gilkes from storming up and down the rows of dining revelers, auctioning off portrait sessions with artists like McDermott & McGough, Shirin Neshat, David Salle and Todd Selby.
“These prices are incredibly low,” Nigel Barker remarked. His wife Cristen nodded in agreement as the Lamsweerde and Matadin session sold for under its estimate. The mood was ebullient, with a black and white gangsta rap-style music video starring Creative Time board members (among them Pamella DeVos and Joanne Cassulo) set to LMFAO’s jokey-hit “Shots” cued revelers to head to the dance floor. DeVos had covered her eyes with her hands during the video.
“We shot that in the morning,” she laughed. “They gave us champagne! You can tell…!”
Dancing continued for hours in the faux-AREA, as performers dripped wax on each other and waiters offered frozen-cheesecake lollipops and champagne as vintage club songs blasted.
Did it feel like the Eighties again?
“It’s always the Eighties, if you want it to be…” the Andy Warhol-impersonator remarked, adjusting his sunglasses.