In the fog-filled garden of The Delano Hotel, Hood by Air brand ambassador and singer Ian Isiah perched at a piano while Walter Pierce’s street-cast models circled the hotel pool, leather boots dragging in the water. “A million dollars in the hotel pool,” Isiah crooned as the models submerged, “I have a million dollars on in the hotel pool.”
It was the third, and probably best night of MoMA PS1’s Art Basel residency at FDR (several people I spoke to were denied entry the first night due to the hotel’s undisclosed “dress code”). Beer was free and usually reserved art-world socialites appeared giddy, snapping photos of HBA-clad partygoers before being swept off to speak with museum director Klaus Biesenbach. Those who couldn’t afford expensive cocktails stumbled into the line for unlimited Stella Artois, while PS1 darling Jacolby Satterwhite posed for W Magazine with his speedo-wearing boyfriend. In the garden, people waited their turn to take an #artselfie in a ping pong-filled bathtub, several of them clutching complimentary HBA ponchos that at first glance appeared to be garbage bags.
The performances were led by artist Grace Dunham (sister of Lena), who began the night with a haunting, spoken-word act that set the tone for HBA’s unconventional fashion-cum-art-show (shirts were made in collaboration with photographer Pieter Hugo and featured portraits of LGBTQ Jamaicans). Later on the crowd lusted after Brooklyn rapper Princess Nokia, singing along while she performed her hit “Tomboy” and watching carefully as she changed into a white veil and swimsuit before entering the pool.
The high point arrived when fully-clothed HBA creative director Shayne Oliver joined the models in the water, slowly swimming while sequin-clad figures shone spotlights above them. “Don’t you fuck with my energy” sang Isiah as the embryonic scene became an image of deconstructed masculinity; the drenched designs emerging from the pool as a “million dollar” critique of the commercialism of art and fashion.
Back on the dancefloor Oliver emerged with a mic, MCing while DJs Mister Vacation and Total Freedom played for the beer-buzzed crowd. Performances over, a few brave attendees jumped into the pool, mimicking the dream-like movements of the models before them—only they weren’t as well dressed.